The FIA has put its foot firmly down on the HANS debate and in future no driver will be exempt from wearing it, whatever the excuses. Rubens Barrichello raced without the device in the Malaysian Grand Prix after being given special dispensation on...
The FIA has put its foot firmly down on the HANS debate and in future no driver will be exempt from wearing it, whatever the excuses. Rubens Barrichello raced without the device in the Malaysian Grand Prix after being given special dispensation on medical grounds but from now on, if a driver has some kind of problem he will have to be replaced.
In a statement sent to the teams today, the FIA said they had been given plenty of warning that HANS would be introduced. F1's governing body reiterated that the device is a significant safety measure and would not stand down on its decision to make HANS compulsory.
Minardi's Justin Wilson was airlifted to hospital after the Malaysian GP due to severe pain and numbness in his arms, after his seat belts slipped off the HANS system during the race. This resulted in him moving around in the cockpit too much and HANS reportedly causing a pinched nerve. The FIA said it is up to the teams to make sure the device is fitted properly.
"The evidence that the HANS system significantly reduces the risk of injury to a driver in a major accident is overwhelming," read the statement. "Teams have known about the system and the proposals for its introduction for more than two years."
"Indeed the system was officially announced for Formula One in April 2001 at the San Marino Grand Prix by the President of the FIA accompanied by Professor Hubbert of DaimlerChrysler (which did much of the development work)."
"The system can be uncomfortable if not properly adjusted for the individual driver. It also marginally raises the height of the centre of gravity of the car. It would be unfair if some drivers were allowed to race without it. At the same time, the proven safety gains are so great that it would be irresponsible to abandon the system."
"Accordingly, there will be no dispensations from now on. If any driver is unable to wear the device for medical or other reasons, the team concerned will have to replace him, just as they would if he could not wear a crash helmet or seat belts."
"Teams are reminded that they are free to modify the HANS system to suit their cars and drivers, provided any modification is first agreed with the FIA Safety Commission."