The FIA says it will no longer give drivers permission to drive without the HANS safety device and this means Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello may have to sit out the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The FIA says it will no longer give drivers permission to drive without the HANS (head and neck safety) device and this means Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello may have to sit out the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The system has proved controversial in the first two grands prix, with Minardi rookie Justin Wilson and Barrichello both being forced to retire due to incidents related to HANS. Barrichello was given special dispensation to drive without it in Malaysia after lodging complaints with race stewards and medical officials.
But on Tuesday, F1’s governing body declared that the use of the HANS system would remain compulsory. CARtoday.com reported earlier this month that the HANS neck collar was designed to protect drivers in a frontal impact and the FIA has said that from the Brazilian Grand Prix, any driver incapable of wearing the device will not be permitted to race and would have to be replaced.
"The system can be uncomfortable if not properly adjusted for the individual driver," a spokesman for the FIA said. "It also marginally raises the height of the centre of gravity of the car. It would be unfair is some drivers were allowed to race without it. At the same time, the prove 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,” he added.
Ferrari has admitted that there is a chance the team may be forced to replace the Brazilian. However, they are confident that a solution will be found over the course of this week's testing session.
"Malaysia showed that with the current set-up Rubens feels pain but I expect we will be able to solve the problem,” a Ferrari spokesman told . "We are testing a new system and for the time being we are not speculating on having any more difficulties with it. But if any driver is not comfortable then we would use our second driver."
Wilson was admitted to hospital on Sunday after retiring from the Malaysian Grand Prix. The 24-year-old Briton was stuck inside the cockpit of his Minardi for eight minutes after retiring from the 56-lap race with 15 laps to go, having been left in severe pain when his HANS assembly worked loose.
“I haven't been affected by the HANS before, but this is the longest stint I have done so far this season," Wilson added. "After my first pit stop the car felt loose at the back and I had to work quite hard at the wheel.
"The harder I worked, the more the belts began to slip off the HANS. Gradually, they came off altogether and I started rattling around and banging my shoulders on the side of the cockpit, which was pretty excruciating. I tried to keep going but eventually the pain became too intense and I had to stop. By the time I pitted I could hardly move," Wilson added.
Original article from Car