Rubens Barrichello has criticised the HANS (head and neck safety) device, which drivers are obligated to use while driving F1 cars, for causing his accident at the Australian Grand Prix.

Rubens Barrichello has criticised the HANS (head and neck safety) device, which drivers are obligated to use while driving F1 cars, for causing his accident at the Australian Grand Prix.

The Brazilian claims that he lost concentration because of the pain inflicted by his HANS device. "It was impossible for me to concentrate on the race," said the Brazilian. "The harness was pushing against my clavicle and was hurting me like crazy."

The Ferrari driver suffered from a back injury last month and declared that the HANS device was hurting him so much that he almost forgot about his back pain.

The HANS system consists of a "collar" designed to protect drivers' heads and necks should they be involved in an accident.

"At the moment, when I am in the car, I am unable to concentrate fully on driving, as during the two months we have tried it, the system is really painful," Barrichello said. "I have tried all sorts of modifications to the system but so far, I cannot get it right and comfortable.

"I am all in favour of continuous work to improve safety for the drivers, but I think it should be a matter of personal choice as to whether or not a driver uses HANS. I am concerned that in an impact it will hurt even more. On the bumpy circuits there will be a lot of problems. In Imola, the HANS was hurting my neck so much that I almost forgot the pain in my back because of it."

Barrichello is not the only one who does not appreciate the system. The list of unhappy users also include BAR’s Jacques Villeneuve and Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld.

"No driver would have been saved by the system in the last nine years because there was no accident that required it," Villeneuve told News of the World. The Canadian is one of the strongest critics as he feels he too could have been badly injured or even killed if he had been using it during the 2002 Japanese Grand Prix, when he crashed backwards into the barriers.

"My body would have moved but the HANS device would have stayed where it was," he said. "It would have dug into my neck. It could break your backbone. There are some situations where you could get hurt by the HANS device.

In theory it is a good thing but in practice it doesn't work for me," Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld said. "For me, personally, I feel the HANS defice is more dangerous because I couldn't concentrate for a whole race, it would start to hurt and I could lose concentration and crash."

However, FIA president Max Mosley has warned that F1 drivers would have no choice but to wear the HANS system. “Our position is very simple, you don't have to wear a HANS device, but you won't leave the pitlane unless you're wearing one," Mosley said.

Original article from Car