Rubens Barrichello this week tested Ferrari’s new F-2003 GA at Barcelona and although he was coping with a new version of the controversial HANS device, he said his car ‘needed more running’.

Rubens Barrichello this week tested Ferrari’s new F-2003 GA at Barcelona and although he was coping with a new version of the controversial HANS device, his car ‘needed more running’.

CARtoday.com reported on Wednesday that the FIA would no longer give drivers permission to drive without the HANS (head and neck safety) device. 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.

In terms of the FIA’s ruling, any driver incapable of wearing the device will not be permitted to race and there were fears that the Brazilian would be forced to sit out his home grand prix.

However, Barrichello on Thursday said he was much happier about driving with an updated version of the HANS device - a double-belt variant based on the type used by David Coulthard.

"It seems good, better than the old system. I'd like to try it on a long run to make a final decision, though," Barrichello said.

The Brazilian had an inauspicious first outing in the F2003-GA, however. The car suffered a mechanical problem and caused the session to be red-flagged.

"This car is very easy to drive, it feels good, but it needs more running," Barrichello said.

The F-2003 GA, which was unveiled in February, had previously only been tested by Michael Schumacher and Luca Badoer. Badoer had two accidents in it, at Jerez and Mugello.

Meanwhile, Ralf Schumacher topped the timesheets, lapping in 1:15,352s, almost seven tenths of a second clear of Coulthard’s McLaren-Mercedes. Olivier Panis was third fastest for Toyota, but his best effort was over a second shy of Coulthard’s time.

Barrichello was fourth quickest, half a second clear of team-mate Michael Schumacher in a 2002 car. Malaysian Grand Prix winner Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren-Mercedes) was sixth, ahead of Jenson Button (BAR), Marc Gene (Williams), Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Sauber) and Jacques Villeneuve (BAR Honda).

Original article from Car