FIA Clarify Stance on HANS Device

Formula One drivers will not be permitted to race in the future without the HANS safety device, as Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello did at Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix, the sport's governing body told teams today.

FIA Clarify Stance on HANS Device

Formula One drivers will not be permitted to race in the future without the HANS safety device, as Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello did at Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix, the sport's governing body told teams today.

Race stewards agreed to let Barrichello break the sporting regulations and race without the controversial system after he asked for a one-off dispensation because he was suffering from a small hernia.

"The evidence that the HANS system significantly reduces the risk of injury to a driver in a major accident is overwhelming," the International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a note sent to all teams today.

"Accordingly, there will be no dispensations from now on. If any driver is unable to wear the device for medical or other reasons, the teams concerned will have to replace him, just as they would if he could not wear a crash helmet or seat belts."

The statement added that teams had known about the system for more than two years and that they were allowed to modify it to suit their cars and drivers, subject to approval by the FIA safety commission.

Minardi driver Justin Wilson was taken to hospital after being injured by his HANS safety device at Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix. Wilson, 24, suffered temporary paralysis in his arm due to a pinched nerve caused by the collar system, which had slipped. His Minardi team said it had taken eight minutes to get Wilson out of the car after he retired.

Wilson was released from hospital on Monday.

Barrichello, who finished second at Sepang, has been complaining about the head and neck protection system for some time and blamed it partly for the crash that ended his Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago. He had said earlier last week that he wanted to make the system work and would be using a new form of the device after an air cushion under the HANS partly deflated in Melbourne.

The new version clearly failed and Barrichello said he would copy McLaren's David Coulthard, who was using a different system with two belts securing the carbon fibre collar.

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