HANS device makes race weekend debut

The HANS (Head And Neck Support) system appeared for the first time at an F1 race meeting when the Sauber drivers wore it in Friday practice at Monza

HANS device makes race weekend debut

"I had no problems at all and I'm pretty sure I'm going to wear it in the race," said Nick Heidfeld.

Williams technical chief Patrick Head, meanwhile, explained that at Williams the situation is somewhat more complex.

"We did run at the Monza test with the HANS device on each driver but it wasn't actually tied to the helmet because we weren't ready for that stage," said Head. "I think it was the fourth or fifth iteration of the device we produced for Ralf [Schumacher] and he was pretty happy with it. But, in the case of Juan Pablo [Montoya] it was completely impossible for him because a) he's got a very short neck, and b) when he drives he articulates from a different place to Ralf.

"When he turns the wheel his shoulder comes up hard against his helmet. So, we have to find a structure that is strong enough to take a very high longitudinal load in which we have no cross-sectional area. It's a serious problem to work out how to produce one for Juan Pablo."

The HANS device is scheduled for mandatory introduction to F1 next year but Renault's director of engineering, Pat Symonds, explained: "The test procedures for the device are very severe and haven't been around for too long. I don't think the teams are reluctant.

"Yes, it does consume resources, but in general I'm a bit surprised at the lack of commitment and enthusiasm from the drivers. That hasn't helped. It will be ready for next year but like everything in motor racing, we do it just in time," he added.

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