Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Drivers accept HANS 07 Mar 2003

The HANS device.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Vodafone Cooking Event, Melbourne, Australia, 6 March 2003

Several of them had reservations about it, but by the end of the first proper day of the 2003 World Championship most drivers have accepted the mandatory HANS Head and Neck Support system.

Former F1 racer Christian Fittipaldi used HANS in his days racing for Newman-Haas in CART, and now in NASCAR, and says: "If you see a crash test with and without HANS, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to see that you ought to be wearing this thing," he said.

But though fellow Brazilian Felipe Massa became the first man ever to race with HANS in a Grand Prix at Monza last year, there has been resistance from other drivers, among then Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya and Nick Heidfeld.

Villeneuve was concerned about the way HANS might react in certain types of accident; Montoya and Heidfeld were uncomfortable as they both like the steer a car using not just their wrists but their shoulders, and the HANS device inhibited that. However, the teams are allowed to modify the original Hubbard-Downing design and several have done so.

Heidfeld said: "I did one lap with the old version at Barcelona recently, and got a headache. But with the modified version I did a whole day at Imola without any problem. I still feel better without it, but at least I can use it now."