HANS problem stops Wilson 24 Mar 2003
Justin Wilson was forced to pull out of the Malaysian Grand Prix after completing 41 laps, due to intense pain from his mandatory HANS head and neck support collar.
Earlier in the day Rubens Barrichello had received permission from the stewards to race without one after the discomfort he suffered in Australia, and is now awaiting a revised design for Brazil in two weeks' time.
Wilson, running a light fuel load, climbed as high as seventh in the early laps before refuelling on lap 13, and had settled into 13th place when he began to lose feeling in one arm as the collar pinched him. Eventually he pulled into the pit garage on lap 42 and it took team members eight minutes to help him from the cockpit as both arms were temporarily paralysed. The Englishman was then taken to hospital for a check -up.
"The cause of his retirement appears to be a trapped nerve," Paul Stoddart said.
Wilson's manager Jonathan Palmer, a trained doctor, said that he did not expect the damage to be lasting.
Ralph Firman was also uncomfortable after his safety belts worked off the HANS aid pads and allowed him and the HANS system to move around the cockpit of his Jordan Ford.
The FIA allows teams to customise their systems, and development is ongoing.