Saturday, 16 November 2013

Safety in Formula 1: HANS (Part Three)

Edited by: Junaid Samodien
Source: Google Images
Safety in Formula 1 or any form of motorsport for that matter is important and this week’s blog will take a look at the HANS device – the Head and Neck Support system. The HANS device is a safety mechanism made compulsory in many forms of motorsport. The device prevents the probability of head and/or neck injuries in an event of a crash. A major cause of death amongst drivers during races were through violent head movements, where the body remains in place as a result of the seat belts but the momentum keeps the head moving forwards, causing a Basilar skull fracture resulting in serious injury or immediate death.
Notable race car drivers who died from Basilar skull fractures include:
·         Formula 1 drivers: Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna in the 1994 San Marino Formula 1 Grand Prix.
·         Indy 500 drivers: Scott Brayton, Bill Vukovich and Tony Bettenhausen.
·         NASCAR drivers: Adam Petty, Tony Roper, Kenny Irwin, Jr., Terry Schoonover, Grant Adcox, Neil Bonnett, John Nemechek, Dale Earnhardt, J. D. McDuffie and Clifford Allison.
Edited by Junaid Samodien
Source: Google Images
According to, “The original HANS device went on sale in 1990, but its large collar was unsuited to single-seater series with narrow, tight cockpits. However, after Mika Hakkinen's massive accident in Adelaide, Australia in 1995 (in which he fractured his skull) the FIA instituted research to establish the best way of protecting Formula 1 drivers' heads in major impacts. Airbag and 'active' safety systems were briefly considered, before the focus shifted to development of a HANS system suitable for F1 racing.”

Nico Rosberg discusses the HANS device

Did you know …that in tests HANS was shown to reduce typical head motion in an accident by 44 percent, the force applied to the neck by 86 percent and the acceleration applied to the head by 68 percent - bringing the figures for even large impacts under the 'injury threshold'?

Formula 1 mandated the HANS device in 2003 after extensive testing and sharing the results with the FIA, the Head and Neck Support (HANS) system consists of a carbon fibre shoulder collar (U-shape) which is secured under the driver’s safety belts and connected to his helmet by two elastic straps. In the event of an accident, HANS is intended to prevent stretching of the vertebrae and to prevent the driver’s head from hitting the steering wheel. The FIA has made HANS device compulsory for all International-level events from the beginning of 2009.

I hope you enjoyed the read! Please feel free to leave a comment.

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