Some advice from Paul Flinders on Buying, Fitting or using HANS devises for 2016 Race season.

 

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last update 18/12/2015

 

Some advice from Paul Flinders on Buying, Fitting or using HANS devises for 2016 Race season.

 

During the recent WRDA AGM a lengthy discussion took place regarding what some competitors considered were potential issues regarding HANS devises, which become compulsory in circuit racing (and other motorsport) from Jan 2016. (What is the difference between an FHR and a HANS device? Well, quite simply, very little! FHR stands for ‘frontal head restraint’ – and from now on is the name you’re probably going to see used most often when referring to the device that used to be known as a HANS (head and neck support). HANS is now a trademarked term – so only certain manufacturers are allowed to use it. It’s really the same thing as asking “what’s the difference between a Hoover and a vacuum cleaner?” )

The following is some general guidance which we hope may help competitors, even if you have already bought and/or are using a HANS device.

 

Buying:

There are several designs of the HANS devise, deciding which is right for you is a personal choice, best advice is to try before you buy to identify the best fit, price and comfort for you.

 

 

 

The Simpson HANS devise

Pricing for a HANS devise vary from £200 to well over £1,000. The main thing to consider is that they have all passed FIA approval and perform the same basic function of restraining you head in an impact. It is important to get the right size (typically medium or large) and correct angle to suit your seating position (typically 10,20,30 or 40 deg), check with manufacturers specification to help make the right choice.

 

  A club spec HANS devise

 

 

BELTS…………..possibly the most important item to ensure your HANS devise functions correctly, fits correctly and passes scrutineering !

Important: Your old harness fitting locations may not be suitable for your new HANS devise.

Some potential issues:

Belts which seem to slide off the shoulders when wearing the HANS devise.

Belt sizes 3” or 2” as some HANS devises seem to hold 2” shoulder straps better than they hold 3” shoulder straps.

Some belts are sold as HANS compatible, some even have shoulder straps which go from 3” to 2” over the shoulder before returning to 3”

 

Belts potentially sliding off the shoulders of the HANS devise:

This is most likely due to one or more reasons, the most likely is that the rear shoulder strap fixing locations are not optimised for the HANS devise, the MSA 2016 yearbook shows in section (K) drawing number 39 the new requirements.

However, you have to look to the FIA to get a fuller appreciation of the fitting (in my opinion anyway!). As whilst the angle from the horizontal is important the spacing between the seat centreline and fixing point is very important in getting the belt fitting correct in association with the HANS devise.

 

FIA Institute (Guide for the use of HANS)

The shoulder strap anchorage points on the car shall be symmetrical about the centre line of the driver's seat. When viewed from above, the angle between the belts shall be approximately 200-250 as shown in Figure below

 

As you can see, should you have a saloon race car, it can become necessary to actually cross over the rear straps to achieve the required fitting.

The other factors which can contribute to the sliding shoulder belt situation, is not tightening your belts up enough. Whilst a bad practice there are drivers who prefer not to race with tighter belts! Your HANS devise will not be as effective if you do not fully tighten your belts.

When getting in to your race car and whilst arranging your belts the shoulder straps can slide off your shoulders/HANS devise as you are tightening them up, a good design on some HANS devises is the wings, which help hold your belts in position as you adjust them, some other designs have various methods of making the belt grip to the HANS device during this process. Check for this when inspecting the various options available.

This style has useful wings on the shoulders to help retain shoulder straps whilst getting yourself strapped in to your race car.

 

The belt size, in particular shoulder straps & HANS use only belts

Harness are FIA homologated with the standard shoulder strap width of 75mm (3”), as well as a special width of 50mm (2”) marked “for HANS use only”. Some HANS belts also have a reduced width over the shoulder area of 2” whilst the rest of the shoulder belt is 3”.

Your standard homologated belts with 2” or 3” shoulder straps are suitable for the vast majority of HANS devises on the market, but please check before buying that your choice does not need to have the belts “for HANS use only”

 

Some very specialised motorsport HANS devises can have dual belts one body belt running under the HANS devise between the devise and your shoulders and a second belt which runs over the HANS devise and has independent anchoring points on the race car.

 

Scrutineering:

It is anticipated that scrutineers will be taking particular notice next year (2016) not just that your HANS and helmet are OK, but that the belt fixing locations are correct.

 

Disclaimer: This article is written in good faith and the author has no affiliation to any HANS manufacturer. Please follow each manufacturers published specifications, installation and use guides etc. in association with the MSA 2016 Year book (blue book) and FIA for international events.