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Dr. Robert Hubbard, inventor of HANS, has died

The inventor of the HANS device, Dr. Rob Hubbard, has died at his home. He was 80 years old.

The inventor of the HANS device, Dr. Robert Hubbard, who came up with the concept in the 1980s after a friend of his died in a crash, has passed away at his home at 80 years of age.

His company, HANS Performance Products, issued a statement saying:

“Very saddened to learn Dr. Robert Hubbard, inventor of the HANS Device, died this evening. He was at home surrounded by loved ones. His invention has been called the most important safety advance in the last 20 years and has saved a great many people from injury or worse. RIP Dr. Bob.”
HANS, short for Head and Neck Support, was made mandatory in Formula 1 in 2003 after extensive testing in the late 1990s. The concept is basically to ensure that the likelihood of a serious neck injury is reduced, by tethering the drivers’ head and neck together in a way that braces the upper spinal column. HANS is intended to prevent a stretching of the vertebrae and to prevent the driver’s head from hitting the steering wheel.

At the time of his invention, Hubbard was working as a biomechanical engineering professor at Michigan State University in the United States.

A friend of his, Patrick Jacquemart, was a racer in IMSA – he died in a testing crash at Mid-Ohio Raceway. This resulted in Hubbard seeking to find a solution to how to reduce the probability of basilar skull fractures.

Having gone on sale commercially in 1990, the HANS device was chosen for F1 after the FIA went seeking solutions to how to lessen driven injury. The catalysts for this was the deaths of Ayrton Senna & Roland Ratzenberger at Imola in 1994, as well as the traumatic head injuries suffered by McLaren’s Mika Hakkinen at Adelaide in 1995.

Thomas Maher

Co-owner, Chief Editor and a journalist for FormulaSpy.com - Ireland's only accredited F1 & Formula E website. Also working in the Irish radio broadcasting industry. Donations: PayPal - paypal.me/thomasmaheronf1 ETH/ERC20 - 0x9d0b8071180AAcB0bD5f0c1d43281768C73e8763

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