Frontal Head Restraints (FHRs)

Laurie Callender General Safety

There is much discussion about making these devices compulsory with some Sports Bodies and lately some tracks however there is more to just buying a device and going racing with it.

What is an FHR?

A Frontal Head Restraint is a system designed to reduce injury by limiting forward head movement in an accident. Sports Bodies will have either an FIA 8858-2002 or FIA 858-2010 and SFI 38.1 as an approved device to be used. But which one, as there are many different types available.

A full list of FIA homologated FHR devices can be found in FIA Technical List No. 29.

The SFI 38.1 approved devices can be found here:

Please note: SFI devices require re-certification every 5 years and most can be done in NZ. You can see a list of approved certifiers here;

You will need to do your own research to decide which device is more suited to you and the class of vehicle you race.

Is my helmet compatible with an FHR?

FHRs can only be used with helmets designed for such devices. These are FIA 8860-2004 and FIA 8859-2015. Snell rated SA helmets are also approved as long as they are SA2005 (expires December 2018) SA2010 & SAH2010 and SA2015. These latest helmets will have the threaded inserts already in the helmet ready to take the tether anchor.

Can I fit helmet tether anchorages myself?

As long as you have a compatible helmet as listed above you are able to drill and fit the anchorage fitting kit yourself. There are good instructions supplied by the manufacture and with care these can be easily fitted.

Is my seat compatible with an FHR?

Most race seats will be compatible with an FHR but head rests must not foul the upright of a HANS© device. In fact HANS© recommend a clearance between the helmet and the head rest so the device sits comfortably and is able to move during use. See diagram below.

Helmet clearance with HANS

Do I need to use a special harness?

All FIA and SFI homologated harness are compatible with an FHR. There are some specific FHR shoulder belts which are 2” wide rather than the normal 3” and these can only be used when an FHR device is being worn. Three-inch shoulder belts are perfectly OK as long as the correct seat belt angles and mountings are closely followed.

The shoulder belts should be mounted as short as possible behind the seat and should be mounted between 0 and 20 degrees below the horizontal measured from the competitor’s shoulder. To achieve a good fit with 3” belts, so they don’t roll off the shoulder lug, the belts can be mounted close together behind the seat to allow a perfect placement. See diagram below as recommended by HANS©

HANS© Device advice.

Competitors are advised that the adjusters on the harness shoulder straps should be positioned on the lower parts of the yokes on the HANS© device as shown below.

This is to ensure that the full restraining force of the harness is acting on the HANS© device. If the adjusters are any lower they may interfere with the location of the device on the body. Please note this advice is relevant only to the HANS© devices as other makes have different length yokes. You should follow the manufactures fitting instructions at all times.


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