The seven UK-based Formula 1 teams are making significant progress in response to the government’s call for help manufacturing medical devices required to treat COVID-19 patients.
Last week, it was confirmed that the sport was analyzing ways it could use its unique set of resources to try and help with the increased demand for respiratory devices, alongside specialist organizations. The UK’s health system — the NHS — currently has in the region of 8000 ventilators, but the government predicts it will require at least 30,000 to deal with the potential number of coronavirus patients.
Now, F1 has confirmed that all seven UK-based teams — Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault, Racing Point, Haas and Williams — are working together on what has been termed ‘Project Pitlane,’ focusing on three specific areas.
“These workstreams vary in scope from reverse engineering existing medical devices, to support in scaling the production of existing ventilator designs as part of the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium, to the rapid design and prototype manufacture of a new device for certification and subsequent production,” a statement from F1 announced.
“In each instance, Project Pitlane will pool the resources and capabilities of its member teams to greatest effect, focusing on the core skills of the F1 industry: rapid design, prototype manufacture, test and skilled assembly. F1’s unique ability to rapidly respond to engineering and technological challenges allows the group to add value to the wider engineering industry’s response.
“The focus of Project Pitlane will now be on coordinating and answering the clear challenges that have been set. The seven teams remain ready to support in other areas requiring rapid, innovative technology responses to the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
F1’s involvement is part of an industry-wide effort in the face of the pandemic, with other automotive companies also answering the call. Friday saw the biggest spike in UK deaths linked to coronavirus in a 24-hour period announced, with a further 181 taking the total up above 750.