F1 aims for coronavirus ventilator plan in ‘next few days’

Formula 1
Formula 1

Formula 1 teams are aiming to work out a plan to increase the supply of medical equipment to fight coronavirus within a few days.

F1 and the teams are working with the UK government and health authorities to produce more ventilators, which are needed in intensive care units.

F1 teams have engineering capabilities that could speed up the production of the units, which are in short supply.

The aerospace and automotive sectors are also engaged in the discussions.

Ventilators are devices used to help supply more air to patients with breathing difficulties, one of the effects of severe coronavirus symptoms.

F1 said it was hoped there would be “a tangible outcome in the next few days”.

A statement from F1 said: “A collective of UK-based Formula 1 teams, engine manufactures and their respective technology arms is evaluating support for the manufacture of respiratory devices in response to the UK government’s call for assistance.

“The teams are working in collaboration with F1, the UK government and other organisations to establish the feasibility of the teams producing, or supporting, the production of medical devices to help in the treatment of coronavirus patients.

“All the teams have expert design, technology and production capabilities, and specialise in rapid prototyping and high-value manufacturing, which is hoped can be applied to the critical needs set out by government.

“Working with Innovate UK, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult team and University College London and UCL hospitals, the teams are evaluating a number of routes to support in conjunction with existing manufacturers and organisations from the aerospace and automotive sectors.

“It is hoped this work, which is being rapidly progressed, will produce a tangible outcome in the next few days.”

A number of teams have applied-technologies divisions that could directly feed into the national production capacity of ventilators in the UK and Italy, particularly McLaren, Red Bull, Williams, Mercedes and Ferrari.

But all teams have advanced manufacturing capability that could potentially be used to make complex devices such as this, and as many will help as can.

The idea is to increase the supply of the existing design of ventilators rather than try to come up with a new approach.

The UK is estimated to need an extra 20,000 ventilators to deal with the crisis as it develops over the coming months.

It is hoped that an approach can be agreed within the next week that will help teams feed into capacity as quickly as possible, to boost the capability of health services to deal with increasing numbers of patients with breathing difficulties.

The Agnelli family, which controls Ferrari and Fiat, donated 10m euro to the Italian government to help deal with the coronavirus emergency at a national level, as well as buying 150 extra ventilators and providing a fleet of cars to distribute food and medicine.

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