Formula One teams help NHS in fight against the coronavirus pandemic

The normally fierce rivals have joined forces to manufacture over 10,000 ventilators for NHS hospitals around the country, as demand for the lifesaving equipment soars. This is in addition to the 10,000 breathing-aid devices that are currently in production and were invented by the Mercedes Team and University College London Hospital. A third project to produce a simple breathing contraption and known as BlueSky had to be abandoned, after it became apparent that the treatment of COVID-19 patients required more sophisticated equipment.

A spokesperson for the Formula One teams said: “The F1 team project leads for BlueSky – Red Bull Racing and Renault F1 Team – have shown brilliant dedication and skill throughout the project and should feel proud of the work they have undertaken”.

He added: “The seven teams continue to focus their collective efforts on the two remaining workstreams, while standing ready to respond to any further calls for help.”

“Project Pitlane” received 10,000 orders for devices known as a Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System (RMVS).

The RMVS was developed by clinicians and the medicines and healthcare products regulator agency (MHRA).

Mercedes have reconfigured their entire UK engine base in Brixworth to produce the “continuous positive airway pressure” device (CPAP).

The device helps patients with lung infections breathe more easily when an oxygen mask alone is insufficient.

Management said last week that they were producing 1,000 of the breathing aides a day and would make the design freely available to other manufacturers.

It comes as the head of Red Bull’s driver development admitted that he had suggested to his drivers that they should infect themselves with the coronavirus, while the season was on hold.

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Helmut Marko told the Austrian television station ORF at the end of March that he had devised a plan for Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon to contract COVID-19.

The idea was that the drivers would then be fit for when the season finally resumes.

Mr Marko said: “We have four Formula One drivers and eight or 10 juniors.

“The idea was to organise a camp where we could bridge this mentally and physically somewhat dead time and that would be the ideal time for the infection to come.


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“These are all strong young men in really good health.

“That way they would be prepared whenever the action starts.

“And you can be ready for what will probably be a very tough championship once it starts.”

The drivers were by all accounts less than impressed with the 76-year-old’s forward planning, as Mr Marko himself confessed.

He added: “Let’s put it this way, it has not been well received.”

Meanwhile, the French Grand Prix looks likely to be the next race to fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Monday that France’s lockdown would be extended to at least mid-July.

With the French Grand Prix scheduled to take place on June 28 at the Circuit Paul Ricard, near Marseille, it would appear that the race has now no chance of taking place.

It would become the tenth race to be cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis, that has held Europe in its grip since around the beginning of March.

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