Formula 1 has responded to the UK government’s call for help with the production of ventilators for the NHS—and here’s what it’s doing to help.
Seven teams have come together to form Project Pitlane, and they’ve been tasked with focusing on three specific areas: The reverse-engineering of existing medical devices, help with upscaling the production of existing designs, and the design and prototype manufacture of a new certification device.
Medical ventilators are bulky bits of equipment that artificially breathe for a person, and there’s currently a critical shortage. The UK is thought to have around 8,800 at the moment, but the NHS believes it will need over 30,000 before the COVID-19 crisis is over. Some are being sourced from the private sector, existing suppliers are also ramping up production, and firms like Dyson and Meggit (which makes aerospace oxygen masks) and other automotive brands (including Prodrive and Nissan) are also involved.
F1’s expertise in rapid prototyping, innovative engineering, and detailed assembly will be valuable, but Project Pitlane is not designing a new ventilator from scratch.
The seven teams involved—Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, McLaren, ROKiT Williams Racing, Mercedes-AMG Petronas, BWT Racing Point, Renault DP World, and Haas—comprise every UK-based F1 team, many of which have engineering offshoots (McLaren Applied Technologies, Williams Advanced Engineering, and so on).
This is industry coming together. Top Gear applauds you all.
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.