21 March 2020
A great initiative
Oftentimes one despairs of the behaviour in Formula 1, where in normal times team bosses have often behaved badly in order to get a better result. Things have got better over time, as the sport has become more corporate and bad behaviour is increasingly frowned upon, but it is trulyheart-warming to see that a number of the teams have now got together to create a supply of medical equipment to fight the coronavirus Covid-19. They have the skills and equipment to manufacture ventilators, which are in huge demand at the moment in hospital intensive care units. The plan is also to help other manufacturers streamline their production processes.
"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," F1 said in a statement. "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."
Several of the teams have their own applied technology companies and McLaren, in particular, created similar devices a long time ago, although these were designed as life support pods for critically ill children.
Britain is in dire need of more ventilators and the production of such units will keep teams employed during the troubled months ahead. The government will, no doubt, pay for the units.