Published On: Sun, Mar 22nd, 2020

F1 teams join forces to help build more ventilators after Boris Johnson coronavirus plea | F1 | Sport

F1 teams and engine manufacturers are joining the battle against coronavirus by helping to build respiratory devices after a plea from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In the UK, the death toll from the virus has risen to 177 after a further 40 people died after testing positive.

London hospitals are said to be struggling with the rising number of cases and running out of care beds.

Medical ventilators are in very short supply and Johnson called on the UK’s biggest manufacturers to help produce equipment like ventilators.

Johnson told industrial industry “to manufacture as many new ventilators as possible, so we can all help the most vulnerable and our NHS, whose staff have been working round the clock”.

And with the season-opening Australian Grand Prix cancelled at short notice last week, UK-based F1 teams have stepped forward to look into supporting the creation of ventilators.

In statement, a spokesman said: “The teams are working in collaboration with Formula 1, 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 COVID-19 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 UCL and University College London Hospitals, the teams are evaluating a number of routes 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.”

The likes of Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull and Williams are all expected to help.

F1 has been indefinitely postponed with the first seven races of the year cancelled. The FIA hopes to start the season “as soon as it is safe to do so after May”.

In a message to F1 fans, Mercedes chief Toto Wolff called on supporters to “pull together” in these testing times.

He said in an open letter: “Whether you support silver or red, pink or yellow, orange or blue – what unites us is our passion for racing.

“So, the prospect of months without F1 just as the season was about to start, after months of hard work to be ready for the new campaign – that prospect might be disappointing.

“At its very best, the sport has the power to not just entertain but to unite us. Many of us have great memories of watching races on TV or at the track with our family and friends. In the next few weeks, that unity is best celebrated in our homes and away from the public; not through direct contact, but rather through video calls or social media.

“In the coming weeks or months we will have to adapt to new challenges, but we’ll approach these with the same energy and determination to those we encounter on track. We will not be silent but embrace our creativity and use our platform to be a positive voice in the F1 community. To you, our fans, team-mates, partners, and rivals, it’s by pulling together that we’ll get through these challenges ahead.

“Please stay safe, follow expert advice, make sure you keep your distance – and keep washing those hands. Sincerely, Toto.”

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