In conjunction with mechanical engineers at University College London, Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrain - the F1 team’s engine division - helped reverse engineer a breathing device. The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) breathing aid is designed to keep COVID-19 patients out of intensive care, and has already been used extensively in Italy and China. According to UCL, 50% of patients in Italy who were given CPAP avoided the need for invasive mechanical ventilation. With the UK facing a CPAP shortage, engineers worked around the clock at UCL’s campus on the project, and managed to achieve the first device production less than 100 hours from the first meeting on Wednesday March 18. The device has now received approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
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"After a UK Government order for up to 10,000, the devices are being produced at a rate of up to 1,000 a day at the HPP technology centre in Brixworth, Northamptonshire," a release from Mercedes reads. "Currently, 40 machines that would normally produce F1 pistons and turbochargers are being used for production of the CPAP devices, and the entire Brixworth facility has been repurposed to meet this demand."
As well as its own production of the device which is designed to keep patients out of intensive care by providing improved respiratory support, Mercedes has also made the device open-source. The title sponsor of Mercedes' F1 team, Petronas, has confirmed it will produce the devices in Malaysia. "Since the project was announced, we have received an incredible number of enquiries about the CPAP device from around the world," Mercedes HPP chief Andy Cowell said. "Making the design and manufacturing specifications openly available will allow companies around the world to produce these devices at speed and at scale to support the global response to COVID-19."
The Formula 1 organisation has followed the route taken by teams and placed around half of its staff on furlough as the COVID-19 crisis continues to have an impact on the sport. In addition, senior staff are to take a 20% pay cut, with CEO Chase Carey likely to take more of a voluntary reduction.
"Renault Sport Racing has decided to retrospectively apply for the Job Retention Scheme set up by the British government. "As of April 1st, the vast majority of Enstone staff will effectively have a total shutdown (furlough) until May 31st. This will be reviewed dependent on the development of the situation. "It was also agreed to top-up the amount allocated by the government to guarantee a minimum of 80% of the actual salary for all team members. "Salaries of active staff, including management, will be reduced in the same proportions."
"The McLaren Group is temporarily furloughing a number of employees as part of wider cost-cutting measures due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business. "These measures are focused on protecting jobs in the short-term to ensure our employees return to full-time work as the economy recovers." The British government allows companies to furlough staff, where it will pay 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2500 per month, if their positions are kept open.
"Due to the ongoing situation involving COVID-19, ROKiT Williams Racing is temporarily furloughing a number of employees as part of a wider range of cost-cutting measures," the statement reads. "The furlough period will last until the end of May whilst senior management, and our drivers, have taken a pay cut of 20% effective from 1st April.
A Racing Point spokesperson said: "Some staff have now been placed on temporary furlough. Our drivers will also take a voluntary pay cut."
A Haas spokesperson confirmed that the majority of its UK staff were furloughed with effect from April 1, with other senior personnel being kept on board all taking pay cuts.
“It was one lap too many,” his wife, Susie, told The Associated Press. “He just closed his eyes.”
Moss said courage and stupidity were pretty much synonymous, and may have proved it in a succession of spectacular accidents: seven times his wheels came off, eight times his brakes failed. He was a racer, he insisted, not a driver. “To race a car through a turn at maximum possible speed when there is a great lawn to all sides is difficult,” he said in an interview with The New York Times Magazine in 1961, “but to race a car at maximum speed through a turn when there is a brick wall on one side and a precipice on the other — ah, that’s an achievement!” Motion, he said, was tranquillity. Why, he wondered, do people walk, since God gave them feet that fit automotive pedals? Moss, the ultimate pro, once observed that there are no professionals at dying — although he had practiced. He was sure he was “a goner” after his steering column snapped at over 160 m.p.h. in a race in Monza, Italy, in 1958. As he staggered away from the wreckage, he thought, “Well, if this is hell, it’s not very hot, or if it’s heaven, why is it so dusty?”
So for a couple of generations, British traffic cops sneeringly asked speeding motorists, “Who do you think you are, Stirling Moss?” (Moss, who had been knighted, was once asked that question, and answered, “Sir Stirling, please.”)
All seven teams are working with a consortium on the Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System, and the companies involved have received formal orders from the government in excess of 10,000 units. Furthermore, Mercedes' Brixworth engine facility has been repurposed to help produce Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) breathing aids.
A third project, for a low-cost portable ventilator invented by junior doctor Alastair Darwood, has been put aside for now because the government has decided that the NHS requires a ventilator more suited to the particular current coronavirus needs.