The F1 team will be able to produce 1,000 machines per day by next week.
Individuals and companies are doing as much as possible to help slow the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19). Social distancing and stay-at-home orders should help flatten the curve while companies are now stepping in to improve upon the shortage of ventilators, respirators, masks, and other protective medical equipment. Ford voluntarily stepped into to build ventilators, respirators, and masks, General Motors will be ordered by the Defense Production Act to do so, and other companies will be pitching in as well.
The Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team is the latest organization to announce its efforts to stop the spread of the disease. The F1 team worked with engineers from University College London to build Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices that are currently in short supply. CPAP devices deliver oxygen to the lungs without needing a ventilator.
40 of these devices have already been delivered to the University College London Hospital (UCLH) and three other hospitals in London. If the trials are successful, Mercedes-AMG will be able to produce 1,000 of the CPAP machines per day starting in just one week's time. The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has already approved the use of the Mercedes-built CPAP devices in hospitals. Mercedes says it fast-tracked the development process and it took fewer than 100 hours from the initial meeting to production of the first device.
"Given the urgent need, we are thankful that we were able to reduce a process that could take years down to a matter of days, said Professor Tim Baker, a UCL Mechanical Engineer. "From being given the brief, we worked all hours of the day, disassembling and analyzing an off-patent device. Using computer simulations, we improved the device further to create a state-of-the-art version suited to mass production."
"These devices will help to save lives by ensuring that ventilators, a limited resource, are used only for the most severely ill," said UCLH critical care consultant, Professor Mervyn Singer. "While they will be tested at UCLH first, we hope they will make a real difference to hospitals across the UK by reducing demand on intensive care staff and beds, as well as helping patients recover without the need for more invasive ventilation."
This amazing effort shows the flexibility and determination of the team that has dominated F1 over the past several years. The team is likely taking a break from other projects like the Mercedes-AMG One, a high-performance hypercar with F1 technology, in order to do its part to slow the spread of Covid-19.