It is often claimed that Formula 1 is a meat grinder. However, this cold, tough and competitive world, where most people are a number, shows its most human side with a solidarity cause. At the request of the United Kingdom, the seven teams based there will help manufacture and deliver respirators to hospitals. The so-called “Proyecto Pitlane” (pit line in Spanish) seeks to give a hand to coronavirus patients. This was reported this Friday by an official statement from the category. This move is in addition to that of Ferrari that a few days ago already announced its intention to collaborate in Italy, the country that has the highest number of deaths in this pandemic.
Britain is the Mecca of Maxim. At Silverstone, England, the first race was run on May 13, 1950, which was won by Italian Giuseppe Farina (Alfa Romeo). It is where throughout their 70 years the majority of the teams were located and are located. Today there are seven (out of a total of ten in the category) that have their base in the islands: Mercedes (Brackley), McLaren (Woking), Williams (Grove), Red Bull (Milton Keynes), Renault (Enstone), Racing Point (Silverstone) and Haas (Banbury)The latter, although he is American, his main workshop is also in British territory. Added to this clarification are three cases that acquired remnants of English teams: Mercedes (Germany), who re-entered in 2010 buying Brawn GP; Red Bull (Austria), which entered in 2005 in place of Jaguar and Renault (France), which returned in 2002 taking the place of Benetton, which in turn replaced Toleman in 1986.
As reported by the F-1 in its press release, in the last two weeks the Government of the United Kingdom was in contact with those responsible for the teams. The teams then worked together to define and coordinate their response to the State's request for assistance, to manufacture medical devices to assist in the treatment of patients with COVID-19. To prevent the spread of contagion, on March 23 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared a quarantine for three weeks.
“Following the decisions made this week by the UK government, the 'Project Pitlane' focuses on three lines of work, ranging in scope, from reverse engineering to existing medical devices, support in expanding production of existing respirator designs as part of the Ventilator Challenge UK to the rapid design and prototyping of a new device for certification and subsequent production, ”states the F-1 statement. Ventilator Challenge UK is an engineering consortium of McLaren, Nissan and Meggitt, a British company dedicated to assembling elements and systems for the aerospace industry.
In this regard, Forbes adds that F-1 teams, like McLaren, are used to designing and polishing new components quickly as they adjust their cars between races. Nissan has experience in mass production and distribution that will allow new respirators to be quickly produced and delivered where they are needed, while Meggitt brings expertise in the production of aircraft oxygen systems.
The Pitlane Project complements the work of engineers at King’s College London, which is a public research university in the United Kingdom, and the University of Oxford. They are building and testing prototypes that can be manufactured using techniques and tools available in well-equipped workshops at universities and small and medium-sized companies. If the designs are approved soon, universities, SMEs, and large industries will be able to manufacture and assemble these respirators near their local hospitals.
In this context where speed is key since it is about saving lives, what better than the technology that the Máxima squads have. Its bases are true engineering laboratories and they have the first-rate tools. The Pitlane Project will pool equipment resources and capabilities, focusing on the basic F-1 industry skills: rapid design, prototyping, testing, and assembly skills.
No deadlines were reported, but F-1 squads have already contacted hospitals, other universities, and aerospace companies to strengthen their collaboration. They will not only help to manufacture the respirators, but will contribute part of their sanitary material or facilities. For example, its corporate sectors moving around Europe. They are places where team members meet, attend the press, feed and rest. These sectors that are detachable and that move in trucks are always behind the internal area of the pits, in front of the garages where the cars are attended. It should be remembered that the teams brought forward their summer break, which is always in August, to accommodate the new calendar for races that were canceled or postponed.
On the subject of dates, after the cancellation of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix agreed for June 7, so far the first race would be in Canada, scheduled for June 14. But in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, it is not exactly confirmed when the season will start (if it starts). As reported in the F-1 2020 sports regulation, published by the International Automobile Federation (FIA), in its article 5.4, specifies that there must be a minimum of eight races. It is almost a third of the 22 he had scored at the beginning (it was going to be the longest calendar in history) and just one more than there were in 1950, in its first season …
While Ferrari made pole positions (best qualifying time) in this F-1 fight against the coronavirus. Scuderia announced on March 21 their collaboration to manufacture respirators. This through a possible association with Siare Engineering International Group which is a small company based in Crespellano, in Bologna, which at the peak of its production can reach the manufacture of 150 respirators per week, according to the Italian media Wanted in Milan. The Maranello team's idea is to optimize the production process, supporting logistics and looking for new suppliers. With this agreement, it is expected to reach 2,500 respirators.
With this, there are already eight teams joining to fight COVID-19. The global drama merits union and the majority go online to help. It is a truce in the war that broke out in the F-1 less than a month ago when seven teams threatened to go to Justice due to the secret agreement of Ferrari and the FIA, after the investigation by the governing body into alleged irregularities in the Fuel flow into the Scuderia's engines in three 2019 races.
But the collaboration to fight the coronavirus is not only in the sports field. The serial industry also has references to collaborate in the manufacture of respirators. In the United States, President Donald Trump authorized Ford, General Motors, and Tesla. In Argentina there is the case of Toyota, whose Hilux and SW4 models have parts in common with the respirators and made its Zárate plant available to be able to make them. Whether with race teams or terminals with the construction of street cars, the technology used in the automotive world seeks to win the race for the pandemic.