The McLaren Group has been involved in the development of
personal respirators for NHS staff that are leading the fight against the
UK-based Formula 1 operations have collaborated to form Project
Pitlane, understanding where their relevant expertise and equipment can assist
in the manufacture or production of vital equipment.
On Monday it emerged that Mercedes’ High Performance
Powertrains division had assisted with reverse-engineering a breathing aid, the
production of which has already been approved by the UK’s Medicines and
Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
It is hoped that production of up to 1,000 units per day can
commence in the coming days.
The McLaren Group – the parent company of the McLaren
Formula 1 team – has worked with partners at the University of Southampton and
Kemp Sails in its response to the pandemic.
The collaboration has resulted in the production of a prototype
of a personal respirator, intended for use by frontline healthcare staff that
are treating COVID-19 patients.
Existing protective equipment currently worn by doctors and
nurses, particularly disposable surgical and FFP3 facemasks, are in high demand
or unavailable in some areas.
The current prototype, developed in Southampton, consists of
a fabric hood, integrated with a protective plastic visor, while a small
portable unit delivers clean air through a filter.
A belt-mounted fan pack, powered by a battery, ensures the
device remains operational.
Project Pitlane is part of the VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium
that also includes the likes of Airbus, BAE System, Ford, Rolls-Royce and
The Formula 1 season is on hiatus until at least mid-June,
while teams and engine partners must observe a three-week shutdown this month,
which could be extended depending on government advice in the relevant jurisdiction.