Coronavirus in Formula 1: Mercedes make breathing aid freely available

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Mercedes and UCL breathing aid
Mercedes F1 teamed up with University College London on the project

Mercedes has made the design of a new breathing-aid device it helped develop freely available to help fight the coronavirus crisis.

The device helps patients with lung infections breathe more easily when an oxygen mask alone is insufficient.

The device was designed in conjunction with University College London.

UCL Hospital consultant Professor Mervyn Singer said: "These devices help save lives by ensuring ventilators are used only for the most severely ill."

The new 'continuous positive airway pressure' device was reverse-engineered from a previous model in less than 100 hours and received regulatory approval last week.

The revised design consumes 70% less oxygen than the earlier model.

The designs released by Mercedes for public use include specifications of materials, tools and kit used in the rapid-prototyping process.

The UK government has ordered 10,000 of the devices which are being produced "at a rate of up to 1,000 a day", Mercedes say, at their engine-design base in Brixworth, Northamptonshire.

Professor Rebecca Shipley, Director of UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering, said: "These life-saving devices are relatively simple to manufacture and can be produced quickly. We hope that, by making the blueprints publicly available, they can be used to improve the resilience of healthcare systems preparing for the Covid-19 pandemic globally."

The Mercedes effort is part of a wider scheme undertaken by all seven UK-based F1 teams, featuring three different work streams, aimed at boosting the supply of critical-care equipment in hospitals across the country.

Mercedes said that 40 machines that would normally produce F1 pistons and turbochargers were now being used for production of the CPAP devices, and the entire Brixworth facility had been repurposed to meet this demand.

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