F1 teams using tech prowess to produce medical devices via 'Project Pitlane'

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All seven UK-based Formula 1 teams are to put their technical know-how into producing medical devices through the newly launched 'Project Pitlane'.

Around the world, the coronavirus pandemic is putting a massive strain on equipment and hospital supplies, with many companies reconfiguring their manufacturing lines to help increase the numbers.

The auto industry is one sector particularly well-placed to transfer technology into the medical field, including F1 teams, many of whom have arms that apply advanced methods for the track into non-racing areas.

And now, with the F1 operations currently in shutdown, McLaren, Renault, Racing Point, Haas, Red Bull, Mercedes and Williams are putting their skills to good in the fight against Covid-19.

"Following decisions taken this week by the UK Government, Project Pitlane is focused on three workstreams," a statement from F1 read on Friday.

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"These workstreams vary in scope from reverse engineering existing medical devices, to support in scaling the production of existing ventilator designs as part of the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium, to the rapid design and prototype manufacture of a new device for certification and subsequent production.

"In each instance, Project Pitlane will pool the resources and capabilities of its member teams to greatest effect, focusing on the core skills of the F1 industry: rapid design, prototype manufacture, test and skilled assembly.

"F1’s unique ability to rapidly respond to engineering and technological challenges allows the group to add value to the wider engineering industry’s response."

Current world champion Lewis Hamilton was quick to applaud the efforts in a tweet.

"It’s great to see @MercedesAMGF1 and other @F1 teams answering the call in these challenging times. Great job guys," he wrote.

In Italy, Ferrari and parent company Fiat have launched a similar plan in the production of ventilators and other medical equipment for that country.