F1 team Mercedes to deliver breathing devices to UK hospitals in virus fight

London (AFP) –


Formula One team Mercedes will start delivering breathing devices to Britain's National Health Service this week to aid the fight against the coronavirus.

The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices, which help coronavirus patients with lung infections to breathe more easily, were produced in less than a week and have been cleared for use after patient trials across London.

The British government has ordered 10,000 of the devices which are being produced "at a rate of up to 1,000 a day" in the Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains technology centre in Brixworth, Northamptonshire.

"Since the project was announced, we have received an incredible number of enquiries about the CPAP device from around the world," Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, said on Tuesday.

"Making the design and manufacturing specifications available on an 'open source' basis will allow companies around the world to produce these devices at speed and at scale to support the global response to Covid-19."

There are 40 machines, which would normally produce F1 pistons and turbochargers, being used for production of the devices, developed by Mercedes engineers in a partnership with University College London as part of F1's Project Pitlane response to the health crisis.

Professor David Lomas, UCL Vice Provost of Health, said: "These life-saving devices will provide vital support to the NHS in coming weeks, helping to keep patients off ventilators and reducing demand on intensive care beds and staff.

"It is a phenomenal achievement that they are arriving at hospitals only two weeks after the first prototype was built. It shows what can be done when universities, hospitals and industry work together for the national good."

All seven British-based Formula One teams are involved in boosting the supply of critical-care equipment in hospitals across the United Kingdom.