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Ferrari helps design new low-cost ventilator in coronavirus battle

Ferrari's low-cost ventilator
Ferrari's low-cost ventilator Handout FERRARI PRESS OFFICE/AFP
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Rome (AFP)

Formula One team Ferrari announced Wednesday they have helped develop a new low-cost ventilator which can be used in the fight against coronavirus.

The F15 project has been developed in five weeks by the Maranello team in conjunction with the Genoa-based Italian Institute of Technology.

"We started working on March 21 and the first prototype was ready on April 25," Ferrari's innovation manager Corrado Onorato told a video conference.

Designed to meet the demands of medium intensive care, Ferrari said the ventilator was reliable, versatile and easy to use and assemble.

The Formula One season has been suspended because of the pandemic which has killed over 31,000 people in Italy.

But Simone Resta, head of Ferrari's chassis department, said they had been given the all-clear by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) to undertake the project which covered several divisions -- simulation, 3D modelling and chassis design.

"The challenge of COVID-19 was one we wanted to take on," said Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto.

"This project was a very stimulating experience as well as being truly rewarding for all those involved."

The ventilators are produced using easily available materials at a lower cost than currently available pulmonary ventilators.

Professor Giorgio Metta, scientific director of the Italian Institute of Technology, said: "We think that it can be done at very low cost."

The Mercedes team, Ferrari's big rival on the circuit, had also taken part in a comparable initiative in Britain.

"During the tragic situation of the coronavirus epidemic we found ourselves faced with a respiratory problem," explained Antonello Forgione, a surgeon at Milan's Niguarda Hospital.

"We thought about how to invent a machine that we could make available to everyone, in open-source, in a safe, efficient and fast way. We then contacted Ferrari," he added.

Two prototypes have been designed and are now ready for a test phase.

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