GOOD NEWS: F1 Teams, Car Companies Pitching In To Build Ventilators

James Walker Mar 28, 2020
|Professor Farnsworth saying "Good News

Professor Farnsworth saying "Good News, Everyone!"

You love to see it. Companies with the equipment, capital, and know-how to build just about anything doing some major good in the world. 

Racing teams, titans of industry, and MIT engineers have begun working together to alleviate some of the strain that Covid-19 will place on the planet’s healthcare systems.

Racing for Good

All seven UK-based Formula 1 teams (Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren, Williams, Racing Point, Renault, Haas) are coming together under the banner of Project Pitlane. Using their rapid prototyping and assembly skills the teams plan to reverse-engineer existing devices, find ways to increase current production, and create more efficient designs for the future. 

Over in in the States, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, who usually make cars for the world’s toughest races, are developing a reusable face mask for front line healthcare workers with Amazon distributing it.


SCG's Baja Boot throwing up sand while off-roading.
SCG’s usual fare.
Detroit Muscle

The US giants are stepping up to the plate with healthcare partnerships and purchasing power.

Ford is working with General Electric and 3M on the brilliantly named “Project Apollo” to help build masks and ventilators. They’re also developing designs to re-purpose paint department masks and use F-150 seat fans in ventilators. How great is that?!

General Motors has announced a partnership with Ventec Life Systems which will see the General use its logistics systems and factories to ramp up the latter company’s production. 

Over in China Fiat Chrysler’s converting one of its factories to produce more than a million face masks each month. Ferrari’s getting in on the action by helping Italy’s Siare Engineering double its output of desperately-needed ventilators.

Tesla’s been shopping too, buying 1255 surplus ventilators from China and giving them out to Californian hospitals in need. Considering an average price of $30,000 per unit that’s no small gesture. Maybe Elon negotiated a bulk price.

Engineering Solutions

To cap it all, engineers and physicians at MIT have been working on an open-source design that modifies existing hand-squeezed respirators. The design allows the cheaper devices to operate mechanically and indefinitely. 

Diagram of MIT's open-source ventilator design.

Coronavirus is scary. Hopefully this effort and cooperation between competitors raises your spirits. 

We humans are, by and large, not the greatest.  We are, however, at our very finest when the shit hits the fan.  When we work together with our clever engineering brains and compassion for each other amazing things happen.

James Walker

James Walker is a freelance writer with a passion for four-wheeled things and twisty roads.

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