Motorsport has long-been associated with cutting-edge and quick-turnaround manufacturing, but now that ingenuity is being used to take on a pandemic.
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Formula One teams in the UK and Australia’s Erebus Supercars team have joined the fight against COVID-19 by producing medical equipment.

In a combined effort from seven UK-based Formula One teams to implement their advanced manufacturing capacities, 'Project Pitlane' sets out to produce ventilators to support the healthcare system during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“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,” Formula One said in a statement.

“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."

The Project Pitlane initiative has three main directives: to reverse engineer existing medical equipment, support production of these designs, and to conceive and prototype new devices for certification and production.

The efforts of the teams – consisting of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, Racing Point, Haas, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, Renault and Williams – also forge part of the UK enterprise ‘VentilatorChallengeUK’ – a nationwide collection of manufacturers coming together to help produce ventilators.

On the other side of the globe, Australia’s own Erebus Supercars team is doing what it can in the fight against coronavirus by designing and producing medical devices.

The team has already developed the ‘e-Mask’ and ‘e-Aerosol Box’ with assistance from Supercars Medical delegate Dr Carl Le.

Above: Erebus' 'e-Mask'

"We are in a fortunate position where we have the ability to make this shift in our operations and help our health care workers and patients," Barry Ryan, CEO of Erebus said

Erebus’ e-Mask consists of a face mask with a 3D-printed adaptor that allows easy fitting and replacement of P2/N95 filters. This grade of filtration has been deemed effective for reducing the transmission of Coronavirus and is commonly used by healthcare professionals.

The ‘e-Aerosol Box’ works as a large shield placed around an infected patient’s chest and neck with two provisions for healthcare workers to insert their hands. The box also has a provision to connect vacuum suction, meaning infectious droplets can be removed from the atmosphere inside the box, providing further protection to healthcare workers.

Above: the 'e-Aerosol Box'

Erebus and Dr Carl Le are also looking to implement motorsport technology into two-way communication into and out of isolation rooms.

COVID-19 has affected both of the sports negatively, with events including the Melbourne leg of the 2020 Formula One season cancelled recently, and the Supercars series postponed in an effort to curb transmission.