One fo the outcomes of a global virus containment effort is the need for production of PPE and other apparatus to Assit in the care and hopeful recover of infected patients. To those ends, teams such as Mercedes, Red Bull and others were all involved in assisting the NHS in the UK with developing ventilators.
In the face of serious adversity, working alongside others that you may not have chosen is less of an issue as you are both focused on a singular goal and that’s just what happened with Red Bull Racing and the Renault F1 team.
Speaking exclusively to Autosport, Red Bull boss Christian Horner said:
“I think it said a huge amount for Formula 1.
“We approached the government as soon as we saw this crisis looming, and then got in coordination with other teams as well.
“We identified a project that we were assigned to, and we were assigned to it with Renault.
“I was astounded to see the volunteers that stepped forward unconditionally 24/7 to support this project.
“We had people like our chief designer Rob Marshall working on it.
“I think he did three successive all-nighters on it, and unbelievable efforts that were going in to turn what was a fairly rudimentary concept into a fully-functional, fully-developed, ventilator.”
If you watched the first season of Drive to Survive on Netflix, you know there was some tension between the teams over an engine supply from Renault and a driver poaching that didn’t sit well with the Austria energy drink company. Imagine, then, being teamed with them to design devices that are intended to save lives, not just go around a racing circuit quickly.
“At that point your competitive spirit goes out the window, and it’s about coming up with solutions,” said Horner.
“So we had people from Renault working in our factory, in their own team kit, in our race bays, in our facility. Unthinkable under normal circumstances!
“We had [Renault technical advisor] Bob Bell working alongside Rob Marshall, coming up with solutions that astounded the industry.
“It was not only the solution, but also the speed at which Formula 1 operates, because solutions were identified and machined overnight, and running on a rig by the time people came back in the following morning.
“What normally would have taken three years to get this machine signed off was actually done in three-and-a-half weeks.”
The great thing about the shared effort is the rapid prototyping ability of both teams to design, create and test their creations and that is very much in keeping with what a current F1 team does best in their own efforts to win championships.
Ultimately the device these two competitive teams created was not chosen by the NHS but that isn’t to say that there may not be a need for such a device in the future and if it was changing in its innovation, I would imagine it will be.
Hat Tip: Autosport