EXCLUSIVE: 'Highly legislative' F1 provides perfect platform for Project Pitlane
Formula 1 teams are ideally placed to assist in the fight against the coronavirus due to its "highly legislative environment", according to Innovate UK Chief Technology Officer Mark Gillan.
Gillan believes F1's "psyche" has helped prepare the seven teams involved in Project Pitlane - Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault, Racing Point, Williams and Haas - to switch their focus to the development and production of ventilators given that industry is also subject to strict legislation.
“If you look at the F1 statement where it talks about what they are focussing on, there are three workstreams, that’s reverse engineering existing medical devices, supporting the scaling up of production and the rapid design of prototyping and manufacturing new devices," said Gillan.
“I think, F1 - and I’m ex-F1 myself, my last job was running Williams race team - is probably one of the best industries I know at doing exactly that. This is the reverse engineering of designs and the competitor analysis that they do all of the time, day in day out."
When developing an F1 car, teams will be working as fast as possible to make improvements, often designing and producing multiple prototypes simultaneously.
With the Covid-19 crisis currently facing the world, this ability is something that will be key in the fight.
“An F1 car is effectively a running prototype," continued Gillan. "Their whole business model is set up on rapid design and development and the testing of prototypes, so they’re very good at that, and also what maybe people don’t see is that they work within a highly legislative environment.
“With the FIA and the crash testing and all of the work that goes into that, they’re used to doing things at pace but also making sure that working at pace doesn’t mean one cuts corners.
"That whole psyche makes them very suited to the task in hand.”
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