Azerbaijan GP postponed due to coronavirus

The new season will now not start until at least June 14 with the Canada GP in Montreal. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 23 March 2020

Azerbaijan GP postponed due to coronavirus

  • So far Grand Prix scheduled for Bahrain, Vietnam, China, Netherlands and Spain have been postponed

PARIS: Organizers on Monday postponed June’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, meaning the first eight races of the Formula One season have been swept aside by the coronavirus pandemic.
So far Grand Prix scheduled for Bahrain, Vietnam, China, Netherlands and Spain have been postponed while the iconic Riviera showpiece in Monaco and the season-opening Australian race were canceled.
“This comes as a direct result of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic and has been based entirely on the expert guidance provided to us by the relevant authorities,” organizers Baku City Circuit said.
“In coming to this conclusion, BCC’s primary concern throughout has been the health and well-being of the Azerbaijani people as well as all visiting F1 fans, staff and championship participants,” they added.
The new season will now not start until at least June 14 with the Canada GP in Montreal.


Mercedes F1 team helps to develop breathing aid in pandemic

Updated 30 March 2020

Mercedes F1 team helps to develop breathing aid in pandemic

  • New breathing aid similar to those used in Italy, China to fight coronavirus symptoms
  • Lack of ventilators a major concern as coronavirus cases increase

LONDON: Formula One team Mercedes has helped to develop a breathing aid that could keep coronavirus patients out of intensive care and ease some pressure on Britain’s strained health service.
As part of a combined effort involving seven Britain-based teams, Mercedes worked with engineers at the University College London and clinicians at University College London Hospital to adapt and improve a device that bridges the gap between an oxygen mask and the need for full ventilation.
The device, known as continuous positive airway pressure, has been used extensively in hospitals in Italy and China to deliver oxygen to the lungs of coronavirus patients during the pandemic.
UCL said the adapted devices have been recommended for use in Britain and that 100 of them are being sent to its hospital for clinical trials. There is the potential for quick roll-out by Mercedes to hospitals across the country.
Tim Baker, a professor from UCL’s department of mechanical engineering, said clinicians called on the “capability of Formula One” to reduce a process “that could take years down to a matter of days,” with the adapted device taking less than 100 hours to develop from an initial meeting.
“We have been proud to put our resources at the service of UCL,” said Andy Cowell, managing director of Mercedes, “to deliver the CPAP project to the highest standards and in the fastest possible time frame.”
The technology arms of six other teams — Red Bull, Haas, McLaren, Renault, Williams and Racing Point — contributed to the developing of the CPAP devices, as part of what F1 has labeled “Project Pitlane.”
The teams say they will continue to pool their resources and “support in other areas requiring rapid, innovative technology responses to the unique challenges posed” by the pandemic.
The CPAP machines work by pushing a mix of oxygen and air into the mouth and nose at a continuous rate, helping to increase the amount of oxygen entering the lungs. They are used routinely by Britain’s National Health Service but are in short supply currently.
There have been almost 20,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Britain, with more than 1,200 deaths.
For most people, the new virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The F1 season has yet to start, with the first eight races of the schedule having been postponed or canceled. It means there will be no racing until the middle of June at the earliest.
Mercedes is the leading team in F1, with defending champion Lewis Hamilton as its top driver.