Mercedes F1 team helps to develop breathing aid in pandemic

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 the UK's strained health service. (AP/UCL)
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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.


WWE names Bandar Al-Mashhadi MENA Vice President and General Manager

Updated 04 June 2020

WWE names Bandar Al-Mashhadi MENA Vice President and General Manager

  • Al-Mashhadi will lead WWE’s strategic business initiatives and day-to-day operations in the MENA region
  • He will also manage local operations for the company’s 10-year partnership with the Saudi General Entertainment Authority

RIYADH: WWE announced on Thursday the appointment of Bandar Al-Mashhadi as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Vice President and General Manager.  

Al-Mashhadi will lead WWE’s strategic business initiatives and day-to-day operations in the MENA region and work with partners across all of WWE’s lines of business, including television, live events, marketing, sponsorship, advanced media, licensing and merchandising. He will also manage local operations for the company’s 10-year partnership with the Saudi General Entertainment Authority.

“We are excited to welcome Bandar to our international leadership team and confident that his experience in managing successful partnerships in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East will have a significant impact on WWE’s continued growth,” said James Rosenstock, WWE Executive Vice President, International. “We look forward to Bandar leading WWE’s efforts in this important region for our company.”

Al-Mashhadi has more than 20 years of experience as an executive in Saudi-based companies. He spent the past six years at OSN, most recently as Managing Director, leading implementation of the broadcaster’s corporate strategy in Saudi Arabia. During this time he also served a one-year deployment as Advisor to the Minister of Media in Saudi Arabia, leading multiple Vision 2030 initiatives including the privatization of the Saudi News Network.

Earlier in his career, Al Mashhadi spent more than a decade at BAE Systems in Saudi Arabia, rising to Director of Portfolio Management and undertaking strategic leadership placements with joint venture partners.