Reporters – 19/04/2020

Features This Week

While F1 is officially shut down, teams are allowed to divert resources into developing devices which can help in the fight against Coronavirus. Mercedes have teamed up with University College London to develop a new CPAP device, so how have they set new records in this pandemic?   

Mercedes make CPAP designs freely available

Mercedes have announced that the CPAP machines that they have been developing to fight Coronavirus will be made freely available for other manufacturers to use.

The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices are being developed by the Mercedes engine division with University College London as part of F1’s wider Project Pitlane, are being produced at a rate of up to 1,000 per day.

The world champions have repurposed their Brixworth engine plant to meet the demand, with machines normally used to produce F1 pistons and turbochargers being utilised for the CPAP development effort.

Managing director of the engine division, Andy Cowell told Sky Sports, “Since the project was announced, we have received an incredible number of enquiries about the CPAP device from around the world.”

“Making the design and manufacturing specifications openly available will allow companies around the world to produce these devices at speed and at scale to support the global response to Covid-19.”

The UCL-Ventura device, which has reduced oxygen consumption by up to 70 per cent compared to the original version, received regulatory approval last week and underwent patient evaluations at University College Hospital and sister hospitals in the London area.

Project Pitlane involves all seven of the UK based teams, Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault, Racing Point, Haas and Williams, who are working with the government to manufacture medical equipment.

the F1 teams, whose capability to develop and produce concepts at a rapid development rate is a key aspect of the sport, say they are ready to meet the national challenge.


Lewis Hamilton is a six-time champion, but to one person he is just a brother. Nic describes himself as his “biggest fan” but while the story Hamilton’s is one of rags to riches it also has a sub-plot of Nic’s struggles as a black disabled racing driver and just doing that is an achievement…

The lives of the Hamilton brothers

Nicolas Hamilton has explained how his half-brother Lewis helped him when he was struggling at school due to bullying, admitting he is the F1 champion’s “biggest fan” because of his actions on and off the track.

The twenty-eight-year-old has spoken to Natalie Pinkham’s about his cerebral palsy his remarkable career as a racing driver and his brother Lewis.

The twenty-eight year old now racing in the British Touring Car Championship despite being told he would likely never walk because of his condition. He told Pinkham how he turned to brother Lewis, who is seven years his elder and was just about to become an F1 star, for advice.

Explaining, “It was actually my brother that I went to when I first started struggling. I said, ‘Lewis, what do I do? I’ve got these kids now just taking the mick out of me being in a wheelchair’.”

“His answer was that I just need to continue to be myself. He said, ‘if people are laughing at this wheelchair that you’re in, then why don’t we make it cool and do some cool things in it?’” Nic says that Lewis taught him how to do wheelies in this his wheelchair.

He says that Lewis taught him how to do wheelies and stuff in the wheelchair, almost became like a Tony Hawk skateboarder his wheelchair.

As children, Nic and Lewis lived in the same house growing up and share the same father, Anthony. He and his parents were “conscious decision not to let his condition define him,” saying they wanted to let him fight his own battles.

Lewis has regularly claimed that his younger brother, who joins him at as many races as possible, is an inspiration to him. And the feeling is definitely mutual. Saying “I could talk about him forever because my life has revolved around him – but not through hateful eyes, just pure pride. I’m his biggest fan.”

The story of the Hamilton’s is one of poverty to multimillionaire, Lewis has become one of the most influential sporting athletes in the world, means so much to Nic.

Hamilton says “Now it’s ‘I want to be the next Lewis Hamilton’. You see helmets of Lewis. And now different colours of creeds are being involved in motorsport, and I think that’s down to Lewis’ impact on the sport.”


Lando Norris should now be three races into his second season, but despite being a young twenty-year-old he has gained the respect of the fans. So how does that feel working with his team, and how has he become an ambassador for eSports in a month

Norris feels more respected by McLaren

Lando Norris feels he has gained the “respect” following his first season in Formula One, and that has led to McLaren listening to and relying more on his feedback.

The Englishman finished eleventh in his debut season, following his rapid rise through the junior series, and with a team-mate, Carlos Sainz Jr took McLaren to fourth place in the standings, which was its best result since 2012.

The twenty-year-old has become a prominent figure in recent weeks through his eSports, as online racing has had a surge in interest with real-world racing suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. He has done a mixture of F1 eSports for McLaren, the Not the GP series and Rfactor.

Asked by Autosport, if he felt more comfortable being a figurehead in F1 and within McLaren, Norris told Autosport: “I guess a little bit, but I’m still much better at driving than anything else. It at the same time, just because I’ve done it for a year, people gain a bit of respect and therefore listen to you at the same time a bit more.”

“I mean, I didn’t know if I’m classed as a veteran, but I feel more confident within myself and I think at the same time just because you’re in year two, and with McLaren as well, then you are kind of seen as a bit more of a professional in some ways, not someone who was just there for one year, and you gain a bit of respect.”

He says that people listening to him makes him the spokesman and they take action from what you say. Norris also says that in his second season in F1 you can lead the engineers and aerodynamicists and if they want to develop the car in a certain way, you know there are consequences.

Norris said he felt “in a much better place coming into my year two, with knowing things I needed to work on”, which helped his initial preparations for the delayed 2020 season.

Adding, “That just allowed me to have a better strategy, a better focus on pre-season testing, knowing those areas that I needed to work on, and that made it much easier in terms of setting our goals, what things we wanted to achieve, and so on.”

Norris says he felt more confident with what he was doing, which put him in a better place for testing and the Australia weekend, which was cancelled. He aims to continue that once the season begins.


Sir Stirling Moss is regarded as a legend of F1, only retiring from racing in his eighties. His career was at a time when Grand Prix racing was deadly, but despite Moss’s carer being cut short, he remained active in the sport for six decades…

Remembering Sir Stirling Moss

The former Mercedes driver Sir Stirling Moss has died aged ninety in the early hours of Easter Sunday. The Englishman won 212 Grand Prix and many other races and is regarded as ‘the greatest driver to never to win the world championship’.

His world championship results saw him win sixteen races in ten years from sixty-six races, he was also the first British driver to win a home Grand Prix in 1955 at Aintree.

Moss famously lost out on the F1 title in 1958 to Mike Hawthorn after vouching for his rival and preventing him being disqualified when he was accused of reversing on track at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Mercedes where he tasted victory, he proved himself as a great allrounder winning the Mille Miglia 1,000 mile race. His career saw him win the 1,000km Nürburgring the 1959 Isle of Man TT for Aston Martin. He was also part of the famous Mercedes 1-2-3-4 at the 1955 British Grand Prix.

His refusal to drive anything other than British cars after 1957, arguable cost him the world championship. He lost the 1958 championship to fellow Brit Mike Hawthorn.

After that, he played the understudy both at Lotus and Cooper. Famous wins were the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix, the first win for a rear-engine car at the 1958 Argentine Grand Prix.

His Grand Prix career came to an end on Easter Monday the following season when an unexplained crash left Moss in a coma and, after many months in recovery.

He also competed in historic events and, even after hanging up his helmet for good at Le Mans in 2011, was a regular at meetings such as the Goodwood Revival

In a sixty-five-year career Moss race just about everything, before formally retiring from racing aged eighty-one in 2011. He continued to appear in public until 2018 when health problems forced him to retire from public life.

His wife Lady Moss confirmed the news and said he died peacefully at his London home. Saying “It was one lap too many. He just closed his eyes.”


You can read a full version of that report here. The events of the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix will be one which will be remembered for the accident which killed Jules Bianchi. Bianchi was tipped for great things, but why does he believe he would be having the same success?

Bianchi would have the same success as Leclerc

Daniel Ricciardo believes Charles Leclerc is currently achieving the success Jules Bianchi would have enjoyed at Ferrari, naming the late Frenchman as one of his most underrated rivals.

Bianchi had looked to land the Ferrari seat from its driver academy and his impressive run with Marussia. He scored the teams only points at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix, finishing ninth in what is widely regarded as one of the great underdog displays in recent F1 history.

However, at that years Japanese Grand Prix the Frenchman crashed into a tractor during a typhoon causing severe head injuries. He died nine months later as a result of the injuries at the age of 25.

In a post on Twitter entitled ‘Dan’s Diary’, current Renault F1 driver Ricciardo picked his five most underrated opponents from his time on the grid, naming Bianchi as one of them.

Ricciardo said, “It wasn’t like Jules was underrated, but we never got to see him in a top car, so maybe people didn’t appreciate how good he was going to be.”

“You think of his drive-in that Marussia in Monaco in 2014, the team’s first points. Monaco is like Macau in that there’s no way to fluke a result there. It was absolutely on merit.”

Ricciardo believes the success that Leclerc is currently enjoying, and that breakthrough 2019 season would have also been able to have been achieved by Bianchi.

He wrote, “It’s another part of what makes his story so sad, because [Bianchi] would have been in a top team and a race winner by now for sure.”

“In some ways, I feel Charles is doing now what Jules would have been doing. It’s like Charles is the delayed version of what Jules would have done with the success he’s having.” Ricciardo first met Bianchi in junior categories but soon realised that the Bianchi was apart from other drivers.

Adding “As a junior through karting, Jules was the guy. We met training at Formula Medicine in Viareggio in Italy and everyone, even at that age when we were all 17, everyone treated him like he was an F1 driver already.”

Other underrated drivers he named were Marcus Ericsson, Robert Merhi, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Jenson Button


That’s all from this edition of Reporters, goodbye


Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.