Formula E driver Alexander Sims has delivered vital medical supplies to one of the region’s hospitals after spearheading a British motorsport industry campaign.
A national shortage of personal protective equipment among front line medical staff treating coronavirus patients led Sims to appeal to Formula 1, Formula E and GT teams to donate the urgently needed supplies.
University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust staff have thanked the BMW Andretti Motorsport star for delivering stocks of gloves, masks and overalls earlier this month.
Winner of last year’s Ad Diriyah ePrix, Sims embarked on the idea to collect PPE stock from the motorsport community after talking with his race engineer Andrea Ackroyd, whose sister works in the NHS.
“We had some good replies from F1 teams, Formula E teams, GT teams,” said Sims. “And even just some individual people, mechanics and enthusiasts involved in motorsport and the more grassroots level of the sport; historics’ and stuff like that.”
He welcomed the huge generosity from the sport at a time like this to donate their stock for the greater good to help the NHS in the middle of this pandemic.
“We got the most gloves; we got almost 14,000 gloves, but then to be fair that is something that more or less every team would have, so it makes sense.
“Then we got a couple of thousand masks and a couple of hundred coverall suits, called Tyvek suits that have all the arms and legs covered which just leaves the face exposed, so if you’ve got those, you are pretty well protected. We got a lot of detergent wipes and cleaning things, that’s the main items I would say.”
A spokesman for UHCW NHS Trust said: “We are incredibly grateful for the offers and donations of Personal Protective Equipment we have received from individuals and industries
“Donations such as this help to strengthen our ability to react to the demands we are currently facing, helping enable us to continue to provide the best possible care for our patients and protect staff during this difficult time.
“As a Trust we are closely following national PPE guidance and have good levels of equipment across the trust with PPE shortages not affecting the way we work clinically.”
Although the donated stock will soon by depleted, Sims said the appeal’s success showed how the motorsport community is doing what it can in the midst of the crisis.
“Seeing the response from the motorsport community, I would certainly say that the big players have helped, with the making of ventilators and the repurpose and adaptability. I would say that it is absolutely the correct response from the industry.
“It has got so many top level engineers involved that it would be such a waste to have people go on furlough and sit in their back garden, enjoying their time off. It is lovely to see people just doing some amazing things to help so many.”
The donations to the Trust follow the motor industry’s recent Project Pitlane which has involved the manufacture of life-saving ventilators.
And the work of Mercedes F1 with UCLH to develop a lifesaving breathing device now being produced at the rate of 1000 devices a day at the company’s Brixworth factory in Northamptonshire.