Pirelli boss Mario Isola on Italian COVID-19 frontline

Pirelli’s boss of Formula 1 operations, Mario Isola, is out on the frontline aiding in the battle against the coronavirus outbreak in Northern Italy – the epicentre of the pandemic.

Isola has stepped up his hours as a volunteer ambulance driver and paramedic. A position he has been helping with now for three decades.

Pirelli are based in Milan, Lombardy where the coronavirus outbreak has heavily impacted the northern region of Italy. Alone, Lombardy has seen over 7,500 of its citizens lose their lives to the outbreak.

In 2004, Isola set up his own ambulance driver training programme and has already shown his skill as a racing driver in his youth. His academy has seen over 7,000 volunteers and 150 instructors pass through its ranks and go into service since it’s foundation.

In this time of crisis, there are currently 150 volunteers working alongside Mario working within the community delivering supplies and piloting ambulances.

As a brand, Pirelli have contributed in excess of €1-million while also organising the collection and distribution of vital medical equipment including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including masks and aprons as well as ventilators to help treat patients battling with the illness.

On the importance of his role and his work with the paramedics, Isola replied:

“I have spoken to many of my colleagues, we are a community and we have a chat. We share what happens. What they say is the worst thing is that, while you normally find yourself in a very difficult situation, now the biggest impact on you is on the psychological side.
The hardest part of the job now is that you cannot carry any relatives of the patient in the ambulance to hospital. Usually, you take anybody from the family who is available to come because it is important to have that support for them.
But now, to avoid contact with any patient, it is forbidden to take anyone other than the ambulance team. Sometimes you have someone in a serious condition and we have to tell the relatives ‘sorry, you cannot come with us’.
They realise that could be the last time they see their relatives alive and it is really hard on our people. We have to explain to them that we have to follow the procedures but it is really tough.”

Mario Isola is also championing a local charity, Croceviola , who are fundraising to support both those suffering from COVID-19 but also those who find themselves vulnerable in such uncertain times.