Ex-McLaren Formula 1 chief Ron Dennis has announced a new initiative to help support frontline health workers in the UK during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Dennis, who was at the helm of McLaren from 1981 until 2017, is spearheading the new initiative called SalutetheNHS.org that will provide high-quality meals to NHS workers for the next three months.

The meals will be made available free of charge to ICU teams, anaesthetic teams and A&E staff during their shifts when they are currently unable to leave their clinical areas under current protocol to combat COVID-19.

The Dennis family has donated £1 million to the initiative, which also has support from companies including Tesco, Absolute Taste and Yodel.

“This is a time when all of us, individuals and businesses alike, need to stand up and be counted in the effort to combat COVID-19. We’re all in this together,” Dennis said.

“I am delighted to be leading this initiative to help ensure that vital NHS workers have nutritious meals while they work every hour in this fight. It means they have one less thing to worry about.

“We have called this SalutetheNHS.org because I think we are all in awe of the work they are doing to save lives.

“This is a huge logistical effort to build a major, professional food delivery operation almost from scratch in a week.

“I have been so impressed by the fantastic things we have achieved together so far, but we need support from others, as well as ongoing donations to keep this whole operation going.”

Tesco CEO Dave Lewis added: “Ensuring families have access to the shopping essentials they need, safely, has been our priority over the last few weeks, and so we’re pleased to now be able to help front line NHS workers by donating food and ingredients to provide them with one million meals through SalutetheNHS.org.

“COVID-19 has reminded the country of the critical role of essential workers, and on behalf of Tesco colleagues, we would like to sincerely thank NHS staff for all they are doing.”

SalutetheNHS.org will begin to deliver free meals from April 6 at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford before expanding the scheme to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London one week later. This will then be followed by a programme that rolls out the scheme to government-targeted locations across the country.