Matthew James, 14, will have his bionic arm sponsored by Mercedes GP

How’s this for an incredible story!

A young F1 fan who asked Mercedes GP boss Ross Brawn to help him get a new bionic hand has had his wish granted by the Brackley-based team.

Fourteen-year-old Matthew James, who was born without his left hand, wrote to the outfit and asked for $55,000 to help fund a top-of-the-range artificial limb. The catch? He would allow the team to put the Mercedes logo on his bespoke arm!

Incredibly, Mercedes GP agreed to the “intelligent and moving” proposal, but instead of parting with the funds themselves, they helped Matthew raise the money via sponsor and fan donations.

After inviting Matthew to tour the team’s factory and meet no less than Michael Schumacher, they teamed up with prosthetics specialist company Touch Bionics to build a custom-designed i-LIMB Pulse: a hi-tech hand strong enough to carry a 90kg load as well as having enough fine-motor control for Matthew to grip a pen, tie up his shoelaces and catch a ball.

“’It is really amazing technology and I am so grateful to Touch Bionics and Mercedes,” Matthew told reporters.

Despite his disability, Matthew is a well-practiced brown belt in karate at the prestigious Reading School (the same school attended by Brawn during his childhood), and one day has ambitions of becoming a Formula 1 engineer.

“Matthew’s letter to the team was very touching,” Brawn added. “’It was of particular personal significance given my close relationship to Reading School.

“Meeting Matthew, and hearing first-hand how the new device would improve his quality of life, was a pleasure and I am delighted that our initial contact has now led to such a positive conclusion.”

[Image via ESPN F1]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.