Authors: Rio Sports
A Formula One test involving McLaren at Interlagos has been cancelled after security incidents at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Eight members of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team were robbed at gunpoint after leaving the circuit on Friday night. Staff from F1’s tyre supplier, Pirelli, were also targeted on Sunday night. The crew were unharmed but it was the last in a series of alarming incidents over the weekend, despite promises over security.
McLaren and Pirelli had intended to stay in São Paulo for the remainder of the week. The British driver Lando Norris, who turned 18 on Monday, had flown to Brazil to take part in the two-day tyre test alongside the Belgian driver Stoffel Vandoorne. That has now been scrapped after staff expressed their frustrations and unease over the lack of security. Staff from the McLaren’s staff were said to be relieved the test had been cancelled.
Earlier last week, a car containing officials from motor sport’s world governing body the FIA was approached by masked gunmen, while members of the Williams team witnessed the attack. Staff from Sauber were also held up as they left the circuit on Saturday. The incidents will raise question marks over the future of a race that has been a permanent fixture on the calendar since 1990.
“We are extremely disappointed with the events of last week,” said a Formula One spokesperson.
“But is not our call, and it is not our responsibility. Security within the circuit is up to the promoter and they have to liaise with the local authorities. We have our own security team that travels with us. We are actively involved, but we cannot be experts in every city we go to.
“We don’t want these things to happen. We have a year between now and the next race to get it sorted, and we would be extremely disappointed if things have not been looked at. I am sure the local authorities are taking it seriously. People leaving the circuit are exposed and it is obvious they are at a disadvantage and that is something that needs to be addressed.”
Hamilton called on the FIA to take action. “I have been in F1 for 10 years and every year something has happened to someone in the paddock,” the world champion said. “Things should be in place to keep everyone safe and it’s for the people at the top to take action. It’s no good just the bosses or myself having security. Everyone else needs to be looked after.”
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