Pirelli Tire Team Latest To Be Targeted By Robbers At Brazilian GP
The Brazilian Grand Prix is "set to fall under further scrutiny on the issue of security" after a fifth robbery attempt was made against Formula 1 personnel over the weekend in São Paulo, according to Samuel Lovett of the London INDEPENDENT. Less than 48 hours after members of the Mercedes team were robbed of their possessions at gunpoint, a car driven by Pirelli tire fitters "was targeted by thieves late on Sunday." Attempts were made by the assailants to stop the vehicle in question but the tire company's staff was "able to escape unharmed." Team members from Mercedes, Williams and Sauber were "all subject to attacks throughout the course of the event," while officials from FIA were also approached by armed robbers (INDEPENDENT, 11/13).
NO TESTS: In London, Dan Ripley reported McLaren and Pirelli "axed" a planned tire test at Interlagos following attempted robberies. McLaren was due to test for Pirelli's '18 tires on Tuesday and Wednesday at the São Paulo circuit, where British teenager Lando Norris and Stoffel Vandoorne "were due to run for the team," but security breaches around the venue have led to the running being canceled. A McLaren statement said, "We have jointly decided with Pirelli to cancel this week’s tyre test at Interlagos. The safety of our people has always been our top priority, and, given recent events, we felt that it was an unnecessary risk to proceed." Pirelli added, "Following a robbery attempt, neutralised by Pirelli security, on a Pirelli van at the Interlagos circuit last Sunday -- after a weekend where similar episodes occurred with other teams -- it has been decided to cancel the tyre test planned on Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 on the Brazilian circuit with Team McLaren." Despite promised "revamped security," including police convoys for race teams, there were "multiple security issues throughout the weekend" (DAILY MAIL, 11/13).
'NOT OUR RESPONSIBILITY': In London, Bec Clancy reported an F1 spokesperson said that it was "not their responsibility to deal with security, which is a matter for the track." The spokesperson added, "We are just the commercial rights holder. We sell those rights to the local promoter and it is their responsibility to organize security inside the track. I don't think it's up to us to take responsibility, but what we are emphasizing is that we are working closely with the promoter and urging them to move in certain directions. It really is something the promoter should be looking at, and looking at more closely" (LONDON TIMES, 11/13).