Formula 1 teams will employ police escorts at this week's Brazilian Grand Prix, according to the PA. Staff from Mercedes F1 and Williams F1 -- "both caught up in the multiple security incidents that overshadowed" last year's São Paulo race -- as well as McLaren F1, are among those that are "set to rely on the support of local law enforcers" traveling to and from the Interlagos circuit. As well as using police protection, some of the teams will hire specialized drivers for the week "rather than regular staff driving as is the protocol for much of the season." Red Bull F1 will also "liaise with a security contact" in São Paulo upon its arrival and departure at the circuit throughout the race weekend. F1's teams, the majority of which are based in the U.K., "have increased their own security" after Mercedes, Williams, tire supplier Pirelli and FIA "were all targeted by gun-wielding gangs last year." A meeting attended by F1 officials, São Paulo authorities and FIA VP José Abed was staged in Brazil in September to "identify the areas and operational hours at biggest risk." In response, the São Paulo State of Military Police committed to providing the teams with what one F1 source described as "strict" and "largely unprecedented" surveillance of the stretch of road that runs to and from the circuit and is "overlooked by nearby favelas" (PA, 11/7).
Events and Attractions
Tiger Woods turned down his "biggest ever potential overseas pay cheque" which was reportedly on offer to play in the European Tour's inaugural event in Saudi Arabia next year, amid the int'l "outcry" over the recent murder of a journalist, according to James Corrigan of the London TELEGRAPH. In the past, Woods has traveled to countries such as China and the UAE. Yet it is understood he deemed Saudi Arabia "to be an excursion too far" -- even for at least £2.5M ($3.3M), an amount that "apparently dwarfs anything he has received before for an official overseas tournament." Sources said that he was first approached about the event after his "dramatic competitive resurrection at the Open" and then at the PGA Championship, where he finished second. It is not known if Woods' refusal was "because of the political situation or if it is because he has decided to limit long-haul travel after his many back complaints." However, there "can be no doubting the headlines it would have attracted if he had agreed," and he and his advisers "can be seen as being wise -- unwitting or otherwise -- for sidestepping the inevitable backlash" (TELEGRAPH, 11/7).