Armed rob­bery threats cause tests to be called off

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SAO PAULO: McLaren and Pirelli have can­celled yes­ter­day’s and today’s tests sched­ule in the wake of a se­ries of at­tempted armed rob­beries against For­mula One teams at Sao Paulo this week­end.

Team mem­bers of Mercedes, Wil­liams and Sauber were ei­ther robbed at gun­point or had close es­capes over the Grand Prix week­end.

McLaren said they felt the risk to staff was not worth run­ning the test­ing af­ter Mercedes team mem­bers had been left shaken af­ter hav­ing guns held to their heads.

“We have jointly de­cided with Pirelli to can­cel this week’s tyre test at In­ter­la­gos,” McLaren said on Twit­ter.

“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.”

World cham­pion Lewis Hamil­ton on Satur­day called on gov­ern­ing body the FIA to do more.

“Some of my team were held up at gun point last night leav­ing the cir­cuit here in Brazil. Gun shots fired, gun held at one’s head. This is so up­set­ting to hear,” the Bri­ton wrote on Twit­ter.

“This hap­pens ev­ery sin­gle year here. F1 and the teams need to do more, there’s no ex­cuse!”

Hamil­ton’s Mercedes team hinted they might re­view their In­ter­la­gos po­si­tion.

“We train our per­son­nel in case in­ci­dents like this oc­cur. But as last night has shown, there is even more we can do - as a team and as a sport,” Mercedes said.

Mem­bers of the Wil­liams team and of­fi­cials of the FIA were also tar­geted, Bri­tish me­dia re­ported on Satur­day.

The fu­ture of the In­ter­la­gos race af­ter 2020 is un­der greater scru­tiny than ever with the cir­cuit on sale and the sport’s only Brazil­ian driver Felipe Massa re­tir­ing at the end of the sea­son.

For­mer world cham­pion Jen­son But­ton was the vic­tim of an at­tempted armed rob­bery in 2010 and hold-ups are a known risk for teams in Sao Paulo, with driv­ers trav­el­ling to and from their ho­tels with po­lice es­corts and in cars with bul­let­proof pro­tec­tion. AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.