Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli and McLaren have decided to cancel their planned Interlagos test due to safety concerns1 at the Brazilian Grand Prix venue. The two-day test, aimed at completing Pirelli’s evaluation work on its 2018 tyres, was scheduled to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday with McLaren drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Lando Norris. But following a robbery attempt 2on Sunday targeting Pirelli staff, the tyre manufacturer announced on Monday that the test has been called off.
“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 McLaren,” Pirelli said in a statement. “The decision, shared with McLaren, FIA and Formula 1, was made in the interest of the safety of the personnel, both McLaren’s and our own, who would have participated in the test.”
A McLaren statement added: “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.” Members of the Mercedes, Williams and Sauber teams were involved in another two separate attacks3 outside the circuit during the grand prix weekend. Although there were no injuries in the incidents, questions have been raised about security around Interlagos given organisers had promised additional police around the circuit following the first attack.
World champion Lewis Hamilton had been one of the most vocal drivers in expressing dismay at the situation. “The most frustrating thing is that I’ve been in Formula 1 for 10 years and every single year that has happened to somebody in the paddock, and it continues to happen,” he said. “It’s an issue I’m sure the government here are fighting, but I think maybe on this weekend, there are protocols that should be put in place to help, like for example when we go to Mexico, which weren’t there for these guys.
“It’s no good just the bosses having security and myself having security . People need to be looked after.” The cancellation of the test should mean Formula 3 European champion Norris is able to make it to the Macau Grand Prix on time.
Brazilian Grand Prix organisers have arranged for “heavy police reinforcements” around the Interlagos track following the armed robbery against Mercedes Formula 1 team members on Friday night. A minibus carrying Mercedes personnel was held up at gunpoint1 after leaving the track, as robbers stole valuables . Fortunately no-one was hurt. With members of Williams, and officials from the FIA, also experiencing close calls as armed robbers targeted F1 personnel, the issue of safety became a big talking point on qualifying day. Lewis Hamilton said it was “frustrating” that similar incidents seemed to occur on a regular basis at the Brazilian GP, adding that he felt “the people at the top need to take action to keep everyone safe”. In response to the situation, extra security has been arranged to help protect the public around the Interlagos circuit. A statement issued by the FIA said: “The circuit has informed all of the events stakeholders that the S o Paulo police force has taken additional measures after these regrettable incident “Heavy police reinforcements will be on duty for the remainder of the event.” F1 personnel have also been advised to remove passes and change out of team uniform to prevent being singled out by criminals for attack.
Hamilton, speaking before the extra measures were announced, added: “I hope there is some way we can move forward so that doesn’t happen ever again. “I was horrified to hear what happened – I’m very close with all the guys who got pulled aside. “You can’t imagine what they are feeling or going through at the time.
“It’s no good just the bosses having security and myself having security . It should be for the whole paddock.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said that teams should not have to face such situations, that have now become common around Brazil’s F1 race. “We shouldn’t be needing armed vehicles, bulletproof cars, agents in order to make it safe from the race track to the hotel,” he said. “But then this is the circumstances and maybe our approach in the past was a bit lenient; easy, because Brazil is a cool country.
“But it must have been a really scary moment for the guys. “We all left just about at the same time at 10 o’clock, and being stopped and having a gun pointed at you must be awful. “When we came to the circuit it looked like civil war broke out – so many police officers were on the track .
Let’s see what happens tonight, but it shouldn’t happen.”