Brazil Grand Prix: Pirelli & McLaren cancel tyre testing after robberies

Formula 1

McLaren said “the safety of our people has always been our top priority”

McLaren and Pirelli cancelled tyre testing amid security concerns following another armed robbery attempt near Sao Paulo’s Formula 1 circuit.

On Sunday, a Pirelli van was the target of “a robbery attempt” which its security team “neutralised”, F1’s tyre supplier said.

Eight members of Mercedes’ team were robbed at gunpoint after leaving the Interlagos circuit on Friday.

The testing was due to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Staff from Sauber were also targeted as they left the circuit on Saturday, while earlier in the week a car containing FIA officials was approached by masked gunmen.

Sebastian Vettel won Sunday’s Brazilian GP, with world champion Lewis Hamilton fourth.

A Pirelli statement read: “After a weekend where similar episodes occurred with other teams, it has been decided to cancel the tyre test planned on the Brazilian circuit with Team McLaren.

“The decision, shared with McLaren, the 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.”

McLaren said in a statement: “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.”

McLaren and Pirelli were scheduled to stay on for the remainder of the week.

British teenager Lando Norris, recently promoted to McLaren’s test and reserve driver for 2018, and Belgian’s Stoffel Vandoorne had flown to Sao Paulo for testing.

‘We have a year to get it sorted’

Describing events of the past week, an F1 spokesperson said: “Disappointed is not a strong enough word.

“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, and they were liaising with the local authorities. We are actively involved, but we cannot be experts in every city we go to.

“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.”

Abu Dhabi hosts the final Grand Prix of the year on 26 November.

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