All is well for Mercedes in Formula 1. While there are still two Grand Prix to be played, the German team is assured of the title among manufacturers as its driver Lewis Hamilton among drivers. However, Friday was eventful for the company after the first two free practice sessions of the Brazilian GP. In the evening, a minibus carrying Mercedes personnel was robbed at gun point while leaving the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo.
“Some of my team were held up at gun point last night leaving the circuit here in Brazil. Gun shots fired, gun held at ones head,” tweeted Lewis Hamilton. “This is so upsetting to hear. Please say a prayer for my guys who are here as professionals today even if shaken,” said a spokesman for Mercedes.
Members the Williams team and the International Automobile Federation have also narrowly escaped robberies, BBC journalist Andrew Benson added on Twitter.
“It happens every year here. Formula 1 and the teams have to do more, there’s no excuse! “Lewis Hamilton rebelled. In Brazil, the latest event dates back to 2010, when British driver Jenson Button was the victim of an attempted armed robbery.
Crime is a recurring problem for GPs in Latin America. Last year already, in Mexico, a member of Mercedes had been robbed in similar circumstances.
This incident comes as the future of the Brazilian race is uncertain, with the Interlagos circuit on sale. The city said Friday that it is in negotiations with three potential buyers and has made the extension of the race to 2020 one of the conditions of the sale. Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, whose wife is Brazilian and owns several properties in the country, said he was interested. In addition, for the first year since 1970, no Brazilian will be present on the starting grid in 2018, after the retirement of Felipe Massa, 36 years old.