Felipe Massa has spoken of his sadness regarding the attacks on Formula 1 personnel that have marred this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
Crew members of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, Williams Martini Racing, Sauber F1 Team and the FIA have been at the heart of attacks by gun-wielding criminals when leaving Sao Paulo’s Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.
Although nobody has been harmed in the attacks, Grand Prix organisers have pledged ‘heavy’ police presence for race day. It’s not the first year that gun attacks have affected a Grand Prix weekend in Sao Paulo and this year in particular has increased the pressure on race organisers to improve the situation for future events in Brazil.
Home town hero Massa has said he is especially upset by what has happened this weekend, and when asked whether he was ashamed by the attacks, he said everyone was.
“Undoubtedly, I think we all feel like this,” said Massa to Motorsport.com. “We always expect the best for our country.
“A safe country that we can educate our children, good hospitals and when we hear problems like this, it is very sad. Because you are Brazilian, you are feeling part of the problem.
“So it is a great sadness, not only for people who came and were there, but also for those who hear this and are Brazilian. In the future we can change this.”
The first attack this weekend was on some members of Lewis Hamilton‘s team and the four-time world champion has been particularly vocal in expressing his disappointment that these sort of attacks are able to happen.
“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.
“So I hope that moving forwards, and I think moving forwards, there will be those. And I think it should be for the whole paddock. That’s partly F1’s responsibility, but generally the people at the top need to take action to keep everyone safe.
“It’s no good just the bosses having security and myself having security. People need to be looked after.”
Asked if he was concerned by a lack of response from F1 chiefs about the incidents, Hamilton said: “I wasn’t expecting a response from them.
“I hope there will be meetings held and discussions about the future visits here, so that everyone here in the paddock including you guys are better protected when you come here.
“I hope the future is bright for Sao Paulo, for Brazil, because it’s an awesome place.”