The McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team have cancelled their Pirelli tyre test at Interlagos, due to security concerns, bringing the future of Interlagos as a Formula 1 host venue into question once again.
The test, which was set to take place on Tuesday with newly announced reserve driver Lando Norris behind the wheel, has been called off amidst a number of serious security incidents involving Formula 1 personnel occurring across the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix weekend.
We have jointly decided with Pirelli to cancel this week’s tyre test at Interlagos. 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 (@McLarenF1) November 13, 2017
Members of staff from the Sauber F1 Team, Williams Martini Racing, the FIA and Pirelli all experienced frightening attacks on vehicles they were travelling in on Friday night, whilst a Pirelli car is also believed to have been targeted on Sunday night, following the race.
Also on Friday, a Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team minibus was robbed at gunpoint, with a gun said to have been pressed to the head of one team member, as valuables were stolen, and one account also claiming that gunshots were fired.
Following the incident driver Lewis Hamilton called on F1’s owners to bring in extra measures to protect the safety of all Formula 1 staff, not just its star drivers and the top management.
“I was horrified to hear what had happened.
“I’m very close with all the guys that got pulled aside and you can’t imagine what they were feeling or going through at the time.
“After that, the most frustrating thing is 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.
“I’m sure that’s an issue that the government here are fighting, but maybe on this weekend there are protocols that are put in place that help.
“It should be for the whole paddock. That’s partly Formula 1’s responsibility but generally people at the top need to take action to keep everyone safe.
“It’s not good just the bosses having security and myself having security, everyone needs to be looked after.”
Extra security was brought in across the weekend to try to avoid such incidents taking place, however this was still not enough to halt the criminals of Brazil.
This is not the first time such terrifying incidents have occurred at a Brazil Grand Prix race weekend, and with the attacks becoming more commonplace year on year, it is questionable as to whether Interlagos can still ensure the safety of those that attend, leaving its future on the F1 calendar hanging precariously in the balance.