NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren Honda and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP talk in the Drivers Press Conference during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 7, 2016 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

Track testing cancelled for safety reasons after team held up at gunpoint


The tire manyfacturer Pirelli and LcLaren racing have decided to cancel testing after Mercedes team members were held up at gunpoint in Brazil.

In a statement reported by AutoSport, Pirelli said, "Following a robbery attempt ...  after a weekend where similar episodes occurred with other teams  ... it has been decided to cancel the tire test .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."

After the first practice at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo on Friday night, the minibus transporting the team from the track was targeted by three armed criminals, who robbed the Mercedes team, according to USA Today.

Mercedes quickly released this statement regarding the robbery in Brazil: "Valuables were stolen but everybody is safe and uninjured which is the main thing."


World champion driver Lewis Hamilton revealed in a Tweet that gunshots were fired and at least one member of the team had a gun held to their head. The British driver then called on Formula One to do more to protect its teams when they visit the South American country.

While Hamilton wasn't present during the robbery, another prominent racing figure was also targeted in a completely different attack. Matteo Bonciani, who is the spokesperson for the FIA, said the armor-plated car he was riding in was approached by three armed men at a traffic light, but those assailants fled after they failed to break the car's reinforced windows after numerous attempts.

"They started crashing the windows with the guns, and my first thought was -- 'Is the armor good enough?'" Bonciani said. "At the beginning I thought they were just kids, but the guns freak you out."

Hamilton has been the most outspoken about the incident, and also said, "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.