Formula 1 Tyre testing that was scheduled for this week at Interlagos has been cancelled by Pirelli over rising fears of the safety of the crew at the Brazilian track.
The tyre maker had planned a two-day test to complete the evaluation work on the next season’s tyres. McLaren drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Lando Norris were expected to test on Tuesday and Wednesday.
But after the Pirelli staff was accosted by a criminal gang with guns on Sunday night, the Italian company called off the testing.
In a statement, Pirelli said: “Following a robbery attempt, neutralized by Pirelli security, on a Pirelli van at the Interlagos circuit last Sunday – after a weekend where similar episodes occurred with other teams – it has been decided to cancel the tyre test planned on Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 on the Brazilian circuit with McLaren,” Pirelli said in a statement.
“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.”
McLaren added: “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.”
This is not the first robbery attempt at Interlagos this weekend. On Friday, a bus carrying Mercedes, Williams and Sauber teams was stopped at gunpoint and some equipment was stolen. After this attack, the local officials promised additional security cover. But that has not deterred the robbers as more such incidents were reported over the weekend.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has been very vocal in expressing his anger at the incident.
“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 wasn’t there for these guys.
“It’s no good just the bosses having security and myself having security. People need to be looked after.” He added.