Pirelli cancels Interlagos test due to security fears
Pirelli and McLaren have called off their Interlagos test due to a spate of robberies around the Brazilian Grand Prix circuit.
The two-day test, to finish Pirelli’s evaluation of its 2018 Formula 1 tyres, had been set down for Tuesday and Wednesday (local time) with driving duties to be filled by Stoffel Vandoorne and Lando Norris.
However, after Pirelli staff were caught up in an attempted robbery on Sunday, the tyre manufacturer has cancelled the test.
“Following a robbery attempt, neutralised 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.”
A McLaren statement added, “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.”
Members of the Mercedes, Williams and Sauber teams were involved in another two separate attacks outside the circuit during the grand prix weekend.
Although there were no injuries in the incidents, questions have been raised about security around Interlagos given organisers had promised additional police around the circuit following the first attack.
World champion Lewis Hamilton had been one of the most vocal drivers in expressing dismay at the situation.
“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.
“It’s no good just the bosses having security and myself having security. People need to be looked after.”
The cancellation of the test should mean Formula 3 European champion Norris is able to make it to the Macau Grand Prix on time.
He had expected to miss opening practice for the F3 showpiece while travelling from the McLaren test.