Not the best way to welcome tourists.
The organizers for the Brazil Grand Prix are certainly not happy about this. In fact, they must be quite embarrassed. According to Reuters, some members of current Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton team were robbed at gunpoint when they left the circuit following a practice session last Friday. In fact, shots were fired. One team member even had a gun held to his head. A Mercedes team spokesman confirmed the incident and said that while some valuables were stolen, no one was hurt.
Even some FIA staff were threatened by hooded gunman trying to smash their car windows. Lewis Hamilton told reporters that he was “horrified to hear what had happened. The frustrating thing is I have been in Formula One for 10 years and every year that has happened to someone in the paddock. It’s for the people at the top to take action to keep everyone safe. It’s no good just the bosses or myself having security, everyone needs to be looked after.” Brazil is widely known to have serious violent crime problems, but this isn’t the first time an F1 crew has been robbed. Back in 2010, Jenson Button was also a victim of an attempted robbery involving gunmen. Fortunately for him, a police driver managed to escape the gunmen once he spotted them.
Sao Paulo, Brazil and around the Interlagos circuit has become a common area for holdups, and F1 teams are regularly driven to their hotels with police escorts in bulletproof cars as cautionary measures. Unfortunately, determined criminals still manage to cause trouble.