Armed guards for F1 finale in Brazil
Armed security men will travel with F1 drivers in Brazil this week after the attempted hijacking of Jenson Button’s car near the circuit last year.
|Button was almost kidnapped last year|
Button returns to Sao Paulo for the Brazilian Grand Prix 12 months after the incident which shocked the sport.
He was leaving Interlagos after qualifying, sitting in the front seat of an armor-plated Mercedes with his father John, manager Richard Goddard and trainer Mike Collier, when they came under attack.
They were being chauffeured by a specially trained policeman, Daniel Toni, who smashed his way out of the traffic. They escaped uninjured.
Button said later: “This kind of thing happens too often. There were two guys with a hand gun and one with what looked like a machine gun. It was a pretty scary situation.”
On race day Button and McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton had received increased security, though Button said: “It is not a nice feeling having to come to work in a bullet-proof car with two police cars.”
McLaren have always taken precautions for staff but this week there will be much tighter measures for him and Hamilton for the five-mile trip between their luxury hotel and the track which passes through some poor areas.
Over the years there have been many incidents and hold-ups of F1 staff who often travel out of team gear to be inconspicuous.
The Button attack was the first on a driver but he insists that he has no fears.
He said: “None at all. Something was going to happen, it had happened so many times before with mechanics and engineers. In the end it was always going to happen to a driver.”
Extra police will patrol the road near the circuit where many poverty-stricken families still live in squalor, but F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone scorns the idea of security scares affecting the future of the race.
“I travel that road every day when I am there and they are all very nice people who wave at me,” said Ecclestone.
“There are people all over the world who want to get things for nothing. We’re not going to cancel a great race for a few people who cause trouble.” Express.co.uk