McLaren’s tyre test with Pirelli at Interlagos has been cancelled due to ongoing security concerns and an attempted robbery of Pirelli staff following the Brazilian GP.
British youngster Lando Norris was due to drive for McLaren at the test, scheduled to start on Tuesday.
But the event has now been scrapped following a series of security breaches around the Sao Paulo circuit.
‘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 confirmed 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.’
A Mercedes team minibus was robbed at gunpoint on Friday night when it left the circuit. Although nobody was harmed during the attack, a gun was pressed to the head of one team member as valuables were stolen.
Vehicles carrying personnel from Sauber, Williams and FIA were also targeted, and a car carrying Pirelli staff was also attacked on Sunday night following the race.
Extra security was brought in for race day but the cancellation of Tuesday’s test, along with the spate of attacks over the weekend, is bound to raise fresh questions about the future of the Interlagos event.
“We are extremely disappointed with the events of the last week,” an F1 spokesperson told Sky Sports News. “In fact, disappointed is not even a strong enough word.”
Security increased for Brazilian GP
Mercedes team bus robbed at gunpoint
Hamilton demands extra security for teams
Following the attack on the Mercedes bus, world champion Lewis Hamilton called for more security measures to be taken to protect F1 staff.
“I was horrified to hear what had happened,” Hamilton said.
“I’m very close with all the guys that got pulled aside and you can’t imagine what they were feeling or going through at the time.
“After that, the most frustrating thing is 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.
“I’m sure that’s an issue that the government here are fighting, but maybe on this weekend there are protocols that are put in place that help.
“It should be for the whole paddock. That’s partly Formula 1’s responsibility but generally people at the top need to take action to keep everyone safe. It’s not good just the bosses having security and myself having security, everyone needs to be looked after.”