Despite concerns, teams confident Brazil GP will be safe circuit next year

 

Despite concerns, teams confident Brazil GP will be safe circuit next year
Mercedes' team engineers push the car in the pit at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo. Mercedes team officials were attacked at gunpoint while travelling in a bus during the recent Brazilian GP.

Abu Dhabi - Mercedes team members were held at gun point and robbed after leaving the Brazilian Grand Prix

By Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Sat 25 Nov 2017, 5:45 PM

Last updated: Sat 25 Nov 2017, 7:51 PM

Yas Marina Circuit has multiple layers of security, which at times is frustrating, especially for officials and fans reaching here from the Brazilian Grand Prix.
"The UAE is a safe country and still you have such high-level of security checks. At the Brazilian GP, it was a free-for-all. It was utter chaos," a top-level official associated with Formula One said.
Consider this: Mercedes team members were held at gun point and robbed after leaving the Brazilian Grand Prix, and Sauber, Pirelli and FIA staff were also targeted on occasions. And all this after police patrolling was ramped up. Casualty: McLaren and Pirelli cancelled last week's tyre tests in Sao Paulo.
However, despite the safety concerns, Formula One teams see Brazil's security issues as everyone's problem, and have unflinching faith that things will improve next year.
McLaren executive director Zak Brown agreed that it was 'unacceptable' spate of events but in same breath assured the team will return to Brazil next year.
"We were obviously disappointed not to test. For 2018, I think we just need better security in the system. I think each team is responsible for its own individuals. We would never put anyone at risk. We're fully prepared to go back to Brazil next year," Brown said.
He added: "I agree. It was unacceptable this year. I think the frequency was greater than in the past but everyone's discussing it. I fully expect the organisers, the city, the FIA, the teams, everyone to sit down and discuss how we can improve the situation. We are going to take more preventative measures, whatever those may be."
Pirelli sporting director Mario Isola too said 2018 will surely be different.
"You have to learn from what happened, not just to accept that. Next year we will be prepared and I'm sure that also the organisers will put additional effort on that."
In the past even top drivers have been in life-threatening situation. In 2010, former champion Jenson Button was on his way to the circuit when 3-5 gun-wielding men approached his car. He had a lucky escape that day.
However, Isola said such incidents can happen in other countries and not only in Brazil.
"We need to put the best effort to ensure that we are protecting our people in the best possible way. Then, if it happens, it happens."
Renault Sport F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul was forthcoming when he said: "It's extremely sad what happened but Brazil is a great country. It's a great group of people with a fantastic culture for Formula One. We don't want to lose them from the calendar, for sure. Obviously this type of event is shedding a very bad light on the country. I'm sure that they will do the necessary in order to avoid that in the future."
Brazil has a long history with motor racing starting before World War II. The onus is on FIA, Formula One and all stakeholders to maintain a safe environment for everyone at Brazilian Grand Prix.
Come December 6, the FIA and Formula 1 will discuss security issues at the World Motor Sport Council. "In the continued spirit of positive collaboration with Formula 1, the Council will then discuss the ways in which a more consistent and effective security procedure can be applied at all events of the FIA Formula One World Championship," the FIA said in a statement.
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com



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