Monday, 13 november 2017, 11:24 , by Matthew Scott
A Pirelli tyre test set to take place later this week at the Interlagos circuit in Brazil has been cancelled after employees of the Italian manufacturer were targeted by armed assailants.
Over the course of the Grand Prix weekend, Mercedes, Williams, the FIA, and Sauber all had members of their staff come under attack by armed gunmen, and although no-one was injured, the incidents have raised serious questions regarding safety in and around the track.
The latest ambush involving Pirelli took place late on Sunday evening and while security stepped in to defuse the situation, Pirelli felt it necessary to postpone any further events.
A statement from the tyre manufacturer said:
"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 Team McLaren.
"The decision, shared with McLaren, FIA and Formula One, was made in the interest of the safety of the personnel, both McLaren's and our own, who would have participated in the test."
Several key figures have spoke out against the violence and urged the relevant authorities to take more action, even though the Sao Paolo police assured visitors than an extra security presence would be allocated.
"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," said F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, whose Mercedes team was targeted.
"We are going through difficult times," commented Felipe Massa who drove his final race at Interlagos on Sunday.
The practice days for the tyres had been pencilled in for some time, and this new decision has thrown Pirelli's plans to debut new tyres in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix into doubt.