Force India planning extra staff security for Brazilian GP

2018 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Force India is planning extra security measures for its staff at this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix despite the promoters promising a “much bigger presence” in response to last year’s muggings.

Pirelli and McLaren cancelled a post-race test at the track 12 months ago after several F1 personnel were targeted. They included Mercedes team members who were forced to surrender their valuables at gunpoint.

Formula 1 teams have been told to expect a “much bigger” security presence this weekend. F1, the FIA and local authorities have discussed the problem, which has escalated in recent years. A report on the planned security procedures for this year’s race was submitted to the FIA World Motor Sport Council on October 12th.

Force India team principal Otmar Szafnauer said that while “no guarantees” about the teams’ security have been given, procedures to ensure the safety of their personnel have been revised.

“We have worked with the promoters and with the local authorities, the police, and apparently they’re going to have a much bigger presence.

“They’re going to understand our times of leaving and coming so the presence is there at appropriate times – the police don’t go home early and then we all leave. So there will be a bigger effort.”

However Szafnauer said the team “is also looking into some security measures” of its own. “We’ve been fortunate over the years that nothing’s happened to us,” he said. “But we take it seriously.

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“We do take precautions that some of the other teams haven’t taken in the past. And so far, it’s been either by luck or judgement, we’ve been OK. But we will look at it even closer now because of what happened to Mercedes last year.”

Szafnauer said it is routine procedure for Force India staff to remove any identifying logos related to the race when they leave the track.

“We always have taken precautions and measures. I’ll give you an example: Our crew buses have no stickers on them, all the parking passes are removable, zero Force India on them. We don’t wear our team kit in the crew buses, we wear normal clothes.

“So we’ve done all those things just to avoid attention and attraction. And either we got lucky or it’s worked or a little bit of both.

“And I personally do that too. When we’re in a car driving home there is nothing that says we’re a Formula 1 team or associated with it when we’re driving down the road. We’ll continue to do that and then also look even further at will we need some type of security.”

Several Force India staff were involved in a security incident at the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix in which a molotov cocktail exploded near a team van.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 14 comments on “Force India planning extra staff security for Brazilian GP”

    1. If an incident occurs in the lead-up to quali or the race, I’d like to see the teams take a stand and boycott the event.

      I’d also be curious to see if Liberty would play hardball this year with the promoters, given they’re not getting all of the money.

      Several Force India staff were involved in a security incident at the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix in which a molotov cocktail exploded near a team van.

      However, wasn’t this related to the turmoil in Bahrain at the time, and not a symptom of an endemic security issue, as is the case in Brazil?

      1. Iā€™d like to see the teams take a stand and boycott the event.

        smart ‘excuse’ to get it off the calendar until they solve the promotion fee disagreement ;)

        PS – I love the Brazilian GP. Been there twice; never been mugged; just soaked.

        1. @coldfly – no disrespect to the GP itself. It produces some great racing (especially in the wet), the fans’ enthusiasm is tremendous, and is all-in-all a GP that must continue. But it must continue in a form that is safe.

          I do feel a bit of a hypocrite, however, because the push for safety seems to be more for F1, than in terms or addressing the continual security/safety issues (or the societal factors that cause it).

    2. All this should not be a problem with the new president (Latin Trump).
      He’s tough on crime allowing police to shoot to kill; he loves anything that pollutes as long as it helps the economy, and he’s in favour of grid girls (only the ones pretty enough to be raped).

      PS – and imagine: he was the best candidate available.

      1. he was the best candidate available.

        I spoke with some people in Brasil, and that appears to be a sad true, most people think they were cornered into a decision between a mad man and a corrupt thief. They went with the first one because they have to worry about him when he is being mad, while the thief they have to worry about him everyday. Sad times we live in.

        But like in the USA, they weren’t the only two candidates, but the others weren’t given a fair chance

        1. As this is a F1 site, maybe the right comparison is that the president-elect is the Brazilian Bernie: tough guy, few people genuinely like him, gets the job done, most want to see him gone, but will miss him when him is really gone.

          1. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say they want Ecclestone back.

      2. From a personal perspective; his comments on homosexuality have me worried. For the past I don’t know how many years, Brazil seemed to have been tolerant and even a haven for the LGBT community, it certainly seems that way currently. Will President Bolsanaro seek to repress us? I hope not.
        And even if he did, I would not expect Liberty to cancel a Grand Prix for that reason.

    3. You guys don’t worry, our new Fuhrer has already manifested support for the idea of sniping criminals from afar, so the next year around things should be pretty OK.

      1. Sorry to hear that. From what I hear of him, the definition of who constitutes a “criminal” will be flexible :-(

        1. By the current propositions, snipeable criminals would only be those carry automatic rifle, above AR15

      2. Sounds like the type to present the cup prizes himself on the winners platform.

    4. TBH, it’s a little amazing that this venue has managed to remain in F1 till today after all the things that have happened in the surroundings of the circuit over the years.

    5. Its quite worrying every year we hear about F1 staff being robbed at this venue and nothing has changed. I hope there are no boycotts for the fans who pay for tickets to watch the event live..

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