Interlagos track sale will boost security, says Sao Paulo mayor

The mayor of Sao Paulo says public safety is the city government's responsibility and believes the Formula 1 Brazilian GP venue sale will improve safety after a spate of attacks.

Less than 48 hours after Mercedes F1 personnel escaped uninjured following a gunpoint robbery outside the Interlagos track, a car driven by Pirelli tyre fitters was targeted.

They managed to escape uninjured, but it came after promises of a heightened police presence around the venue.

On Monday, Pirelli announced it was cancelling this week's planned tyre test at the venue due to security concerns.

During the event, Williams and Sauber personnel were also subject to attacks, while officials from the FIA were also approached by armed robbers before escaping unharmed.

"Security is the responsibility of the Public Security Secretariat, but it is also the responsibility of the city of Sao Paulo," said mayor Joao Doria, who was speaking before the attack on the Pirelli car.

"When I heard it [the Mercedes case], I spoke to the security secretary to have a police reinforcement in the area around the race track.

"I also determined the reinforcement of agents of the Metropolitan Civil Guard.

"It's sad, it's unfortunate, fortunately anybody wasn't hurt. What we need is to learn a lesson from this for upcoming events."

The city of Sao Paulo is in discussions with three parties interested in purchasing the Interlagos circuit.

Pressure on public funds, amid an uncertain economic climate in Brazil, has led to a proposal to raise cash through the privatisation of real estate, including the circuit, owned by the city.

Doria said privatising the circuit will lead to enhanced security in and around the venue.

"Remember that the privatisation of the racetrack will contribute to this [public safety]," he said.

"So we will have security systems not only in the internal area, but also in the external area of the racetrack."

Doria added that the city is pushing on with plans to sell the circuit and expects the sale to be completed in the "first half of next year".

He added: "We have a lot of groups that showed interest to buy. We can't reveal who are these groups, but we are very confident that national and international groups will be competing for the track.

"The racetrack will not stop being a racetrack.

"They will, obviously, make investments, as well as complementing works that are necessary for the comfort of the spectators, complementing the works already done here by the city of Sao Paulo, with the support of the national government."

Interlagos has a deal to host F1 until 2020 and Doria hopes the new owners can "renew for another decade".

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Article type Breaking news