McLaren has revealed that Jenson Button has escaped unscathed from an apparent armed robbery or car jacking attempt in Sao Paulo this evening.
Apparently six men with machine guns were involved in the attack which happened as Jenson was being driven to his hotel. Jenson and his entourage emerged unscathed, because their police driver was able to get away by bouncing off other cars.
The Daily Mail tonight reports Jenson as saying: “We were going back from the track and were outside a shanty town and moving slowly on a busy road. I saw a dog come out. It was very cute. The next thing I saw was a man with a gun. Our guy angled the car and floored it.
‘That’s when we saw six men, all of them brandishing machine-guns. My driver was a legend. It was very scary. I don’t know whether they knew who it was they were ambushing. I said, “Isn’t that a gun?” and as soon as I said that, the driver angled the car. I am glad I didn’t have my girlfriend Jessica with me – she would have been terrified.’
The incident is extremely worrying for all F1 personnel.
A McLaren statement said: “On Saturday evening (November 6) on the way back from the Interlagos circuit to Morumbi (Sao Paulo), armed would-be assailants made an attempt to approach the car that was carrying Jenson Button.
“Neither Jenson nor the other occupants of the car were hurt. (The other occupants were John Button [Jenson’s father], Mike Collier [Jenson’s physio] and Richard Goddard [Jenson’s manager].)
“Vodafone McLaren Mercedes had provided both Jenson and team-mate Lewis Hamilton with reinforced armoured vehicles driven by police drivers, who had been trained in avoidance techniques and were armed.
“The police driver of Jenson’s vehicle reacted swiftly and, using avoidance techniques, rapidly forced his way through the traffic, taking Jenson and the other occupants of the car immediately away from any danger and back to their hotel.
“The Sao Paulo authorities have also acted efficiently and will be providing additional security to transfer Jenson and other senior Vodafone McLaren Mercedes personnel to the Interlagos circuit for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.”