As the Briton's former team-mate Rubens Barrichello described the incident as an 'embarrassment' for his country, it seems the attempted armed ambush on McLaren-Mercedes star Jenson Button after qualifying at Interlagos last weekend has kicked Brazil into action to improve its safety ahead of other upcoming major sporting events.
As Button returned from the circuit back to his São Paulo hotel in company with his father John, manager Richard Goddard and trainer Mike Collier, the bulletproof Mercedes B-Class in which the four men were travelling was stuck in stationary traffic as it passed through a favela
(shanty town), when they were approached by a group of up to six gun-wielding assailants.
The quartet were saved by the quick-thinking reactions of their specially-trained police driver Daniel Toni, who Button praised as 'an absolute legend' for rescuing him and his entourage from potentially 'some big problems' [see separate story – click here
] – as was evinced by similarly unsavoury incidents involving a trio of Sauber engineers and some Formula One Management (FOM) officials who had stopped at the roadside in order to change a blown tyre – but who reflected simply that he was 'only doing my job, that's all'.
Extra security was provided to Button and McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton the following day, but with police assuring that the failed carjacking was more likely a characteristic example of the violent street crime that is all-too prevalent in what is one of São Paulo's most deprived neighbourhoods rather than a more sinister kidnap plot, as has been mused [see separate story – click here
], city mayor Gilberto Kassab has insisted that state and federal police are 'committed' to tracking the gunmen down and bringing them to justice.
“Public authorities are doing everything possible to reach a level of excellence in events like this,” Kassab is quoted as having said by the globoesporte
On that matter, with the 2014 Football World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games both on the radar for Brazil in the not-too-distant future, pressure is rising upon the country's authorities to solve its crime issues and reduce the risk of danger for foreign visitors, with Williams ace Barrichello – who partnered the reigning F1 World Champion at Brawn GP last year and is a Paulista himself – writing on his Twitter
account that the attack was an 'embarrassment' and globoesporte
columnist José Ilan conceding that 'it's an horrendous postcard Button is taking back home'.