Sunday’s race in Brazil was full of overtakes and incidents, and was yet another example of the thrills and spills Interlagos can bring to Formula 1.
In 2007 it was the home of a thrilling championship finale in which Kimi Raikkonen won his championship, and in 2008 Lewis Hamilton broke local hearts as he passed Timo Glock on the very last corner of the race to deny Felipe Massa the title.
The first Brazilian Grand Prix was officially held in 1973 and won by Sao Paulo native Emerson Fittipaldi. Since then it has become a staple of the F1 season, and Brazil has been a vital outpost of the sport’s global empire.
Brazil has produced world champions to go with its race, and that has made it an incredibly profitable region for the sport. But there is an issue with Brazil, and that is one of security for the teams during race weekends.
A history of problems
2017's armed robbery of the Mercedes crew was just the latest in a long history of problems teams have had while leaving the circuit.
Back in 2010 Jenson Button was forced to flee from machine-gun-wielding would-be robbers. Despite the fact that McLaren had provided an armoured car for the defending champion, the robbers were not deterred and Button only avoided a potentially life-threatening situation due to the quick reactions of his driver.
Even after the Mercedes incident this year, Pirelli staff were accosted on their way out of the track, and the tyre manufacturer decided to cancel its proposed test this week due to the safety concerns.
Brazil's cities have a rampant violent crime problem, and while fans are protected both by their large numbers and a heavy police presence around the events, when staff are leaving the track they are extremely isolated and often present easy targets.
While teams do provide security details, it is obviously not enough in deterring these criminals.
What can F1 do?
The sport itself has no jurisdiction to police the route from the circuit to team hotels, and introducing a private force large enough to do so could be catastrophic, but it's clear that the very sensible steps the sport is taking so far do not go far enough. So what can it do?
It can remove Interlagos from the calendar.
This may seem like a drastic step, but if the organisers cannot guarantee the safety and security of those that make sure the race is actually run then they should not be allowed to host the event.
With Felipe Massa's re-retirement at the end of this season Formula 1 is set to feature no Brazilian drivers for the first time since 1969, and while the sport is wildly popular there, a clear message could be sent to the gangs and criminals that prey on the race by taking Brazil off the 2018 calendar.
Even the threat to do so should spur some action from local governments and reduce the risks, but the hardworking men and women of F1 should not be put in danger by the governing body forcing Brazilian competition.
F1 should be a global contest, and I am all for racing in Brazil due not only to the history of Interlagos but also the incredible drivers the country has produced, however it shouldn't come with the risks it currently does.
If the Sao Paulo authorities cannot guarantee the safety of everyone involved, then Formula 1 should pull the circuit from the calendar. It's the right thing to do.
Do you think F1 should threaten to leave Brazil if the situation doesn't improve? Would this get the desired results? Are there any other options? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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