POSTED: November 7th 2010

Button attack serves as security reminder for Olympic and World Cup organisers

Sebastian Vettel celebrates for Red Bull /
Sebastian Vettel celebrates for Red Bull /

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT / Sports Features Communications

SAO PAULO, Nov 07: The attempted gang attack in Sao Paulo on outgoing Formula One world champion Jenson Button will sharpen the focus on security for organisers of both the 2014 World Cup and Rio's 2016 Olympic Games.

British driver Button, 33, praised the sharp reactions of his police driver after escaping unharmed following an incident when his car, leaving Interlagos after practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix, was approached by six men brandishing firearms.

Sebastian Vettel won the Grand Prix Sunday for Red Bull to send the championship battle with team-mate Fernando Alonso down to next Sunday's last race of the season in Abu Dhabi. Red Bull have already secured the constructors’ title ahead of McLaren.

A statement about the attempted attack on Button, from his team McLaren, said: "Would-be assailants made an attempt to approach the car that was carrying Jenson Button." The driver's manager Richard Goddard and trainer Mike Collier were also in the vehicle.

Goddard said: "We were about three or four minutes away from the circuit when the incident took place.  I would suggest there were more than four or five guys, something along those lines, who emerged from a block of flats. I initially saw one guy carrying this piece of wood, a baseball bat kind of thing, but I didn't spot the one who had a gun until someone pointed it out.

Quick reaction

"You hear about these kind of things in Sao Paulo and because they don't come home to roost, you don't think about them. But when it almost happens to you then it's fairly worrying."

Their police driver crashed his way through the heavy traffic. McLaren added: "The driver 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." Button described his driver as an "absolute legend."

Brazil's star footballers have long known of the risks they and their families run of kidnap-for-ransom attacks.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone insisted that the incident would not affect the future of the Brazilian Grand Prix and Interlagos. He said: "I have been coming here for over 40 years. I'm as safe here as anywhere in the world."

Keywords · Button · Formula One · 2014 World Cup · 2016 Olympic Games

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