Bernie backs Brazil despite carjackings

FORMULA ONE chief Bernie Ecclestone insists the Brazilian Grand Prix will be “around for another hundred years” despite the carjackings which marred yesterday’s race.

World champion Jenson Button emerged unscathed from his ordeal, but only thanks to the quick thinking of police driver Daniel Toni, who ensured the Englishman, his father and manager all escaped after being confronted by a gang of armed men. Three Sauber mechanics were also robbed at gunpoint on Saturday night, but Ecclestone feels a measure of perspective needs to be kept.

“I’ve been coming here for 40-odd years, walking about, and I’ve never, ever had a problem,” said Ecclestone.

“That’s not just for the race, but at other times when I’ve been here too. I’ve also never been around where I’ve seen anybody have a problem.

“You have to remember we have a lot of problems in England, Oxford Street and places, and in New York people get mugged.

“They look for victims, they look for people who are a little bit slow and simple, but the people who look a bit bright, they never go after them.

“But as for the race, I’m happy. We’ll be here for another hundred years.”

Button (right), meanwhile, does not believe he was deliberately targeted by the “five or six” men who approached his car in a traffic jam.

“It always looks set up, I’m sure," said Button. “It felt that way.

“But I’m sure it was a random attack, that’s the way I like to think of it.”

Button’s father, John, described the events as something right out of a Hollywood movie.

He said: “It was unbelievable, just like in a film, like Sylvester Stallone in Rambo.”