Ecclestone mocks Button's Brazil attack
Bernie Ecclestone has played down Jenson Button's brush with armed robbers at the Brazilian Grand Prix, suggesting that the British driver must have looked like a "victim".
Six men with machine guns had tried to target his car as the 2009 champion tried to drive away from the Interlagos circuit after qualifying on Saturday.
His driver, trained in avoidance techniques, was able to take Button and his team away to safety.
That incident, however, coupled with stories of Sauber engineers being robbed, has cast the country in a negative light and Formula One supremo Ecclestone is keep to dispel the image.
“They [robbers] look for victims, they look for anyone that looks like a soft touch and not too bright,” he contended.
“The people that look a bit soft and simple, they will always have a go at. I think here for the race weekend they probably watch TV and see who’s not qualified in the top ten and think, ‘well they must be a bit stupid otherwise they would qualify in the top ten obviously’. So they are victims.”
The sport’s supremo subsequently inquired as to where Button had qualified, and when told it was eleventh, he replied: “There you are, you see, I have to rest my case.”
Ecclestone, 80, went on to state that his experience of Brazil was that it was as safe as anywhere else in the world.
“I’ve been coming here for more than 40 years, not just for the race,” he continued.
“I have walked around, driven, been out in restaurants in the city and never seen or heard anything threatening. I’ve run on the beach here early in the morning with a watch on and never been mugged, never seen anyone being mugged.
"I’ve never, ever had a problem – it’s as safe here as anywhere in the world.
“Normally like in America or anywhere you go there are people getting mugged. In London, it’s a funny thing you know – it’s surprising in Oxford Street the number of people that get mugged there hourly… We should have more police there.”