* Button calm on arrival at circuit
* Sauber engineers robbed
(Adds Button quotes, detail)
By Alan Baldwin
SAO PAULO, Nov 7 Three Sauber engineers were
robbed at gunpoint shortly after Formula One world champion
Jenson Button escaped unhurt from a similar attack at the
Brazilian Grand Prix, the team said on Sunday.
"They left the track, three engineers together in a van, at
around 8 p.m. (on Saturday)," a spokesman said.
"They had to stop at the red light and then all of a sudden
five people were around the car, one with a machine gun, and
they opened the door and took two rucksacks and disappeared. So
nobody was injured."
McLaren's Button was the victim of an attempted armed
robbery about an hour earlier but his police driver smashed his
way through traffic to escape when the gunmen were seen
Button told reporters on his arrival at the circuit that he
was fine but shaken by the incident.
"You hear about it happening over the years but until you
are actually involved you don't know how it feels," he said.
"It's a pretty scary situation because initially you don't
believe it's happening.
"It's a horrible thing to happen.
"I feel fine now. there's a lot of attention because it's
the first time it's been a driver that's been held up but
hopefully it will show the dangers that are down there and we'll
take more care," said Button.
"From what I hear most of the drivers have got a police
escort into the circuit (today) as a well as a bullet proof car
and policeman as a driver."
Button, still just in mathematical contention for the title
ahead of the penultimate race of the season, said his
bullet-proof Mercedes -- with blacked-out windows -- had pulled
up at a traffic light outside the circuit.
Sitting in the front passenger seat, he noticed a group of
men loitering suspiciously by the side of the road at the
entrance to one of the buildings that masks the shanty town
"Richard (Goddard, his manager) noticed one had a baton
hanging down from his arm and I noticed that one guy was playing
around with something in his trousers and it was a gun," said
"As soon as I said that, the driver looked across and they
saw him look and started running towards the car. So we floored
the car, it didn't look like there was a big enough space but we
got between six cars and just rammed every single car to get
past and got through and away."
"Looking behind there were two guys with handguns and one
guy with what looked like a machine gun," said the driver.
Teams are always on the watch for attempted armed attacks on
members leaving the circuit after previous incidents in Sao
Paulo, a sprawling city with one of the highest crime rates in
Petty theft is also a problem, with stories of stolen bags
and wallets doing the rounds of the paddock. Two photographers
also had expensive lenses go missing from their room at the
"We just take sensible precautions travelling to and from
the circuit, we don't leave passes visible and don't wear team
shirts," said a Toro Rosso spokesman when asked what measures
(Editing by Kevin Fylan; To query or comment on this story