Mexico f1 © Gallo Images
The Mexico Grand Prix was expected to go ahead as planned on Sunday despite reports of a man being shot dead by police in an incident close to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Three police officers and a taxi driver were injured in a shootout before a 35-year-old local man, who had attempted to steal a car, was killed, local media reported.
In a statement, the Secretary of Citizen Security confirmed an incident in which shots were fired.
Security was a sensitive issue for all Formula One personnel, including drivers, team members and the travelling media corps, ahead of this weekend’s event following problems with an over-crowded paddock last year.
Some team members and drivers reported being jostled and having personal possessions opened and ransacked in the paddock.
The booing and jeering of world champion driver Max Verstappen after his win at the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, last Sunday also caused concern for the security of the 26-year-old Dutchman and members of his Red Bull team.
Fervent support for his teammate and local hero Sergio Perez was thought to be a possible motive, resulting in Perez appealing for his fans to behave responsibly while Red Bull – and other teams – had bodyguards appointed to protect them.
Charles Leclerc took pole position ahead of his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc in an incident-filled qualifying session on Saturday, ensuring they locked out the front row of the grid for Sunday’s race in which Verstappen starts third.
Verstappen and Mercedes’ George Russell were investigated by race stewards for stopping and blocking the pit-lane exit to wait for an advantageous time to go out during qualifying, but both were cleared to keep their grid positions.
Verstappen will be seeking his 51st career victory, to draw alongside four-time champion Alain Prost in the record books, while Leclerc is bidding to end a run of failures from pole position – he has only won four times from his 21 poles to date and has not turned any of his last 10 poles into a victory.