It's no secret that Sao Paulo can be a dangerous place. Business travelers who frequent the city will be able to tell you about the precautions companies recommend they take to protect themselves. Don't leave the hotel. If you do, don't walk alone. Don't carry a laptop (it makes you an instant target for robbery). Wait for taxis inside the lobby. (Example: Criminals will case the hotels, looking for obvious business travelers waiting outside. This lets them see exactly what car they get into so that they can follow it and stage a carjacking once it's away from the hotel.)
Still, precautions or not, the chance for a run-in with criminals is still good -- something members of the Toyota F1 team learned firsthand this weekend. The car carrying Toyota spokesperson Fernanda Villas-Boas and other team personnel was one in a group of vehicles ambushed by around 20 gun-wielding teens about 2 miles from the venue for this weekend's F1 Grand Prix of Brazil.
According to Villas-Boras, who at one point had a gun pointed at her head as she sat in the car, shots were fired at them as they fled, but fortunately no one was injured. Neither Ralf Schumacher nor Jarno Trulli were among those attacked. In any case, it would seem that the Grand Prix of Brazil is something best enjoyed on television, in the comfort and safety of home.
Thanks to reader Brian McPhail for the tip!