For Italian F1 fans, the annual Grand Prix held at the iconic Monza circuit is undoubtedly the biggest weekend of the entire year; here Ferrari – and its drivers – reign supreme.
As the chequered flag fell on another successful day for Ferrari, in which Carlos Sainz secured P3 to join the Red Bull drivers Sergio Pérez and Max Verstappen on the podium, Italian race fans were cheering and applauding their heroic drivers for a respectable race finish.
You’d think that just hours after their feat of claiming the bragging rights as the best of the rest, Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari’s Spanish driver, would be considered untouchable walking through the streets of Milan as he left the Armani Hotel on Viale Manzoni; someone might even offer to buy him a cold Estrella Galicia for his efforts.
Three men, who police believe had been staking out the hotel anticipating Carlos Sainz’s exit that night, intercepted the Ferrari driver as he left his hotel and robbed him of his €275,000 EUR (~$460,000 AUD) Richard Mille watch.
The robbers fled, but Sainz, along with his personal trainer, set off after them in an attempt to retrieve the Swiss timepiece, initiating a dramatic pursuit through the streets of Milan, by car and later, on foot.
Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille is one of the main sponsors of the Ferrari Formula 1 Racing Team and has made significant inroads into Formula 1 in recent years through partnerships with McLaren and Haas.
“Everyone knows Ferrari is an iconic brand with an incredible history, and a true following from the legendary ‘tifosi’ right through to multiple collectors of classic cars,” Richard Mille said. “We see this as a true partnership with multiple developments at its heart of our watches with Ferrari’s designers and engineers.”
Carlos Sainz and his team managed to apprehend the robbers at different points throughout the city in a remarkably brave endeavour, reminiscent of a similar incident last year involving his Ferrari teammate Charles LeClerc, who chased his perpetrators in a Ferrari 488 Pista through the streets of Livorno.
The police arrived shortly after Sainz managed to retrieve his watch, before taking the robbers into custody. Sainz returned to his hotel with his prized special edition Alexander Zverev model, named after the German tennis ace, but it’s not exactly how the Ferrari driver and his team wanted to celebrate his podium finish at the 2023 Italian Grand Prix.