Stolen Watches: The F1 Drivers Who Fought Back
Formula 1 drivers are experiencing similar thefts involving Richard Mille watches. Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris have fallen victim to watch robberies, and it appears there may be a concerning pattern emerging.
In an alarming trend, Formula 1 drivers are increasingly falling victim to daring thefts of their high-end Richard Mille watches. The most recent incident unfolded just hours after the Italian Grand Prix, after Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz’s podium win.
However, this wasn’t an isolated case. Similar incidents occurred to two other F1 stars, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris, with all three thefts involving Richard Mille watches. Norris, the McLaren driver, experienced this unfortunate occurrence twice—first outside Wembley during Euro 2020 and then again during the summer in Marbella. Leclerc, on the other hand, had his watch snatched while on vacation in Viareggio, Italy.
Carlos Sainz chased robbers on foot
The Spanish driver found himself the target of a knife-point robbery outside Milan’s Armani Hotel. What sets this incident apart is Sainz’s remarkable response. Unwilling to let the thieves escape with his precious timepiece, the 29-year-old driver, still in his racing boots, gave chase on foot with the help of a passerby. Thanks to his determination, the robbers were apprehended, and the watch was swiftly returned to its rightful owner.
He took to social media to release a statement after the episode: “As many of you already know, yesterday we experienced an unfortunate incident in Milan. The most important thing is that we are all OK and this will only remain as an unpleasant anecdote.
“Many thanks to all the people who helped us yesterday, to the Milan police for their quick intervention and thanks for all your messages.”
Charles Leclerc hopped into his Ferrari for a car chase
Four individuals were arrested on the charge of stealing Leclerc’s unique Richard Mille 67-02 timepiece in April 2022. The stolen watch, valued at €2.5m, was taken during a robbery in Tuscany.
Additional details about the incident have emerged, revealing that after the theft, Charles Leclerc attempted to chase the fleeing criminals in a pursuit through the streets of Viareggio. Leclerc pursued them in his Ferrari, leading to a confrontation in a parking lot where one of the criminals threatened him with a knife before escaping.
The stolen watch was later sold for a significantly lower price than its value, approximately €300,000, due to difficulties in finding a buyer for the unique timepiece.
… but Lando Norris got himself in a headlock
Lando Norris was robbed of his special Richard Mille timepiece in London, which took place outside Wembley Stadium following the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy in July 2021.
The 25-year-old perpetrator, Liam Williams, had been accused of being one of the robbers who allegedly stole Norris’ custom-fit limited edition Richard Mille, and valued at over £140,000.
The court heard that Norris was grabbed by one assailant while another forcibly removed the watch from his wrist. DNA evidence found on Norris’s left wrist was presented during the trial, with the prosecution contending that it matched Williams’ DNA. However, the jury’s deliberations led to a not guilty verdict for Williams after approximately two hours.
In this case, Norris didn’t fight back, per se… what could you expect from a 21-year-old in headlock? But in a confusing revelation, Williams stated in court that he had witnessed two men showing the stolen watch to his group of friends after the Euro 2020 final, unaware that it had been stolen. He explained that he had no involvement in the robbery.
Despite the acquittal, the incident highlighted concerns over the security of high-value timepieces and the targeting of celebrities for their watches, a trend that has affected several Formula 1 drivers in recent years.
While the drivers’ quick thinking and determination have led to positive outcomes so far, it is clear that a pattern is emerging, highlighting the need for heightened security measures to protect these racing stars and their valuable possessions. And leave these RMs alone!
|Self-winding caliber A-500; 60 hours power reserve
|Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph and date
|42.5mm; titanium; water resistant to 30m
|Salmon (6N gold plated) with gené or frosted area; Super-LumiNova filled Arabic numerals
|Ballistic gray rubber; titanium folding clasp