Emilia Romagna GP cancelled after heavy floods

Team officials attempt to clear water after a heavy downpour at the Emilia Romagna GP circuit | Photo Credit: IMAGO [HochZwei]

FORMULA ONE Emilia Romagna GP cancelled after heavy floods

Shafic Kiyaga 17:04 - 17.05.2023

The Emilia Romagna GP was slated to be the sixth race of the season, kicking off a series of three consecutive events, including Monaco and Spain.

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, originally scheduled to take place at Imola in Italy, this weekend, has been called off due to catastrophic flooding that has wreaked havoc in the region.

The decision, prioritizing the safety and well-being of all involved, follows discussions between local authorities and race organizers.

The Emilia Romagna region has been grappling with an unprecedented deluge of rainfall, resulting in rivers bursting their banks and extensive flooding throughout the area.

Tragically, at least eight lives have been lost, and thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes to seek refuge from the rising waters.

Acknowledging the severity of the situation, Formula One made the responsible and necessary decision to cancel the race.

F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali, who hails from the affected region, expressed his deep sorrow over the tragic turn of events, stating, "It is such a tragedy to see what has happened to Imola and Emilia Romagna, the town and region that I grew up in."

The cancellation comes in the wake of a red weather warning issued for the area, alerting authorities to the imminent danger posed by the heavy rain and resulting floods.

The Emilia Romagna GP was slated to be the sixth race of the season, kicking off a series of three consecutive events, including Monaco and Spain.

The Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, where the race was scheduled to take place, was evacuated as a precautionary measure due to the risk of flooding from the nearby Santerno river.

Local teams with close ties to the region, including Red Bull's Alpha Tauri and the iconic Ferrari, have expressed their profound concern and solidarity with those affected.

Alpha Tauri, based in the nearby town of Faenza, issued a heartfelt statement, conveying their deep distress over the unfolding events.

Likewise, Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur expressed his heartfelt sympathy, emphasizing the emotional impact of the situation, stating, "Emilia Romagna is our homeland, and it's heartbreaking to see what people are going through at the moment."

As heavy rain continued to fall overnight and into the morning, F1 personnel were not granted access to the circuit, ensuring their safety and well-being.

While F1 officials will explore potential options for rescheduling the race, the already tightly packed schedule makes a return highly unlikely.

The cancellation of the Emilia Romagna GP reduces the 2023 F1 calendar from the planned record-breaking 23 races to 22, matching last year's number.

Renowned drivers Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have expressed their support for the decision to call off the race while extending their sympathies to those affected by the severe weather conditions.

Hamilton took to social media, expressing his thoughts and well-wishes for the region's safety, and commending the incredible efforts of emergency services.

Verstappen echoed these sentiments, stating, "Our thoughts are with all those affected by the severe rainfall and flooding. We wish you all strength to ensure your safety throughout this period."

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem emphasized that the safety of everyone involved and the recovery efforts take precedence during this challenging time.

Mercedes driver George Russell also voiced his understanding of the decision, recognizing the imperative of prioritizing the safety of all individuals involved.