Formula 1 was meant to be heading to the Imola Circuit for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix this weekend but due to harsh weather and storms the weekend has been cancelled.
Imola circuit has been no stranger to wet races over the last few years with two of the last three races held there having wet weather disrupt the grand prix. However this year the track and paddock has been hit with severe flooding causing Formula 1 to cancel the event.
The annoucement came after teams were evacuated from the Imola circuit on Tuesday while setting up for the weekend ahead. F1 had held a meeting on Wednesday morning to discuss plans and their options on what they could possibly do going forward. It is not the first time the sport has come under pressure due to situations with the weather at the infamous 2021 Belgian Grand Prix where fans sat for four hours waiting for a race to start before it eventually being cancelled. A similar situation also happened at last years Japanese Grand Prix where after two hours of waiting fans were treated to a 30 minute race that crowned Verstappen the 2022 world champion.
The support paddock for Formula 2 and Formula 3 has been completely flooded meaning teams could not set up their trucks and awnings. The Formula 1 TV compound was also affected which may have seen outages and disruption.
The Italian Deputy Prime Minister also said it would not be right for Formula 1 to host a race there given the circumstances and the surrounding area. The infrastructure to host a race is mighty and would have seen fans and marshals struggle to even get to the track with local motorways being competely flooded. Formula 1 also agreed it was unfair on local authorities for the race to go ahead with the current situation in nearby towns and the city.
In the Formula 1 statement said: "Following discussions between Formula 1, the President of the FIA, the competent authorities – including the relevant Ministers, the President of the Automobile Club of Italy, the President of Emilia-Romagna Region, the Mayor of the City and the promoter – the decision has been taken not to proceed with the Grand Prix weekend at Imola. The decision has been taken because it is not possible to safely hold the event for our fans, the teams and our personnel and it is the right and responsible thing to do given the situation faced by the towns and cities in the region. It would not be right to put further pressure on the local authorities and emergency services at this difficult time."
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali went onto say “I want to express my gratitude and admiration for the incredible emergency services who are working tirelessly to help those who need help and alleviate the situation – they are heroes and the whole of Italy is proud of them.
“The decision that has been taken is the right one for everyone in the local communities and the F1 family as we need to ensure safety and not create extra burden for the authorities while they deal with this very awful situation.”
The Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix was expected to be held on the first weekend of August but as Grand Prix Dynamics understands the race will not be featured on the 2023 calendar at all.