Formula 1 have announced the cancellation of the 2023 Emilia Romagna GP amid the horrific weather conditions around the Imola circuit with huge flooding and landslides in the region.
As of Wednesday morning, F1 staff and personnel were unable to make their way in the paddock at Imola following heavy rain on Monday and Tuesday in the region, with the Italian authorities issuing a red weather warning at the start of the week.
As a result of the devastating conditions in Northern Italy, the decision has been made to cancel the Emilia Romagna GP at Imola.
“The Formula 1 community wants to send its thoughts to the people can communities affected by the recent events in the Emilia-Romagna region. We also want to pay tribute to the work of the emergency services who are doing everything they can to help those in need,” a statement from F1 read.
“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 the Emilia Romagna region, the Mayor of the City and the promoter, the decision has been taken not to proceed with the Grand Prix this weekend in Imola.
“The decision has been taken because it is not possible to safely hold the event for our fans, the teams and out personnel and it is the right and responsible thing to do given the situation faced by 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.”
Meanwhile, Formula 1 president Stefano Domenicali confirmed that the safety of those living in the local community was paramount to making the decision to call off the Grand Prix.
“It is such a tragedy to see what has happened to Imola and Emilia Romagna, the town and region that I grew up in and my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the flooding and the families and communities affected,” Domenicali in a statement.
“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 on 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.”
What is the situation at Imola?
Following days of heavy rain, car parks and areas of the Imola circuit were flooded and with Rivazza and Tosa corners covered in mud.
The TV compound at Imola is also flooded and although the F1 paddock is not, no staff from teams, who would normally be prepping for a race weekend, are permitted on the circuit.
The Santerno River which runs parallel to the paddock at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari saw its water level rise on Tuesday and staff already at Imola were asked to leave the circuit.
Concerns regarding an estimated 120,000 fans descending on Imola have hastened the decision as the emergency services have to focus their efforts to flood affected areas of Emilia Romagna.
Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Matteo Salvini called for the decision to cancel the 2023 Emilia Romagna GP on Wednesday morning.
“In the light of direct contacts between the minister, the institutions and the associations involved,” Salvini said in a statement. “Let’s dedicate ourselves to relief efforts.”