The 2023 Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is now on red alert due to excessive flooding at Imola and the surrounding areas.
The first of two trips to Italy in 2023 is due to kick-start a triple-header for F1 with Monaco and Barcelona to come next but the unprecedented rain and flooding has put the race in question.
Several rivers in the local area have burst their banks and it has led to evacuation of the area for many and even two deaths. Rain is forecast for the whole weekend but if it comes with the same intensity then the track may not be raceable at all.
On Tuesday, May 16, the circuit had to be evacuated due to certain areas flooding and further risk of more rain to come later in the day, as per Laurent Dupin, F1 reporter for Canal+.
New wet tyres
It seems almost too good to be true that Pirelli have decided to bring brand-new wet tyres to this race that don’t require the use of tyre warmers. They were perhaps not expecting them to be in such immediate need but it should be a good litmus test for them, if we get on track at all.
This race should see the first test of a new qualifying format too which requires drivers to use hard tyres in Q1, medium tyres in Q2 and soft tyres in Q3. That experiment may well come to an end if the forecast proves correct, leaving little in the way of dry running all weekend.
The Santerno River, which runs very close to the pit lane, has already reached the second of three alert levels due to high water levels and potential flooding, according to Italian forecaster Michele Salmi.
He predicts that worse is to come, though, with even heavier rain set to fall upon the area which could cause worse flooding than what caused the two deaths two weeks ago. Imola could see between 50-100ml of rain in the next 24 hours which would see the maximum alert level reached and lower areas of the circuit at threat of flooding.