Wild weather and flooding have forced Formula 1 officials into cancelling this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.
The decision was made public early this morning, with Formula 1 releasing a statement saying, “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.”
Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1, said: “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.
“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.”
Emilia-Romagna has been hit by severe weather for the entire month of May, leaving at least two people dead and more than a dozen rivers to burst their banks.
The Formula 1 paddock was evacuated on Tuesday morning while setting up for the event. F1 then instructed personnel not to return the following day, with images circulating on Social Media showing the track had also been hit by flood waters.
It’s the second event to be scrapped off the 2023 Formula 1 calendar following the cancellation of the 2023 Chinese Grand Prix due to tight Covid restrictions being enforced in the country.
It’s thought the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix will not be rescheduled due to the congested nature of the Formula 1 calendar.
The decision to postpone the event is being met with support from the drivers, with Lewis Hamilton saying, “Hoping everyone in Emilia-Romagna is able to stay safe and look out for each other right now,” the seven times world champion said. “Thoughts are with those affected by this tragedy and the amazing emergency services working on the ground. I know we all understand that safety comes first. Can’t wait to see you all at the next race.”
Formula 1 will now return next weekend with the Monaco Grand Prix.