The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix has been cancelled ahead of the weekend due to major flooding in the region. Discussions took place on Wednesday (May 17) between F1 organisers and the local authorities to decide if it was safe to continue with the event in Imola, northern Italy.
It was concluded that the event could not safely go ahead, with Formula 1 releasing a statement to update fans on the decision. In the statement, the F1 Twitter account paid tribute to the emergency services working to help those in need in the area.
Widespread flooding across the Emilia Romagna region has killed three people, with authorities warning people to move to higher ground. F1 said that it was “the right and responsible thing to do” by cancelling the weekend’s racing.
The statement said: “The Formula 1 community wants to send its thoughts to the people and 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.
“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 in 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, F1 president and chief executive officer added: "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.
"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 decision comes after a red weather warning was issued for the region on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The track in Imola had been evacuated on Tuesday due to flooding from the Santerno river, which also passes the Ferrari factory in Maranello. Heavy rain also meant that personnel were forbidden from entering the circuit on Wednesday due to the safety risk.
The Imola race was set to be the first of three consecutive weekends of racing, with races following in Monaco and Spain in the following weeks. F1 will look into the possibility of rescheduling the race but due to the crowded schedule, it is unlikely that the Imola race will go ahead for 2023.