Formula 1 have announced that the Emilia-Romagna grand prix will not go ahead this weekend after flooding in the region.
Rainfall had caused 14 rivers in the area, including the Santerno right next to the Imola circuit, to have overflown. The flood has caused thousands to evacuate the region, whilst at least 8 people have been confirmed to have died at this time.
A red alert has been in place across Emilia-Romagna since Monday, whilst staff had been asked to evacuate the track on Tuesday as a precautionary measure, and members of the Alpine team were also reportedly forced to evacuate their hotel last night.
Rain had been expected to lighten up over the next couple of days, but were expected to still continue through the rest of the week.
Formula 1’s statement read as follows: “”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.”
Teams and drivers have taken to social media to voice their support of the decision. Alpha Tauri, who are based out of Faenza in Emilia-Romagna, said their “sympathies go out to all those affected”. George Russell said he was “sorry for the fans that this weekend’s race has been cancelled but the safety of everyone involved always has to come first”. Ferrari stated how “Emilia-Romagna is our homeland and it’s heart-breaking what people are going through at the moment.”
Aside from races cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first Formula 1 race to be cancelled since the 2011 Bahrain grand prix.
The congested nature of the F1 calendar means that it is unlikely that the race will be held later this year, though it hasn’t been outright cancelled as of yet. It has yet to be decided if fans who bought tickets will be able to receive refunds.
Formula 1 will now head to the Monaco grand prix next weekend.