The Emilia Romagna Formula 1 Grand Prix originally set to take place in Imola this weekend is officially canceled due to major flooding in the area that's reportedly left five dead and many more without a home. The decision was announced Wednesday morning, though the FIA did not mention a future rescheduling or possible replacement for the sixth round of the F1 World Championship.
The announcement wasn't a complete surprise as the dire situation in Emilia Romagna has been going on for more than a week now. Thousands of emergency crews and first responders have been deployed to that region of Italy to help victims, and running an F1 race in the midst of this would've been less than ideal. Even Scuderia AlphaTauri has been caught up in this situation given the location of its headquarters within the affected region. Fortunately, it’s been announced that the team's HQ and employees are safe at this moment.
Stefano Domenicali, president and CEO of Formula 1, issued the following statement:
“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.”
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem followed up by saying, “My thoughts and those of the entire FIA family are with those affected by the terrible situation in the Emilia Romagna region. The safety of everyone involved and recovery efforts are the top priority at this time.”
Photos shared on Twitter show just how serious the situation truly is. While most F1 personnel had yet to arrive on the track, many support and logistic crews were already on site ready to begin preparations for this weekend's race. According to Sky Sports F1, everyone's been called off now and asked to leave the area if at all possible. Those who hadn't departed their home bases were told to remain in place.
It remains unclear if F1 will attempt to squeeze in a race at Imola or at another track within the existing 2023 schedule. It will likely announce a decision sooner rather than later. It's a shame that the race couldn't go on, but the decision made was the right one. This effectively makes the Monaco Grand Prix the sixth race of the season, which is still expected to take place on Sunday, May 28.
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