There has been little positive news for the Imola circuit over the last few days, but it seems the 2023 Emilia Romagna GP cancellation may be about to produce a silver lining.
Preparations for the race weekend on Tuesday were brought to a standstill when F1 personnel were ordered into a precautionary evacuation of the circuit, with red extreme weather warnings covering the return of heavy rain to the region. Just a few weeks prior such conditions had led to flooding chaos and landslides.
And sadly the situation would only deteriorate further on the Wednesday, as the heavy rainfall continued and water levels rose, leading to further flooding and landslides.
It meant then that the only sensible course of action was to cancel the race weekend, a decision which Formula 1 duly announced to allow for full focus to be placed on the relief effort.
While the Emilia-Romagna region now addresses the tragedy with the best wishes and prayers of the entire Formula 1 community behind them, Imola can be safe in the knowledge that Formula 1 is contracted to return, even if the 2023 staging of the event cannot be rescheduled for later in the year.
Imola’s contract to host the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix runs until the end of 2025, though with this latest planned staging now going down as a non-event, this may be about to add an extra year onto those terms.
With the prospect of a rescheduled 2023 Emilia Romagna GP looking unlikely to come to pass, Angelo Sticchi Damiani, president of promoter the Automobile Club of Italy, is “99 per cent” sure that this year’s event will now be moved to 2026, effectively giving Imola an extra year on their contract.
And considering the huge demand from promoters across the globe to secure a place on the Formula 1 calendar, an additional year of security really would be a huge positive to shine some light onto a very dark situation for Italy.
Speaking to LaPresse when the 2023 Emilia Romagna GP cancellation decision was made, Damiani said: “The cancellation of the Imola GP has been decided. At 99% it will be recovered in 2026 after the contract extension.”
Monaco Grand Prix safe despite Imola chaos
With some equipment stranded at the Imola circuit which had been declared a no-go zone, it had raised question marks over the viability of the Monaco Grand Prix which is scheduled for the following weekend.
It was widely reported though on Thursday morning that essential personnel had been allowed to return to the track to get the pack-up operation underway ahead of the move to Monte Carlo.
The Formula 1 paddock had escaped the worst of the impacts, with the TV pen and Formula 2 paddock suffering from the highest water levels as the nearby Santerno River burst its banks.
The necessary equipment will now though be transported in time to get everything up and running in Monaco, with the race weekend to be held from May 26-28.