F1 makes enormous donation to Emilia-Romagna disaster relief after deadly floods

Sam Cooper
Swollen Santerno River near the Imola track. Emilia-Romagna Italy, May 2023.

Rising water levels on the Santerno River near the Imola Circuit. Italy, May 2023.

Formula 1 will give €1 million to the disaster relief fund in Emilia-Romagna after heavy flooding has caused major disruption in the area.

The 2023 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix had been set to take place this weekend but a decision was made on Wednesday by F1 to cancel the race and allow emergency services to continue assisting those trapped in the area.

The region has faced severe weather since the start of the month causing the Santerno River, which runs right next to the track, to burst its banks and cause damage to the paddock area.

But the situation is far worse in other parts with at least nine people having lost their lives and thousands evacuated from their homes.

Formula 1 said it would provide €1 million to the Emilia-Romagna Region’s Agency for Territorial Safety and Civil Protection to support the communities affected by the flooding in the region, matching the figure donated by Ferrari.

Food and water that would have been used in the Paddock Club, the circuit, team/F1 hospitality has also been donated to a group organising food banks to aid those affected by flooding.

F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali said: “I was born and grew up in the marvellous lands of Emilia-Romagna, a place that is living through some of the saddest moments in its history.

“The situation facing the communities in the region is terrible, but I know that the resilience and passion of the people in the region, like so many across Italy, will prevail through this crisis.

“We must do everything we can to support them at this difficult time and that is why we are donating to help support the relief efforts on the ground. My thoughts, on behalf of the entire Formula 1 community, are with everyone affected and we want to thank the emergency services for their incredible work.”

F1 is not the only one to donate with Ferrari pledging the same amount earlier in the week. AlphaTauri, whose base is in the region, encouraged people to donate to relief funds while their driver Yuki Tsunoda was pictured helping clean up.

Race cancelled after issuing of Italy’s most severe weather warning

The decision to call off this weekend’s race came on Wednesday afternoon following a meeting between F1 personnel, local authorities and organisers of the race. Earlier in the week, F1 staff had been instructed to leave the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari before being advised to stay away on Wednesday as heavy rain continued to fall.

Italy has issued the most severe red weather warnings as flooding and landslides have left parts of the region devastated,

A Formula 1 statement at the time of the cancellation said: “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.”