Haas back Imola GP cancellation after witnessing flood devastation first hand

Henry Valantine
A marshal sweeps rain off track. Imola May 2022.

A marshal tries to clear rain from the track surface at Imola. Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 2022.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has thrown his support behind Formula 1’s cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix this weekend, declaring that members of his team have already seen first hand how flooding in the area is impacting local residents.

Heavy rainfall in the past few days in northern Italy has seen the area surrounding Imola and the greater Emilia Romagna region at large begin to flood, with footage circulating on social media of rivers with burst banks and flooded roads and town centres.

Selected Formula 1 staff members were setting up the paddock on Tuesday for the arrival of their teams in the coming days, with garages and hospitality units being put in place as part of standard pre-race weekend preparations.

But with the rain pouring down and nearby flooding, those staff members were asked to leave the circuit as a precautionary measure, before being instructed to not return on Wednesday morning to continue their work.

High-level talks were held between Formula 1, the FIA and local authorities in the Emilia Romagna region on Wednesday morning and the decision eventually came to cancel the race, with several teams and drivers having since voiced their support for the decision to do so.

Haas team boss Steiner added his voice to those backing the move, explaining that some of his staff members have seen the impact of the flooding at close quarters – with Haas operating their technical team from Maranello, near the headquarters of Ferrari.

“Our entire team’s thoughts are very much with the people affected by the flooding in the Emilia Romagna region – many of our track personnel having already seen for themselves the impact it’s having on the people and the area,” he said.

“We are fully supportive of Formula 1 and the FIA’s decision to not proceed with this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

“We will continue to keep the local community in mind, their on-going safety is paramount, and we express our thanks to the authorities and emergency services in the region for their tireless efforts at this challenging time.”

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Separately, Mercedes also back the move to cancel the race, saying in a statement: “The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team fully supports the decision by F1, the FIA, the race promoters and local authorities to not proceed with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend.

“The safety of the people in the Emilia Romagna region must take priority, alongside allowing local authorities and emergency services to continue their vital work helping those in need.

“Our thoughts are with the victims, families and communities who have been affected by the flooding in the region.”