Further extreme flooding in the Emilia-Romagna region has cancelled Formula 1’s visit to the Imola Circuit, and the devastating impacts which they are dealing with are clear to see.
As weather conditions are set to improve somewhat come the Emilia Romagna GP race weekend, there was initially hope that the event could still go on, but sadly the rain deluge which arrived in the preceding days brought the kind of impacts that were feared.
The Italian Met Office had issues red extreme weather warnings for Tuesday and Wednesday, and indeed as the rain set in on Tuesday a precautionary evacuation of all F1 personnel from the circuit was ordered. Rising water levels on the nearby River Santerno were an immediate concern for the circuit with the associated flood risk.
#ImolaGP 🇮🇹: All teams present on the Imola Circuit have just been asked to evacuate the premises within 30 minutes. ⚠️
Risk of flooding is currently high. pic.twitter.com/ZrUnjo0pci
— deni (@fiagirly) May 16, 2023
Alpine and the nearby AlphaTauri team reported disruption with some of the Alpine personnel forced to evacuate their Imola hotel, while some AlphaTauri staff fled their homes and headed for the team’s Faenza factory.
Footage from the hotel where those Alpine team members were staying demonstrated exactly why an evacuation was needed.
— Tim Coronel (@TimCoronel) May 17, 2023
And with water levels building up in the paddock and throughout the surrounding areas, the Imola track became a no-go zone on Wednesday as Formula 1 chiefs and the relevant officials held talks to determine the fate of the race weekend, with that day’s rainfall expected to exceed the totals from Tuesday.
Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini was calling for the postponement of the race so that the nation could “focus on relief” for all of those affected.
— Local Team (@localteamtv) May 17, 2023
And ultimately the decision was made to cancel the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Formula 1 acknowledging that considering the circumstances, it was the “right and responsible thing to do” in order to avoid placing further and unnecessary stress on the emergency services.
And this is where the importance of going racing to entertain becomes rather irrelevant, with the kind of scenes which these brave people are dealing with making that point perfectly clear.
The images below were posted originally on Instagram by the president of Emilia Romagna Stefano Bonaccini.
for those who are complaining about the cancellation of the Imola GP, these are the conditions that Emilia Romagna is currently facing pic.twitter.com/gbxn0SRKyn
— 𝘮𝘦𝘭𝘪 𝘷𝘢𝘯 𝘴𝘶𝘯𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘦 (@gloriouspride) May 17, 2023
For Formula 1 all is not lost, after all the season moves on to Monaco next weekend and the show will be back on the road, but for the people dealing with this tragedy in Northern Italy, for many this will be a difficult and upsetting process, and we send our prayers and best wishes to them throughout.
¿Triste que no haya #F1 en Imola? Esto es lo realmente triste. Faenza, a pocos kilómetros del circuito. 😢
📷Stefano Tedioli – il Resto del Carlino pic.twitter.com/4K001lZpSc
— Diego Mejia (@diegofmejia) May 17, 2023
Feature image credit: Local Team TV