While the real-life Emilia Romagna GP will not go ahead due to devastating flooding in the region, the racing will go on virtually to help those sadly impacted.
Formula 1’s scheduled visit to Imola at the weekend for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is sadly not going ahead as the region was forced to contend with a further bout of severe flooding and landslides.
There was strong hope at the start of the week that the event was not under threat, but further heavy rainfall on the Tuesday and Wednesday meant that the only fair decision was for Formula 1 to cancel the race weekend.
But F1 personnel have already been active in helping the relief efforts in Emilia-Romagna, the Ferrari team and F1 themselves having donated €1 million each to the Emilia-Romagna Region’s Agency for Territorial Safety and Civil Protection, while AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda joined the clean-up effort in the team’s home town of Faenza.
And on Saturday from 1700 UK time, the Williams team launched their ‘Race for Imola Charity GP’ with all proceeds going to the flood relief fund.
The virtual racing action featured familiar faces like driver Alex Albon and team boss James Vowles, while Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois were also involved.
The stream on Twitch can be accessed here, and this is not the only charitable virtual racing action of the weekend to note down on your calendar.
That is because on Sunday, May 21, we will see the return of the ‘Real Racers Never Quit’ concept, the event held by Team Redline and featuring two-time F1 World Champion and F1 2023 Championship leader Max Verstappen among many more.
Verstappen in fact was behind the idea for this charity initiative according to the team, with the event set to get underway from 15:30 CET [14:30 BST].
Team Redline director Atze Kerkhof told RacingNews365.com: “The idea was all on the initiative of Max Verstappen himself.
“When it became clear that the F1 race was not going ahead, they approached us asking if we could set something up at short notice.
“We hope the event will be a success, sports-wise, but certainly also in view of the charity.”
The entry list understandably has a rather Red Bull-heavy feel, with junior drivers Ayumu Iwasa, Isack Hadjar, Jack Crawford, Enzo Fittipaldi and Arvid Lindblad among the entrants.
Reigning Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich, now serving as Aston Martin’s reserve driver, and Alpine junior Jack Doohan are also among the featured names.