Update on Emilia Romagna GP status with paddock a no-go zone

Jamie Woodhouse
Esteban Ocon's Alpine on wet tyres in the pit lane. Imola April 2022.

Esteban Ocon's Alpine on wet tyres in the pit lane during Emilia Romagna Grand Prix qualifying. Imola April 2022.

Preparations for the scheduled Emilia Romagna GP are being hampered by severe weather conditions at the Imola circuit.

With five rounds of the F1 2023 campaign now in the books, the next stop on the calendar is the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, this a region which in recent weeks has sadly suffered from flooding and landslides which have claimed two lives, while hundreds were forced to evacuate their homes.

That originally did not put the Emilia Romagna GP at Imola’s Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari at risk of cancellation, a spokesperson telling PlanetF1.com last week: “We confirm that, at the moment, the storms that hit our region this week haven’t caused any disruption to our track and to the event.”

Unfortunately though the bad weather has made a return in the build-up to the event.

The Emilia Romagna region is subject to fresh extreme weather warnings from the Italian Met Office for floods and landslides, with up to 100 millimetres of rain having been forecast to fall in the worst-affected areas by the end of Wednesday.

PlanetF1.com understands Formula 1 bosses are meeting on Wednesday to discuss the next steps from here as rainfall totals continue to mount up, and the nearby River Santerno rises.

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The situation took a concerning turn on Tuesday when a precautionary evacuation of Formula 1 personnel was ordered from the Imola circuit, as water began building up in parts of the paddock.

Some members of the Alpine crew were forced to evacuate their hotel in Imola, while some AlphaTauri team members left their homes and stayed at the nearby AlphaTauri factory in Faenza. The team has tweeted asking for donations for all those sadly affected by the flooding.

PlanetF1.com also understands that the authorities have asked all personnel not to travel to the circuit on Wednesday with the track a no-go zone.

The worst of the weather is expected to clear by the time of the scheduled race weekend, even though further, less intense rain is forecast throughout, but it is not just the track conditions which need to be considered by the higher-ups who are debating the fate of the race weekend.

Access for the anticipated bumper crowd, as well as emergency personnel, are key issues with flooding impacting the roads and infrastructure around the circuit. A decision on the race weekend is expected at 1400 local time, according to sources.

Whether a postponement of the race is announced remains to be seen, though that it appears is the wish of Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, who wants to see the focus placed on relief efforts in the region.