Formula One has announced that it is cancelling this weekend's Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola due to extreme weather conditions and flooding throughout the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy. The race was scheduled to be the sixth of the 2023 F1 season and the tour's first stop in Europe.
The cancellation of the Grand Prix comes one day after the Imola circuit was evacuated on Tuesday as the Santerno river reached dangerously high levels and left parts of the racetrack flooded. On Wednesday morning, F1 cancelled this weekend's race following discussions with racing and local authorities.
"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 thing and responsible thing to do given the situation faced by the towns and cities in the region," read an F1 statement. "It would not be right to put further pressure on the local authorities and emergency services at this difficult time."
Imola, autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola allagato, Gran Premio Formula 1 annullato #imola #formula1 #granpremio #emiliaromagna #localteam pic.twitter.com/PqOoXmfBnO— Local Team (@localteamtv) May 17, 2023
Similar sentiments were expressed by F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, who is an Imola native.
"It is such a tragedy to see what has happened to Imola and Emilia Romagna, the town and region that I grew up in and my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the flooding and the families and communities affected," Domenicali said. "I want to express my gratitude and admiration for the incredible emergency services who are working tirelessly to help those who need help and alleviate the situation – they are heroes and the whole of Italy is proud on them.
"The decision that has been taken is the right one for everyone in the local communities and the F1 family as we need to ensure safety and not create extra burden for the authorities while they deal with this very awful situation."
It is currently not known whether the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix will be rescheduled for later in the season. The Grand Prix is the second race of the 2023 F1 season to be cancelled, joining the Chinese Grand Prix that was left off the schedule for a fourth straight season due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19 in China.