Formula 1 has canceled this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix because of heavy flooding in the northern Italian region, citing safety concerns.
At least eight people have been killed by heavy flooding and mudslides in the region with more than 13,000 residents being forced to evacuate, according to local authorities.
Firemen and civil protection rescuers evacuate a woman with an inflatable boat in Forli on May 17, 2023 after heavy rains have caused major floodings in central Italy, where trains were stopped and schools were closed in many towns while people were asked to leave the ground floors of their homes and to avoid going out. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
At least eight killed by heavy flooding in Italy, as river levels continue to rise
On Tuesday, motorsport staff were asked to leave the site of the race amid concerns regarding flooding, an F1 source told CNN.
“The Formula 1 community wants to send its thoughts to the people and communities affected by the recent events in the Emilia-Romagna region,” said F1 in a statement. “We also want to pay tribute to the work of the emergency services who are doing everything they can to help those in need.
“Following discussions between Formula 1, the President of the FIA, the competent authorities including the relevant Ministers, the President of the Automobile Club of Italy, the President of Emilia Romagna Region, the Mayor of the City and the promoter the decision has been taken not to proceed with the Grand Prix weekend in Imola,” added the F1 statement.
“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 and responsible thing to do given the situation faced by the towns and cities in the region.
“It would not be right to put further pressure on the local authorities and emergency services at this difficult time.”
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who is the current world champion and, racing at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari racetrack in Imola, Italy, Sunday, April 24, 2022.
Stefano Domenica, President and CEO of F1, said it was “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.”
“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,” added Domenica.
The Emilia Romagna GP was due to have been the sixth race of the season on the F1 calendar.