Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – This afternoon the sixth round of the 2023 F1 season was officially called off after much speculation due to safety concerns.
The Emilia Romagna region has been hit by heavy rain and flooding recently while the Santerno river, which runs beside the circuit, also burst its banks and caused the track to be evacuated yesterday afternoon and personnel told this morning that there would be no access to the facilities while images circulated of flooding in the F2 paddock.
The official decision was made after F1 discussed the issues with the FIA President, Mohammed ben Sulayem, the race promoter, the Mayor of the City, the President of the Automobile Club of Italy, the President of Emilia-Romagna Region, and other relevant Ministers.
It was concluded that everything should be called off now as “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.”
Prior to the official decision being made, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister, Matteo Salvini had called for the event to be postponed for those reasons, saying: “It is necessary and dutiful to concentrate all efforts to deal with the emergency, avoiding other problems such as traffic overload in a hard-hit area that needs relief”.
Scuderia AlphaTauri, whose factory is in Imola’s neighbouring town of Faenza, put out a message this morning which read: “Scuderia AlphaTauri is very concerned about events unfolding over the past hours in Faenza and indeed the whole Emilia-Romagna area, with flooding and heavy rain causing considerable damage.
“The team’s factory is currently unaffected and everything is being done to ensure the safety of our employees and their families.
“Our sympathies go out to all those affected and we continue to monitor the situation, to see what can be done to help those in need as we await further developments.”
The team also posted a link for donations to an emergency relief fund.
“It is such a tragedy,” Formula 1 President and CEO, Stefano Domenicali, said, “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 of 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.”