Sprint race start, Imola, 2022

Cancelled Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix unlikely to reappear on 2023 F1 schedule

2023 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Formula 1 is unlikely to reinstate the cancelled Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix to its schedule this year.

The series took the decision to call off the race earlier today due to heavy flooding in the region which began to affect preparations at the Imola circuit yesterday. The cancellation of what would have been the sixth round of the championship cuts the 2023 F1 calendar to 22 races.

It’s been a tough year for the circuit so far. Besides the effects of the flooding, last month’s Four Hours of Imola – a round of the European Le Mans Series – was cancelled due to late-running construction work.

F1 originally planned to hold a record 24 races this year. However the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix, which was due to take place last month, had already reduced the total.

Unless the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix is rescheduled for later this year, F1 will hold a 22-race schedule for the third year running. And there are no obvious opportunities for a rescheduled race to take place.

The first priority, of course, is the recovery of an area which has suffered terribly in recent weeks and is continuing to. Thousands have been forced to leave their homes and several people have lost their lives. Compared to that, a motor race is of no importance whatsoever.

But a time will come when the region is able and ready to welcome motorsport back, and when that happens the income brought by visitors will be welcome.

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The extent of the damage to the circuit and surrounding infrastructure will be the first constraining factor on when a race may go ahead. Between now and the beginning of the summer break, which follows the Belgian Grand Prix in August 30th, there are no gaps in which a race could be added which wouldn’t create an unprecedented quadruple or quintuple-header.

Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Imola, 2020
F1 raced at Imola in November three years ago
Between the Belgian round and the Dutch Grand Prix four weeks later, the rules require teams to shut down their factories and cease work on their cars. It’s unlikely teams would agree to change those regulations in order to add another race at the very time of year when staff expect to be able to have some time at home.

Imola has held races late in the year before: The 2020 event took place in November. But even looking that late in the calendar for a slot yields no likely solutions.

The sheer density of the schedule in the second half of the season leaves no gaps for a race to be added without arranging events on four consecutive weekends in multiple continents.

The season is due to end with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 26th. The Yas Marina Circuit is contracted to occupy the prestigious season finale slot, and in the days afterwards already has a post-season test planned for the F1 paddock. Even if F1 could get around Yas Marina’s contractual position, conditions at Imola in December would likely be too cool for a race to go ahead there anyway.

Although Italy will hold a round of the world championship at Monza in September, Imola seems unlikely to return to the schedule until next year. Another factor to take in now is that the 2023 cancellation gives Imola an extra challenge to appear on the 2024 calendar, as F1’s sporting regulations state: “A Competition which is cancelled with less than three months’ written notice to the FIA will not be considered for inclusion in the following year’s championship unless the FIA judges the cancellation to have been due to force majeure.”

If an Imola return is on the cards for 2024, that will at least allow the region and its people time to recover and rebuild following the terrible ordeal they are going through at the moment.

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 7 comments on “Cancelled Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix unlikely to reappear on 2023 F1 schedule”

    1. Kyle (@hammerheadgb)
      17th May 2023, 15:20

      F1’s sporting regulations state: “A Competition which is cancelled with less than three months’ written notice to the FIA will not be considered for inclusion in the following year’s championship unless the FIA judges the cancellation to have been due to force majeure.”

      This is a pretty much textbook example of force majeure, so I doubt Imola will have an issue in this regard.

      1. Exactly what I was about to post. This won’t -can’t – cause an issue next year.

    2. I’ve already posted about this, but rescheduling would be impossible rather than unlikely because of certain impracticalities (longer-than-triple-header consecutive weekend stretches, which are simply unachievable in any case & because truck events can’t occur on back-to-back weekends with freight events, i.e., flyaways) that make all existing intervals unsuitable, even the summer-break gap because putting Imola on the middle weekend would mean zero space for factory shutdowns (as referenced in the article to an extent).
      Even the post-Spa & pre-Zandvoort weekends would mean only shortened shutdowns at maximum, i.e., week instead two as mandated by the rules.
      Therefore, next season’s Emilia-Romagna GP will be F1’s next Imola race.

      1. Well done for repeating the article

        1. @eurobrun Well said. Not the first time @jerejj has done this, also commenting before reading the full article

        2. @eurobrun @Simon
          I didn’t repeat the full article but essentially pointed out that I share the views & that ‘impossible’ is the more fitting word.
          I also wanted to mention some aspects that aren’t in the article or were lacking something, so a bit different from how you interpreted my intention.

    3. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
      17th May 2023, 16:18

      As @hammerheadgb said, this case is a textbook case of force majeure,so i guess there’s not a risk of imola not appearing in the 2024 calendar. Don’t forget that next year also, it’s gonna mark 30 years since that ill fated weekend, so i really doubt that Imola is in danger

    Comments are closed.