Imola, 2020

F1 cancels the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix due to flooding in Imola

2023 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Formula 1’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola this weekend has been called off due to flooding of the venue and the local area.

Wet weather has been having a destructive effect in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy for several weeks, and the highest level of weather alert has already been issued several times this week.

Preparations to hold the race had already begun. However the Santerno river which runs alongside the paddock and track was swelling with rainfall from elsewhere in the region, and its water level rose until it burst its banks on Tuesday afternoon.

Perimeter barriers around the track initially prevented that from flooding the paddock. But the situation posed such a risk that the teams due to arrive in the support paddock the next morning were told they would not be allowed to do so. Soon afterwards, those already working at the track were informed they needed to leave as a safety precaution.

That evening the Wednesday morning prohibition was extended to the whole day, and then to the whole paddock as F1 teams and media were informed the circuit would be closed for the day as the weather situation was monitored.

Wednesday began with more rain which put the support paddock and its power supply underwater, rendering it useless even if it had been safe to work there, and talks took place between local authorities and the circuit about the plan for Thursday and beyond with the prospect of less rain but a river that was still swelling and was already posing a flood risk to the town of Imola.

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At 13:15 local time, F1 put out a statement announcing the grand prix would be cancelled. The supporting Formula 2 and Formula 3 events have also been called off.

“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 said. “It would not be right to put further pressure on the local authorities and emergency services at this difficult time.”

“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,” said Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

“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.”

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “My thoughts and those of the entire FIA family are with those affected by the terrible situation in the Emilia Romagna region. The safety of everyone involved and recovery efforts are the top priority at this time.”

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2023 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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    Ida Wood
    Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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    71 comments on “F1 cancels the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix due to flooding in Imola”

    1. Sounds like the right decision. F1’s wait for a 23-race season continues.

      1. Yeah, clearly the right decision given what the region is dealing with.

    2. Probably the only way to prevent Red Bull from winning a race this season

      1. technically this isn’t a race anymore, as it never started.

        1. I bet Sainz still gets a penalty XD

        2. See “Belgian Grand Prix, 2021”. That race never started either.

          1. yet half points were awarded for that farce.

          2. Technically it did

          3. and imola 1994 is still going

        3. You say five times, I don’t disagree. Score: politics 2, lawyers 3. And that’s out of about 1,100 F1 races. Are we getting totally paranoid? Where is the balance between driver safety (good thing) and sponsor’s financial bottom line (I don’t give a diddly.) Tracks, including Imola, are FIA approved, at owners’ cost. Potential flooding can be reliably predicted from regional infrastructure (water evacuation, not rocket science.) Critical thinking can only conclude that the Imola/FIA contract was flawed.
          The losers? All of us who who are fans of F1 racing

      2. I think still think they’ll manage to win one 👍

    3. it’s only happend 5x a GP was cancceled.
      1957 dutch/belgian GP due to the suez crisis, 1969 because spa didn’t build the new safety requirements, 1983 new york because the track never was…, 1985 because spa didn’t lay down the more safe tarmac for wet weather, and 2011 bahrein because of protests/terror

      1. Presumably Australia 2020 would also count @cdfemke, since the teams were already at the track when the decision to cancel was made?

        1. @red-andy Technically, yes.

        2. Are we the unluckiest fans. Our last Grand Prix we attended was Australia 2020. We were on the grid walk in Melbourne on the Thursday, only to be cancelled Friday morning. Our next race, Imola this weekend, bags packed, ready to leave for Heathrow and we get the sad news.
          Ever the optimist though, we just booked tickets now for Spain. Fingers crossed.

          1. Then let’s assume spain is cancelled, just to play it safe!

          2. You booked tickets for one of the most boring GP of the season but atleast you’ll experience the race.

      2. Surely @cdfemke there were a lot of cancelled races when Covid hit too – not just (as @red-andy points out) Australia 2020, there were probably close to 20 cancellations across ’20 and ’21 alone.

        1. @ahxshades even if we exclude the races cancelled due to the pandemic, the list of cancelled races appears to be longer than just five – for a start, 1955 alone saw four races cancelled (France, Switzerland, Germany and Spain all cancelled their races) in the wake of the fatal accident at the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year.

          You could also list events such as the 1983 Swiss Grand Prix (cancelled because the French TV networks, which owned the distrubution rights, decided they didn’t want to pay for the cost of broadcasting a second race in France that year), the 1971 Belgian Grand Prix (cancelled due to the circuit failing to meet safety standards) or the 1971 and 1972 Mexican Grand Prix (cancelled due to a combination of safety concerns, given the near riots that broke out in 1968 and 1970, and partially due to Pedro Rodriguez’s death resulting in a sharp decline in the popularity of Formula 1 in Mexico), to name just a few possible contenders.

          I guess it depends to some extent how exactly you define a race being cancelled, but, if you take Motorsport Magazine’s recent estimate, they put the figure at over 50 races being cancelled over the years.

    4. Broccoliface
      17th May 2023, 12:31

      If only it was a missile strike it could go ahead

      1. It was a drone I believe. And the effect of this flood was much worse.

    5. RandomMallard
      17th May 2023, 12:32

      I think they’ve come to the right decision. It clearly is not suitable to host a race at Imola at the moment, and it would be an unnecessary diversion of resources that could be used for much more important purposes. Its the right call.

      1. Yes. This is correct. It sounds like even tomorrow it might have been difficult to get people into the paddock, even with less rain. The event would just put extra pressure on everyone, both F1 staff and the local services.

    6. I thought the event could go ahead to some extent & with some compromises, but ultimately a wise decision to put spectator, driver, personnel, etc., safety ahead.

      1. Ironically, one less triple-header for this season.

    7. For the last few years F1 have planned calendars with record numbers of races, but there have been cancellations each year, perhaps F1 should take the hint and stop trying to always increase the calendar.

      1. Or @pja perhaps they should plan more races knowing that some may fall out?

        1. @ahxshades Such an approach would be excessive because cancellations for anything other than COVID (when it still impacted matters) are rare.

          1. The point being made @jerejj, is that with less stable weather patterns, the risk of things like this (and indead outbreaks of diseases) increases, so the what @ahxshades writes probably makes a lot of sense.

            Plan more events and count on 1-3 regularly having to be dropped because during the year.

            1. Well, 24 is the base limit, & with next season’s race calendar probably featuring this figure anyway, the possibility of one event facing a relatively last-minute cancellation would mean 23, so less unideal, but I get the general point.

            2. @bascb I forgot to tag you.

            3. @bascb It’s a good point that weather patterns are set to become more unstable. How Formula 1 should respond, I don’t know. In many ways, it’s part of the problem, not the solution. Not just the carbon footprint of the teams, tests, practices and races, but holding big sports events themselves with all the travelling of spectators and media teams involved. So holding even more races to compensate for potential cancellations due to climate change seems a bit perverse.

            4. I am sorry, but I have to call you out. Weather patterns are NOT more unstable then in years pass. Dont believe the hype. They are just reported more widely around the world.

    8. Coventry Climax
      17th May 2023, 12:50

      I think we have all seen some sort of footage from the area by now.
      A decision to go ahead with this GP would be madness.
      Sad there’s no GP, but there’s something to celebrate here after all: The FIA have, for once, made a correct decision! And timely too!

    9. While no single extreme weather event can be attributed to global warming, extreme events are becoming more frequent.

      You reap what you sow…

    10. Liberty will be frothing at the mouth and writhing in agony at the thought of a weekend’s lost revenue.

      My best wishes and sympathies to all the Local communities there having to deal with this.
      We get flooding occasionally here down in the valley, and it’s a horrible, destructive mess to have to clean up :(

    11. Wouldn’t be surprised if they awarded half points to Max

    12. I heard from Dutch F1 fans who were there things were looking very bad and went helping the local people. When i heard that i knew there wouldn’t possible to held a event there this weekend.

      1. @macleod Good to hear about the fans helping.
        Now if F1 would redirect all or some of the hosting fee to assist with remedial work for the people and the area I’d be happy.

        1. That is indeed quite clear how bad it is yeah @macleod, and really good to see they went on to help out as best as they could.

          Agree that would be really a solid move @davedai

    13. A wise decision. It would have been ludicrous (and tasteless) to host a race in a region under a state of emergency..

      Question: given that the recent Imola GP’s have been plagued by bad weather, be it either rain or cold, why not put the event in the beginning of summer, like after Austria?

      1. @fw11b Such extreme weather conditions are a rare outlier for Imola + Imola is normally okay & warm (if not even more than only warm depending on a given year) in the Northern Hemisphere spring, especially this deep into spring.
        However, early-summer would also be okay, like Spanish GP this year.
        Next season might have the Emilia-Romagna GP in early-June following the Monaco GP in some scenarios anyway. We’ll see.

        1. @jerejj I hope so.. rain is fun when it’s intermittent, but boring and dangerous when it’s a downpour..

        2. @jerejj are you occy by any chance?

          1. @Simon I had to Google ‘occy’ to find out it’s an Australian slang term for octopus. No, I’m not, lol.

      2. Coventry Climax
        17th May 2023, 18:55

        Wonderful idea. Now why again was it they haven’t done that to the Spa grandprix?

    14. Thankfully a good decision and not something that comes at the very last minute.

      Climate change saying no to Formula 1 in its own way.

    15. Quick, someone blame this cancellation on the supposed lack of quality of the Piralli rain rubber.

      1. Coventry Climax
        17th May 2023, 18:59

        Nah, Pirelli was eager to try out the new trick to influence things mid-season, so it’s not them. Might have to do with people unable to spell names correctly though. ;-)

        1. Might have to do with people unable to spell names correctly though. ;-)

          Maybe he was aiming for a spelling quality to match the Pirelli wet rubber? :)

          1. I mean piralli really sounds like a rally tyre, and considering the amount of water around the area this event, would’ve made sense.

    16. So, is the Emilia Romagna grand Prix now totally excluded from this season’s calendar or postponed until further notice? I presume alternative dates may not be available.

      1. The only place it could fit in is between Britain and Hungary on 16/07 but that would make 4 weeks of grand prix without a break. After the summer break there isn’t any space due to all the fly away races. That’s of course just taking the actual free weekend into account and not the challenges it would pose for teams rearranging travel and shipping and of course ensuring whether the circuit is available and the town has the ability to support that date too.

        All in all I suspect it will be a full cancellation that they will confirm in the next few days. Note the statement does say cancel and not postpone so it maybe they’ve already written it off as this decision has been coming for a few days.

      2. @myrrve @slowmo
        Totally, of course, because the remaining schedule has zero suitable gaps for rescheduling & if rescheduling were an intention, this would’ve got mentioned in the statement or the word postponement, etc.
        The only long enough gap to fit in would be the summer-break interval to avoid putting Imola on consecutive weekends with a freight-event location or getting an impossibly long successive weekend stretch, although this gap would mean shortened summer break & no or less room for factory shutdowns, so also impractical.

    17. Seems a sensible decision given the footage that’s been circulating also it clearly would not have been possible to ensure the safety of all fans and would have put strain on the local resources when these should be more focused on helping those in need at present. Will be interesting to see if teams take the upgrades they planned to Monaco or wait for Spain.

    18. No hope for rescheduling? Could it at least replace Monza later in the year?

      1. No, zero space/suitable intervals for rescheduling within the remaining race calendar & why should Imola replace Monza for the sake of replacing? @huhhii

        1. @jerejj Just me daydreaming as I have a big dislike towards Monza.

          1. @huhhii Okay, I didn’t realize that.

          2. @huhhii why do you dislike Monza?

            1. @nvherman It’s too outdated and doesn’t challenge drivers enough. And while overtaking is possible all overtakes look exactly the same and are as exciting as your typical DRS pass.

    19. At least someone didn’t have to come and say “Cash is king” before it was decided to cancel the race.

      1. @hatebreeder Like in Melbourne 2020.

        1. @jerejj
          For Pete’s sake, you’re replying to nearly every post now? As well as replying to your own posts?

          1. At least he replies to everyone, instead of picking on 1-2 specific people.

          2. @ simon I want somebody to be as obsessed to me as you are to commenting

    20. Chicken of the sea
      17th May 2023, 15:48

      It’s Karma, plain and simple. F1( FIA), outlawed the boat races in Montreal, on the rowing basin, so now it’s all coming back on them. This is a golden opportunity to reinstall the mechanic boat race, at Imola. Could be a classic.

    21. Maybe they could donate the catering from the weekend to the local community ?

    22. Nature is stronger than us.

    23. I’m trying to write this here one last time we didn’t have the qatar airways gran premio del made in italy e dell’emilia-romagna gp 2023

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