The threat to human life and the devastation of local towns and villages take a greater priority this weekend as the sixth round of the 2023 FIA Formula One World Championship was cancelled due to bad weather in the local region around the circuit in Imola.
On Wednesday, Formula One staff were advised not to travel to the circuit due to the heavy rain, with a maximum red weather warning in place. The Santerno River located close to the circuit is also currently very high and the warning is in place due to concerns that it may burst its banks.
This follows an evacuation of the circuit on Tuesday for the safety of staff, with the support paddocks currently underwater, along with the car parks for the track.
Formula One released a statement shortly after midday in the United Kingdom stating that “The Formula 1 community wants to send its thoughts to the people and communities affected by the recent events in the Emilia-Romagna region. 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 at Imola.
“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.
Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1, said: “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.
“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.”
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.”
The next race on the Formula One calendar is the Monaco Grand Prix, which takes place next weekend.