Lawrence EdmondsonF1 editorRead 3 minutes
Formula One announced on Wednesday that the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola in Italy will not go ahead after severe weather caused flooding in the area.
F1 held meetings with local officials and the race promoter on Wednesday before agreeing to the event.
“The decision has been passed for our fans, teams and staff, considering the situation in the cities and towns of the region, it is an appropriate and responsible action,” he said. F1 said in a statement.
“It would be unfair to put more pressure on local authorities and emergency services at this difficult time.”
The Grand Prix was to be the sixth round of the season and the first of three races in a row, with events in Monaco and Spain taking place over the next two weekends.
F1 will consider rescheduling the race later in the year, but the packed calendar and the sport’s two-week summer break in August mean finding a suitable date is impossible.
Heavy rains in the area caused flooding on Tuesday night, raising fears that the Santerno river near the Imola district could overflow. The district was on high alert following a red weather alert earlier on Tuesday for flash floods and landslides in the area.
The cars weren’t on the road until Friday, but team members were already preparing guest rooms and garages in Imola. Crews were told to stay away from the circuit on Wednesday as F1 officials met with local officials and came to the conclusion that the incident could not go ahead.
Authorities in northern Italy warned residents to move to higher ground on Wednesday and confirmed that flooding had killed at least five people, forced the evacuation of about 5,000 people and suspended some train services.
F1’s announcement followed a statement by Italy’s transport minister Matteo Salvini, who said it was “necessary to focus all efforts to deal with the accident situation”, including avoiding traffic congestion in the area.
F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali said: “It is very sad to see what has happened to the city and region I grew up in, Imola and Emilia Romagna, and my thoughts and prayers are with the families and communities affected by the floods. Touched.
“I want to express my gratitude and appreciation to the wonderful emergency services who are working tirelessly to help those in need and to alleviate the situation – they are heroes and the whole of Italy is proud of them.
“The decision to ensure safety in the face of this dire situation and not to burden the authorities is the right one for the local communities and everyone in the F1 family.”