Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Matteo Salvini has called for this weekend’s Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to be postponed due to severe flooding in the region.
For the second time in a few weeks, severe weather has wreaked havoc across Emilia Romagna, with reports of severe flooding in the Imola district, the city of Bologna and other parts of the Italian region.
Ahead of crisis talks between F1, the FIA and Italian officials over whether or not the Imola race weekend would go ahead, F1 staff were told to stay away from the circuit on Wednesday amid fears the situation could escalate.
to speak Sky ItalyDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Salvini called for the “extension” of the Imola race in view of the “bad weather emergency that is hitting Emilia-Romagna”.
Salvini emphasized “to give ourselves to the work of aid”.
Even if the weather conditions improve as expected and the action can go ahead, staging a grand prix in front of a capacity crowd will put a huge strain on the local infrastructure and emergency services when the local population is there. He has more pressing needs.
Images emerged on Wednesday of support paddocks and TVs flooded and several vital highways turned into rivers.
According to Sky Italia, the death toll in the region has now reached five.
“Twenty-four municipalities have been flooded, all the rivers in Emilia Romagna have accidentally overflowed,” Civil Protection Minister Nello Musumesi said.
“The average rainfall in 36 hours is 200 mm, but in some areas it has reached 500 mm. If you consider that the rainfall in one year is 1,000 mm, you will understand how much rain has been in the last 36 hours.”
The options theoretically on the table for F1 and the FIA are to cancel or postpone the entire event, or to push ahead with a compressed schedule, losing valuable setup time. The organizers can decide to reduce the number of spectators entering the venue or to hold the competition behind closed doors.
Alfatauri, based in the nearby city of Faenza, released the following statement on social media.
“Scuderia AlphaTauri is very concerned about the events taking place in Faenza and the Emilia Romagna region in the last hours, with floods and heavy rain causing significant damage,” he said.
“The group’s factory is currently safe and everything is being done to ensure the safety of our employees and their families.
“Our condolences go out to all those affected and we will continue to monitor the situation to see what can be done to help those in need while we await further developments.”
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motor sports images