Why did Formula One cancel the 2023 Emilia Romagna GP?

Currently, the Emilia Romagna region is under a red threat-level warning from the Italian authorities due to pouring rain and fears of flooding and landslides.

The Enzo e Dino Ferrari International Circuit, host of the Emilia-Romagna GP. (Image: F1)
By Nilavro Ghosh | May 17, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

While fans around the globe were waiting in excitement for the 2023 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Formula One came out with a statement on Wednesday afternoon stating that the race weekend had been canceled. Why did the FIA take such a decision? Well, let’s start off by saying that it was absolutely the correct thing to do if one knows how the situation is currently in the northern part of Italy.

Severe and incessant rains in the region have caused heavy flooding that has heavily impacted communities in the region, including Emilia-Romagna, and emergency services have been working day and night to get people to safety. Currently, the Emilia Romagna region is under a red threat-level warning from the Italian authorities due to pouring rain and fears of flooding and landslides. As per The Guardian, it is understood that the Imola race will likely not be rescheduled later in the season.

What was the FIA statement?

“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 FIA said in a statement.

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“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.”

What did the F1 head say?

Head of Formula One, Stefano Domenicali, said that what happened in Emilia Romagna was a tragedy and his thoughts were with the families and lives affected. “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,” he said.

“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.”

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The Italian Prime Minister implored the race be postponed

This comes after the deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister of Italy, Matteo Salvini, for the race to be postponed due to the severe weather conditions in the region. In a statement, Salvini said that it was “imperative to concentrate all efforts on coping with the emergency” and “dedicate ourselves to relief efforts.”

Formula One and the authorities at Imola had told the teams to not attend the paddock on Wednesday over due to flooding risks. The paddock at the circuit was evacuated on Tuesday as a precaution since the Santerno river, which runs less than a kilometer away, could burst its banks due to heavy rain.