In the round-up: Inclement weather is causing problems for Formula 1 in Europe and IndyCar in the USA.
Imola paddock evacuated due to flood risk
Although Formula 1 has already said it plans to go ahead with this weekend’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola amid severe weather warnings in the region, there is now a possibility that the decision could be taken out of its hands.
On Tuesday the Santerno river which runs alongside the track burst its banks, and the water level was actually higher than the paddock. Perimeter barriers prevented that water from flowing down into the paddock, but rain still left some work areas surrounded by water and the track was evacuated in the afternoon. At the time of writing, with the situation regarding the river being monitored, paddock personnel have been told they will not be allowed back into the track first thing on Wednesday morning.
Two Alpine team members had to change hotels in Imola due to the heavy rain, but the majority of their staff located elsewhere were unaffected.
The series expects conditions will begin to improve tomorrow and is confident the race weekend will be able to go ahead.
Indy 500 practice put on hold due to rain
The green flag may not wave on the Indianapolis 500 until 28th May, but practice for it starts 12 days beforehand and there are eight sessions in total before the race. The very first of those this Tuesday was put on hold due to wet weather.
Drivers sat tight throughout the day as rain fell and then eased at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The start time for second practice went by and finally confirmation came that “today’s on-track activity has been cancelled”.
IndyCar also confirmed a revision to today’s schedule, with a rookie orientation session for the debuting Abel Motorsports team and its driver RC Enerson taking place at 10:15am ahead of a six-hour practice session for the whole field starting at 12pm.
Ocon: “We can take the fight to the top teams”
After an Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend in which Alpine were far from the top ten in qualifying, the sprint race and the grand prix itself, company CEO Laurent Rossi criticised his team and made it clear improvements had to happen.
The response was immediate, as at next weekend’s Miami Grand Prix the team’s cars qualified fifth and eighth, then finished eighth and ninth. Heading to Imola there is confidence within the team that a repeat of Miami is now more likely than a repeat of Baku.
“I think we are still not quite where we’d like to be but there are signs that we can take the fight to the top teams and challenge for higher positions up the grid,” said Esteban Ocon, whose ninth place in Miami was only his second points finish of the season.
“The upcoming triple-header will be a good test for us to show what we can do and we must target extracting maximum performance.”
Alpine conduct Pirelli tyre test
Pirelli’s latest F1 tyre test took place last weekend at Paul Ricard, with Alpine called up to help develop a future wet compound tyre. Both of the team’s drivers were in action, and Pierre Gasly said the running was as useful for the Alpine as it was for the tyre supplier.
“That was a productive day, some interesting learning for us and Pirelli and now I’m ready to go to Imola feeling determined for a good weekend where points is our aim,” he said.
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Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:
I really hope all the people who live in the Emilia-Romagna region stay safe in the next few days🙏
— 角田裕毅/Yuki Tsunoda (@yukitsunoda07) May 16, 2023
people’s home can and probably are destroyed right now.
We are fortunate enough to watch F1, there will always be next race… but for some people there might not even be their home tomorrow.
We are in no real position to complain if we can’t watch a race, In my opinion.
— Brendon Leigh (@BrendonLeigh72) May 16, 2023
Man, I’m not sure I know how to explain this one:@IndyCar averaged an audience of 715,000 viewers for Saturday afternoon’s GMR Grand Prix on NBC, well down from last year’s (998,000).
Both don’t include NBC’s digital/Peacock audience.
— Nathan Brown (@By_NathanBrown) May 16, 2023
🚨 INDY 500 Special helmet reveal 🚨
This year I’m going “John Player Special Ronnie Peterson” inspired colours and design.
The black with sparkles and gold chrome looks amazing 🔥🤩.
— Marcus Ericsson (@Ericsson_Marcus) May 16, 2023
— Chip Ganassi Racing (@CGRTeams) May 16, 2023
— Conor Daly (@ConorDaly22) May 16, 2023
Honestly, way tougher being here with cars imminently on track than I expected. Caught me off-guard.
AMAZING to have so many race fans come up to chat and see so many familiar faces, and I’ve now taken my physical, so, when the time comes, I’m ready to f***in’ go. 😎 pic.twitter.com/ckI2lJO154
— JR Hildebrand (@JRHildebrand) May 16, 2023
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Happy birthday to Ponzonha and Tenerifeman!
On this day in motorsport
- 20 years ago today Michael Schumacher took pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix at the A1-Ring (now known as the Red Bull Ring)