Formula 1’s decision to call off the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix this weekend had to be made for the local community, says the sport’s CEO Stefano Domenicali.
Heavy rainfall and flash flooding have devastated parts of the region in Italy, with rising river levels putting the Imola circuit itself under threat while the infrastructure around it has also been severely impacted. Emergency services are dealing with locals stranded due to flooded homes and cut-off roads, and Domenicali (pictured above) says the call to stop this weekend’s race going ahead was made for both the safety of F1 personnel and with the wider region in mind.
“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,” Domenicali 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 on 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 added: “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.”
Teams had been prevented from continuing to set up at Imola since Tuesday afternoon when the circuit was evacuated, and were told not to return on Wednesday. Authorities will deem when it is safe to begin pack-up to move the paddock to Monaco for the following round, with the schedule allowing F1 to wait for a number of days if required before needing to start work.