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F1 has announced that the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix will not be going ahead this weekend amid the devasting storms that have been taking place in the region.
Emilia-Romagna has recently been hit with extreme rainfall and storms for the past few weeks. 15 river banks have burst due to the high levels of rain. The weather has destroyed thousands of homes and buildings and left roads inaccessible.
F1 has confirmed that the race will no longer go ahead.
What has been happening?
On Monday the Department of Civil Protection issued a red weather warning for the area. The Government said that there is a possibility of there being up to 100mm of rain to fall in the days to come, with warnings stating infrastructure may be destroyed and landslides could occur. Schools have been closed down and it was advised that citizens avoid roads and travelling as much as possible.
The Minister of Civil Protection, Nello Musumeci brought awareness to how severe the weather is and how badly it is impacting the land and families of the region.
“Twenty-four municipalities are flooded, and all the rivers in Emilia-Romagna have unfortunately been overflown. The average rainfall is 200 millimetres in 36 hours but in some areas, it has reached 500 millimetres.”
Officials have recently stated that five people have died and 5,000 citizens have been evacuated.
Concerns were starting to grow as adjacent to the track is the Santerno River which is feared to burst if the water levels keep rising.
Teams and staff started to arrive at the track on Tuesday to begin setting up garages and hospitality. However, due to the torrential rain that kept falling all throughout the day the race promoter and authorities had to evacuate all staff out of the premises as a precaution.
The paddock remained closed on Wednesday as rainfall continued to happen throughout the morning. The F2 paddock was flooded and partly submerged this morning.
The Italy Transport Minister, Matteo Salvini called for the race to be postponed. He stressed how it is “imperative to concentrate all efforts on coping with the emergency.”
A meeting was held on Wednesday afternoon to discuss what would be happening with the Grand Prix this weekend. There were suggestions that it could be a two-day event rather than a full weekend as light rain is forecasted for Saturday and Sunday.
However, F1 has released a statement saying that the Grand Prix will not be going ahead this weekend.
F1 has stated how it “is not possible to safely hold the event for our fans, the teams and our personnel.” and how it “wouldn’t be right to put further pressure on local authorise and emergency services at this difficult time.”
Stefano Domenicali has also released a statement in regards to the cancellation of the Grand Prix.
“It is such a tragedy to see what has happened to Imola and Emilia-Romagna, the town and region that I grew up in. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the flooding and the families and communities that are affected.”
The president, ACI Angelo Sticchi Damiani has confirmed that the race will not be held at a later date this year. Instead, the hope is to extend the contract F1 have – which was due to end in 2025 – until 2026 due to this situation.
Featured image: @RBR_daily via Twitter