Floods force cancellation of Sunday's Emilia Romagna F1 Grand Prix

Five people have died after heavy rains caused flooding across Italy's northern Emilia Romagna region

By AFP

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Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands leads at the start of the Emilia Romagna Formula One Grand Prix on April 24, 2022. — AP file
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands leads at the start of the Emilia Romagna Formula One Grand Prix on April 24, 2022. — AP file

Published: Wed 17 May 2023, 5:16 PM

The Emilia Romagna Formula One Grand Prix due to be held at Imola this weekend has been called off as it is "not possible to safely hold the event" due to heavy flooding in the region, organisers said on Wednesday.

Five people have died after heavy rains caused flooding across Italy's northern Emilia Romagna region.


At Imola, the Santerno river which borders the track was flooded and race organisers had asked journalists and team staff not to go to the circuit on Wednesday.

Formula One said in a statement that following high level discussions "the decision has been taken not to proceed with the Grand Prix weekend at Imola".


"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 added.

"It would not be right to put further pressure on the local authorities and emergency services at this difficult time."

The civil protection agency said 14 rivers had broken their banks across the region between Tuesday and Wednesday, and 23 towns were flooded.

It urged "maximum caution", as mayors warned people to stay on high ground.

"About 5,000 people have been evacuated, but that number might rise," Civil Protection Minister Nello Musumeci told Radio 24.

In Forli, an AFP photographer saw people in a state of shock late Tuesday, fleeing through floodwaters in the dark in their bare feet.

Images showed streets transformed into rivers, and firemen moving people to safety in rubber dinghies.


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