Flooding in proximity to the Imola track has led to this weekend’s Formula 2 and Formula 3 races there being cancelled.
The Emilia-Romagna region of Italy in which the track is in has been suffering from the impact of extreme wet weather through this month, and fatalities have been recorded as streets have been flooded and houses have been submerged.
The situation in Imola is not just impacted by the rainfall there, but by continuous wet weather elsewhere in the region that led to the swelling of the Santerno river which runs right alongside the track.
On Tuesday afternoon the river burst its banks and the water level was so high that only the circuit’s perimeter barriers were preventing it immediately flooding the paddock of Formula 1 and its support series.
However further rain led to parts of the support paddock being submerged anyway, and the teams – who were yet to arrive – were told they would not be allowed into the track on Wednesday morning. That later developed into a total track closure for Wednesday, with discussions taking place on whether it should open again on Thursday or not.
Talks took place on Wednesday morning, and F1 put out a statement early in the afternoon revealing the decision to cancel.
“Following discussions between F1, 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 in Imola,” it read.
“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.”
F2 and F3 team trucks now have the option of heading back to their headquarters across Europe, or driving straight to Monaco for next weekend’s races. Several teams had planned to depart Imola next Monday and drive on to Monaco.