The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is cancelled this weekend due to deadly flooding in northeastern Italy.
It follows Italy’s Transport minister’s request that this Sunday’s Imola race be delayed to allow for the focus to be on rescue efforts in region.
At least eight people are dead and up to 5,000 have been evacuated, according to officials. The rivers were swollen from days of flooding and burst through their banks flooding towns and cities nearby.
A F1 press release read: “The Formula 1 Community wants to send their thoughts to the affected people and communities in Emilia-Romagna.”
“We want to also pay tribute to those emergency services that are doing their best to help those who are in need.
The decision to cancel the Grand Prix in Imola was made following discussions between Formula 1, President of FIA, and the authorities, including the relevant Ministers, President of Automobile Club of Italy (ACI), President of Emilia-Romagna Region (ERR), Mayor of City, and promoter.
The decision was made because the safety of our fans, our teams and our staff could not be guaranteed. It is also the right thing to do in light of the current situation.
It would be wrong to add more pressure to the local authorities and emergency service during this difficult time.
Sky News has learned that F1 bosses are likely to hold discussions to decide whether the race could be moved. However, it’s unlikely that the race will be rescheduled to the 2023 season.
In an effort to save the city of Venice from flooding caused by a rare high tide in May, officials have activated in the lagoon a mobile barrier.
In May, the MOSES barrier system was lifted for the first time.
The deputy prime minister of Italy called for the postponement of this weekend’s race. Rescue operations and evacuations are in full swing, and there is a warning of possible more bad weather to come.
Matteo Salvini stated that it was “imperative” to focus all efforts on dealing with the emergency, including avoiding traffic overloads in the area.
The Italian F1 team Scuderia Ferrari commented on the flooding.
The team, which is based in Modena – a city that has been affected by flooding – wrote in a tweet: “Our thoughts are with the people in Emilia-Romagna as they cope with the devastation caused by heavy rains and flooding in the area.”
On Wednesday, the AlphaTauri Team, which is located in Faenza, the nearest team to the circuit and is also the closest to it, made an appeal to donate to locals.
The team posted on Twitter that “unfortunately, Faenza experienced significant rainfall with subsequent flooding.”
The second race to be cancelled on the F1 calendar for 2023 is the ChineseGrand Prix. This was originally scheduled to take place in early April, but was cancelled due to concerns over the continued Covid restrictions.
Cesena in Emilia-Romagna has been hit hard by the flooding. Pictures show homes along the Savio River.
Local radio reported that an elderly man who lived in the country outside of the city drowned after his house was flooded.
Enzo Lattuca, the mayor of Cesena, also warned about further flooding. Forecasters said that the bad weather in the country could continue “until May’s end”.
The situation could become even more critical. He said that we cannot lower our guard in any way.
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In one city rescue, neighbors swam through the rapidly moving waters of an flooded street in order to remove a young girl’s mother from her arms.
Another rescuer took the child out of the water and passed her to him. The mother was helped to safety by other residents.
Mayor Lattuca warned residents to be cautious. He said on state television, “Do not be curious. Use prudence so that disaster does not turn into tragedy.”
Firefighters in the Pesaro – Urbino region rescued from flooding a family of four with a baby aged four months and a man who was disabled. Authorities in Ravenna – a popular tourist destination – urged residents to relocate to higher ground.
In Rimini, an Adriatic city and province, firefighters carried out 40 rescues. Residents of the nearby beach resort town Riccione took to the streets on rubber dinghies.
As a precaution, the authorities in Modena closed all local bridges on Tuesday night to traffic as a result of rising river levels.
Irene Priolo said that at least eight people were killed, and there are still more unaccounted for.
More than 10,000 people were evacuated from their homes. 50,000 people lack electricity, and more than 100 000 people cannot use mobile phones or landlines.
In Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia, there have been reports of flooding, landslides, and evacuations.
In the Balkans the Una River flooded northern Croatia and northwestern Bosnia. Authorities declared a state-of-emergency.
Bosanska Krupa’s mayor said that hundreds of homes in the town had been submerged.
In recent weeks, the northeast of Italy has been deprived of rain. Meteorologists warn that heavy rain is still coming.
The rainy weather is caused by the disappearance of an anticyclone, a large system of wind that rotates in the opposite direction around a high-pressure centre.
Mattia Guissoni, a meteorologist from the weather website Ilmeteo said that the pattern of weather could last “at least through the month”.