While Imola is due to host the first European round of the Formula 1 season next weekend, the heavy rainfall in the Emilia-Romagna region has raised fears of a flooding of the circuit.
The Formula 1 paddock is in doubt. Two weeks after stopping off in Miami, all the teams are meeting next weekend at Imola for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, the first European stage of the season. Nevertheless, the holding of the sixth round of the 2023 season is uncertain due to the weather conditions in the region, which was placed on red alert on Tuesday by the Italian authorities. Faced with the torrential rains falling on Emilia-Romagna, which also disrupted the progress of the 10th stage of the Giro 2023 on Tuesday, maximum precautions are being taken. This Tuesday, the entire Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari paddock has been evacuated as a safety measure. Indeed, the bad weather has already raised the level of the Santeno river, which adjoins the circuit facilities, with a flood that could intensify in the hours and days to come. The risk of flooding is taken very seriously.
Good morning. I get these images of Imola. The F1 paddock and pits are ok. The lower areas like F2 are with a lot of water. Today staff have been prohibited from going to the circuit until they are notified. #f1 #EmiliaRomagnaGP pic.twitter.com/jzDnRqP54p
— Albert Fabrega (@AlbertFabrega) May 17, 2023
Alpine evacuated its hotel, the already flooded F2 paddock
The question now is whether the single-seaters will be able to take to the track this Friday, as initially planned. According to the latest weather forecasts, the situation should improve from this Wednesday evening, but the threat of rain for the weekend has not been completely ruled out. According to journalist Nate Saunders, who covers F1 for the American channel ESPN, the staff of the Alpine team left the hotel they occupied in Imola with other teams that could do the same. Added to this is the recommendation made to all the teams but also to the media present on the occasion of the Grand Prix not to go to the circuit throughout the day on Wednesday and until further notice. The latest information suggests that the water level has risen, causing the start of flooding in the paddock reserved for Formula 2. With many roads and bridges currently closed, F1 and Imola circuit officials will need to quickly make a decision on whether to hold the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix on the scheduled date.