Floods threathening Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Excessive rain over the last few days has put the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix under threat of cancellation. The surplus of water has caused multiple floods, requiring thousands of people to evacuate their houses. Until now, three people have lost their lives and at least three are missing.

The floods come a fortnight after another period of extreme weather, causing the Savio river to flood, amongst 13 other rivers. The relentless rain also threathens to flood the Santerno river, which runs past the Imola circuit. The circuit itself remains closed until further notice, and talks about how to handle this crisis are being held this morning, with team staff being told not to go to the track. It is believed that more information in regard to the Grand Prix will be given around 14:00 local time.

Faenza, the neighbouring village to Imola and hometown to the Scuderia AlphaTauri team has also suffered from flooding, forcing some of their employees to sleep at the factory, while the highway between Faenza and Imola is rendered useless because of a flood. Several more roads and bridges in the area are closed off.

Images from the paddock show that large portions are submerged in a few centimeters up to half a meter of water, making any preparations for the coming race weekend impossible at the moment. Sources in the paddock say that there might be a slimmed down version of the weekend, or maybe even an event behind closed doors, given the fact that harbouring tens of thousands of people seems unrealistic at this moment. In addition, hundreds of rescue workers are helping out together with countless volunteers, therefore the workforce needed to safely organise a Grand Prix will also be affected.

The current situation highlights the lack of flexibility in the Formula 1 schedule, as it is rumoured that this might also impact the Monaco Grand Prix, which is well over a week away. The forecast shows that the rain should stop later today, giving ample time for the water to retreat and thus the teams to pack up and leave for Monaco, but if that will give the region enough time to prepare and be ready for a massive influx of fans remains extremely questionable.