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Will F1 this week be cancelled? Imola weather latest as rain, floods threaten Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

The conduct of the 2023 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was thrown into serious doubt on Tuesday when officials ordered Formula 1 staff to evacuate the paddock at Imola due to possible severe flooding.

After weeks of heavy rains soaking the area, the decision was made due to the worrying rise in water levels of the Santerno River, which runs near the famous Italian circuit.

The move to suspend all activity at the circuit for the remainder of the day was seen more as a precautionary measure than an emergency, but it still raises doubts as to whether this weekend’s race will go ahead.

That’s because Italian authorities have issued flood and landslide warnings for the Emilia Romagna region as more rain is forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.

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The weather in Imola is current: rain and flooding threaten the Grand Prix

Preparations for this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola were thrown into chaos on Tuesday 16 May when all Formula 1 staff were ordered to vacate the paddock due to the risk of flooding.

The decision was taken after days of heavy rains that caused the Santerno River, which runs just a few meters from the circuit, to burst its banks and flood surrounding areas.

With more rain forecast in the coming days, this weekend’s Grand Prix could be seriously affected as Formula 1 officials continue to monitor the situation.

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In recent months, the area around the city of Bologna has suffered greatly from heavy rains and storms.

In early May, two people died in floods in the area and hundreds of people had to be evacuated from their homes.

That’s why Formula 1 officials are taking the utmost care when deciding on this weekend’s race.

On Wednesday morning, F1 teams were advised not to return to the circuit due to flood warnings in the area and some areas of the Imola circuit were now flooded, although the F1 paddock remains vacant.

Italian team AlphaTauri also released a brief statement on social media asking for donations to help those affected by the flooding in the region. According to F1 journalist Chris Medland, the team has also been directly affected as some of its team members had to evacuate their homes and sleep at the factory last night.

“Unfortunately, our city of Faenza experienced heavy rains and subsequent flooding.”

“If anyone wants to help those affected, they can do so by following the instructions below.”

What is the weather forecast for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix?

According to the latest forecasts in Italy, heavy rain around Imola should ease on Wednesday, but more showers are expected throughout the week.

The worst weather is expected on Saturday, the day of qualifying, with heavy rain again expected in the region around the circuit.

The temperature is also expected to rise throughout the week, with today exceeding 16 degrees and peaking at 22 degrees on Sunday for the race.

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Can F1 races be canceled due to bad weather?

Although modern Formula 1 cars are built to operate in almost any condition if required, officials can still choose to abandon the Grand Prix in weather deemed extremely unsafe.

That was last seen at the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, where drivers followed the safety car around the track for two laps before the race was called off.

On this occasion, half points were awarded to drivers who finished in the top 10 despite completing less than 75% of the originally scheduled race distance.

Also in the 2022 F1 season, some races were affected by wet weather. Three times, at the Monaco, Singapore and Japan Grands Prix, the event time limit was reached before the full lap could be completed due to red flags.

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