The Formula 1 Imola Grand Prix was set to take place on Sunday, May 21, 2023. The Imola circuit is located in the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy. This was supposed to be the first of three back-to-back weekends of F1 racing in Europe. However, the official authorities have announced the cancellation of the Imola GP.
The Imola GP has been canceled due to the intense downpour in northern Italy. The authorities believed it was not possible to conduct a GP while the area suffered the wrath of the floods. According to BBC, “More than 20 rivers have burst their banks in Italy, leaving 13 people dead and forcing thousands from their homes after six months’ rainfall fell in a day and a half.”
The decision has been taken not to proceed with the Grand Prix weekend in Imola#EmiliaRomagnaGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/4taauGnFEA
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 17, 2023
In a statement on May 17, 2023, F1 authorities wrote, “Following discussions between Formula 1, 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 at Imola.”
It was further stated that it was not possible to ensure the safety of the fans and the people involved amidst the conditions.
With the GP canceled this weekend, I would love to see @F1 get the drivers together for a virtual Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with proceeds going to help the local area.
Partner with @Twitch, have all 20 drivers compete, and race Imola with old V10 cars. Sell tickets for $20. pic.twitter.com/GN3E36xn9Z
— Vincenzo Landino (@vincenzolandino) May 17, 2023
This is only the second F1 GP to be called off on the eve of the event. Previously such a situation occurred in 2020. The Australian GP was jeopardized by a McLaren mechanic contracting coronavirus. However, this time one fan had a brilliant idea to conduct the GP virtually. It could be streamed on Twitch and the proceeds could help the local areas. It will be interesting to see if such an idea would be explored in reality.
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton support the decision of suspending Imola GP
Championship leader Max Verstappen has supported the decision to cancel the Imola GP. In a tweet, the Dutchman’s team stated, “Our thoughts are with all those affected in the greater Emilia Romagna region.”
Verstappen is fresh out of a brilliant race in Miami. He started the race in ninth place, however, turned it around by overtaking everyone in front of him and clinching the win.
Statement: 2023 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
Our thoughts are with all those affected in the greater Emilia Romagna region.
Stay safe 🙏#ImolaGP pic.twitter.com/yr5y7tUQxw
— Max Verstappen (@VerstappenCOM) May 17, 2023
Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton also supported the decision to cancel the race. According to The Independent, Hamilton said, “Hoping everyone in Emilia Romagna is able to stay safe and look out for each other right now.
“Thoughts are with those affected by this tragedy and the amazing emergency services working on the ground. We were getting ramped up for the weekend and excited to get going but this is definitely the right decision.
“We wish we could be racing. But I know we all understand that safety comes first. I can’t wait to see you all at the next race.”
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The teams travel to Monaco next as the Monaco GP is slated for May 28, 2023. Verstappen leads the Driver’s Championship with 119 points. Sergio Perez occupies the second spot with 105 points. Meanwhile, 41-year-old Fernando Alonso is third with 75 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull has a massive lead as they have earned 224 points. Aston Martin is in second spot with 102 points.