Formula 1 is unlikely to reinstate the cancelled Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix to its schedule this year.
The series took the decision to call off the race earlier today due to heavy flooding in the region which began to affect preparations at the Imola circuit yesterday. The cancellation of what would have been the sixth round of the championship cuts the 2023 F1 calendar to 22 races.
It’s been a tough year for the circuit so far. Besides the effects of the flooding, last month’s Four Hours of Imola – a round of the European Le Mans Series – was cancelled due to late-running construction work.
F1 originally planned to hold a record 24 races this year. However the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix, which was due to take place last month, had already reduced the total.
Unless the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix is rescheduled for later this year, F1 will hold a 22-race schedule for the third year running. And there are no obvious opportunities for a rescheduled race to take place.
The first priority, of course, is the recovery of an area which has suffered terribly in recent weeks and is continuing to. Thousands have been forced to leave their homes and several people have lost their lives. Compared to that, a motor race is of no importance whatsoever.
But a time will come when the region is able and ready to welcome motorsport back, and when that happens the income brought by visitors will be welcome.
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The extent of the damage to the circuit and surrounding infrastructure will be the first constraining factor on when a race may go ahead. Between now and the beginning of the summer break, which follows the Belgian Grand Prix in August 30th, there are no gaps in which a race could be added which wouldn’t create an unprecedented quadruple or quintuple-header.
Between the Belgian round and the Dutch Grand Prix four weeks later, the rules require teams to shut down their factories and cease work on their cars. It’s unlikely teams would agree to change those regulations in order to add another race at the very time of year when staff expect to be able to have some time at home.
Imola has held races late in the year before: The 2020 event took place in November. But even looking that late in the calendar for a slot yields no likely solutions.
The sheer density of the schedule in the second half of the season leaves no gaps for a race to be added without arranging…
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