Formula 1 Racing

F1 teams, drivers react to “right and responsible” Imola cancellation

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG

F1 confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that the Imola race would not take place following discussions with “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”.

In a statement, F1 said: “The decision has been taken because it is not possible to safely hold the event for our fans, the teams and our personnel and it is the right and responsible thing to do given the situation faced by the towns and cities in the region. It would not be right to put further pressure on the local authorities and emergency services at this difficult time.”

This followed a precautionary order to evacuate the circuit on Tuesday due to the threat of flooding from the adjacent Santerno river.

Teams were further instructed to avoid the facility on Wednesday with images revealing that the TV compound and support paddock had been breached by water.

Although disappointed not to be taking to the track this weekend, teams and drivers have backed the decision with the focus instead placed on ensuring the safety of those living in affected areas. Red weather warnings for flooding and landslides remain in place for the weekend.

Mercedes driver Lewis 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.

“I know we all understand that safety comes first. Can’t wait to see you all at the next race.”

Grand Prix Drivers Association director and Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell wrote: “Sorry for the fans that this weekend’s race has been cancelled but the safety of everyone involved always has to come first.

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

“Wishing all the best to everyone in the Emilia-Romagna region and surrounding areas that have been affected by these floods.”

McLaren’s Lando Norris said: “I love racing, but the safety of everyone else is more important. Sorry to all the fans, we’ll be back Imola, stay safe.”

Safety “must take priority”


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