Critical weather warning issued for Imola
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 16th May, 2023 - 4:34pm
A red alert weather warning has been issued for the area surrounding this weekend’s F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola.
The Imola circuit is set to host the event but lies within a region covered by the warning, issued by the Sicurezza Territoriale Protezione Civile (Civil Defence).
Issued on Monday in Bologna, the alert warns of persistent rain for the coming 48 hours “of moderate intensity throughout the region”.
Furthermore, it states that “floods are expected close to the embankment,” whilst “significant increases in hydrometric levels on the minor hydrographic network will also be possible, with associated bank erosion phenomena and possible flooding of neighbouring areas”.
The Imola circuit is located alongside the Santerno river, which flows behind the pit and paddock complex, around to Tosa – Turn 7, a third of the way around the lap.
Current forecasts are predicted to ease on Wednesday evening, with the chance of rain dropping from nearly 100 percent to around 10 percent.
Track activity in Imola is set to begin on Friday, though teams are scheduled to be at the Italian venue on Thursday for the standard media day.
Rain is set to remain throughout the balance of the weekend, increasing in probability into Friday and Saturday.
The Emilia-Romagna region has been hit by wild weather in recent weeks, with two people killed and others forced to flee their homes.
In this instance, the area around Imola, labelled C2 on the Civil Defence alert, is flagged as orange for rain but red for ‘geological’ warnings.
Rain last hit the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in 2021, a race best remembered for a clash between George Russell, then at Williams, and Valtteri Bottas, the man he would replace at Mercedes.
Update at 19:30 AEST
F1 has insisted “there is no concern regarding the event” which is expected “to go ahead as planned”.
Operational plans, including for broadcasting and infrastructure, are in place, whilst F1 now has tried-and-trusted procedures for wet races after learning the lessons from the much-derided Belgian ‘Grand Prix’ two years ago which was abandoned after two laps behind the Safety Car due to horrendous conditions.
One of the main areas of concern relates to the grassed car parks, which have previously been an issue and are likely to again be a problem, despite assurances from the promoter to make improvements.
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