Imola could land one-year F1 extension after cancellation
By Ian Parkes
Thursday 18th May, 2023 - 1:21am
The current F1 deal for Imola expires in 2025 but this year’s cancellation could lead to a one-year extension
The president of the Automobile Club d’Italia, Angelo Sticchi Damiani, has suggested the cancellation of this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix could result in a one-year extension to its current F1 contract.
Due to deadly floods in the region, and following lengthy discussions with the local authorities, F1 and the FIA have acted swiftly in deciding the event will not go ahead.
With the emergency services stretched in dealing with the relief effort, and with numerous roads closed around Imola, the safety of all concerned – officials, fans, and the local community – cannot be guaranteed.
It is extremely unlikely the race will be rescheduled this year due to the fact there are few weekends available between now and the end of the season.
There is a precedent in F1 for a race being cancelled and rescheduled later in the year due to force majeure as the 1995 Pacific GP at Aida was shifted from April to October following the Great Hanshin earthquake.
On that occasion, however, there was available space on the calendar which saw it run back-to-back with the Japanese GP.
Imola officials may have to wait three years for this particular rescheduling, though, as Sticchi Damiani has hinted the race could be run in 2026. That would serve as an addition to the current contract that expires in 2025.
“I am deeply saddened by what is happening in Emilia Romagna,” said Sticchi Damiani. “The cancellation was inevitable in the face of such a dramatic situation.
“Given the complexity of the calendar, it is reasonable to imagine that the 2023 edition will be held in 2026. But at the moment it is certainly not a priority”.
The ACI has naturally expressed its concerns at the flooding in the area which has resulted in three deaths and hundreds forced to flee their homes.
A statement read: “The Automobile Club d’Italia expresses its utmost solidarity with those who, in these dramatic hours, mourn the loss of their loved ones or are forced to leave their homes.
“It also expresses support and thanks to the state institutions, the Emilia Romagna region, the forces of order and civil protection which, in these difficult days, are doing their utmost to help the population and secure the area.
“Lastly, thanks go to the more than 3,000 helpers who had arrived at Imola to organise and make the grand prix possible.”
To those who were due to attend this weekend’s race, the ACI has promised updates with regard to its plans.
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