VIDEO: On site at flood-ravaged Imola
By Mat Coch
Friday 19th May, 2023 - 7:59pm
The torrential rain and devastating floods that led to the cancellation of this weekend’s Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix have subsided somewhat, however the conditions around the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy, remain tenuous.
Despite the more favourable weather, what’s abundantly clear is that Formula 1 remains correct to have decided that the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix will not go ahead.
Heavy rain in the lead up to the event saw a critical weather warning issued earlier in the week before organisers heeded advice from local authorities to cancel to event on Wednesday.
It was a prudent move as Speedcafe has first-hand experience of the devastation in the local area.
Towns around Imola remain flooded with road closures hampering travel significantly.
While the weather eased on Thursday with clear blue skies, the rain returned on Friday morning.
However, conditions have eased and the water level of the Santerno River, which runs adjacent to the Imola circuit, has dropped significantly.
Evidence of the devastation remains, however, with scattered debris showing the water level rose well above normal levels and had sufficient force to carry significantly sized trees downstream.
As for the circuit itself, it appears in good repair as viewed from a number of points around the venue.
Public access areas are muddy and slippery, and unlikely to have withstood the influx of fans across the weekend.
Car parks, too, would have quickly become muddied and inaccessible – a concern Formula 1 had in the days leading up to the event’s cancellation.
Yet while conditions have improved and, in theory at least, the event could have taken place, not racing this weekend is pragmatic and logical.
A decision had to be made at some point on whether it would be safe to go ahead.
While conditions have now eased, it was a gamble as to how quickly the area would become safe once more.
It remains dangerous to an extent – while perhaps not immediately around the circuit, in the broader area there remains significant flooding.
For the event to have continued, the sport was also gambling on the inclement weather not returning.
Given rain has begun falling once more that was a significant gamble.
Cancelling the event before it begun was a prudent move, one which minimised the risk to fans, personnel, and more.
It’s also the correct move when it comes to the respect for the local communities which have been severely impacted.
In the towns around Imola, water remains in properties, phone lines cut, and many areas simply inaccessible.
Formula 1 has made a prudent decision. While the event probably could have taken place, the question would have been “Should it take place”?
The answer to that is unequivocally “No”.Sign up here to receive our daily newsletters and breaking news alerts, sent straight to your inbox.
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