Domenicali: Decision to call off Emilia Romagna GP 'the right one'

© XPB 

F1 boss Stefano Domenicali says the decision to call off this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was "the right one" considering the tragedy that is burdening Northern Italy.

For the second time in two weeks, the country's northern provinces were hit with a severe weather front that saw river banks burst and floods ensue, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes while others sought refuge on their rooftops.

While Imola Circuit had been spared from flooding on Wednesday, the event quickly became a secondary concern for local authorities, with the focus shifting to relief efforts for the area's communities and those in need.

With logistical and practical problems also piling up at the venue, Formula 1 and the race's promoter predictably aligned themselves with authorities from the Emilia Romagna region and the Mayor of Imola in calling off the event.

"It is such a tragedy to see what has happened to Imola and Emilia Romagna, the town and region that I grew up in and my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the flooding and the families and communities affected," said Domenicali.

"I want to express my gratitude and admiration for the incredible emergency services who are working tirelessly to help those who need help and alleviate the situation – they are heroes and the whole of Italy is proud on them.

"The decision that has been taken is the right one for everyone in the local communities and the F1 family as we need to ensure safety and not create extra burden for the authorities while they deal with this very awful situation."

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem added: "My thoughts and those of the entire FIA family are with those affected by the terrible situation in the Emilia Romagna region.

"The safety of everyone involved and recovery efforts are the top priority at this time."

Looking ahead, a full cancellation of the race at Imola rather than a postponement appears likely due to the heavy congestion that remains on Formula 1's calendar which has now been reduced to 22 races.

The sport's action will resume next week in Monaco but save for F1's programmed summer break in August – which is unlikely to be changed – the season will continue to unfold at a furious pace.

A theoretical slot exists on June 9-11 right after the Spanish Grand Prix and before Montreal, but filling it would imply a grueling four-race consecutive run that teams would likely be very reluctant to accept.

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix would be the second race to fall off this year's agenda after the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, initially earmarked April 16, was dropped due to Covid measures.

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter