Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix could be CANCELED due to extreme weather conditions… after Imola was evacuated due to flood risk days before race weekend
- 100 mm of precipitation is expected in the region before Wednesday evening
- Extreme weather conditions are expected to continue over the race weekend, including strong winds
Sunday’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix could be under threat of cancellation after staff were told to leave the Imola paddock due to heavy rain.
The northern region of Italy was hit by heavy rain and flooding throughout May, and received a red weather alert as the rain and wind are expected to continue.
Heavy rain is forecast every day this week except Thursday – with the race weekend due to start on Friday – and the Italian Met Office has also issued landslide warnings for Tuesday and Wednesday.
The circuit itself sits on the banks of the Santerno River, the levels of which have risen rapidly, and if the banks burst, the water will flood the paddock.
According the sun, staff working at the circuit on Tuesday were sent back to their hotels, as sports officials face a relentless wait to see if the highly anticipated event can go ahead as planned.
Imola was evacuated on Tuesday due to the risk of flooding a few days before the Emilia-Romagna GP
A photo shared on Twitter today (left) showed the waters of the Santerno rising dangerously close to the edge of the famous circuit – but the area was flooded throughout May (right)
The region’s capital, Bologna, was pictured preparing for the risk of flooding on Tuesday afternoon
Up to 100mm of rain is forecast to fall through Wednesday evening in the area, where hundreds of residents have already been evacuated, local schools are closing and all but essential travel is advised against.
Formula 1 said the race should go ahead as planned at present, and it is hoped that the televised broadcast of the event will not be affected by the extreme weather conditions.
Luckily, Imola should already be the scene of the launch of a new Pirelli rain tire which will not need to be heated beforehand.
Pirelli motor racing and F1 manager Mario Isola said the new tires had shown “even better performance” than the Cinturato Blue rain tire currently in use.
“Result of studies carried out by Pirelli, this is the first concerted step towards the use of dry tires without preheating,” added Isola.
The potential weather delay could not have come at a more difficult time in the F1 calendar, with Imola the first grand prix in a series of three consecutive race weekends.
Whatever the weather, should the race go ahead, Mercedes might regret not having the perfect race weekend to show off its much-discussed upgrades to the W14.
Toto Wolff advised his drivers to manage their expectations ahead of Imola upgrades
Red Bull unlikely to be troubled by tweaks after establishing formidable lead
Toto Wolff has first mentioned the proposed upgrades the manufacturer is looking to make to the car after a disappointing start to the season ahead of the Australian Grand Prix in March.
The Mercedes team principal has since tried to play down expectations, saying the upgrades were unlikely to mean the car could “go the rounds of Red Bull”.
Last year’s constructors’ champions look unlikely to be challenged once again this season, with world champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez unable to prove themselves wrong.
Perez is just 14 points behind Verstappen at the top of the standings, with a gaping 30-point chasm between the Mexican driver and closest competitor Fernando Alonso in third.