Emilia Romagna Grand Prix could be CANCELLED due to extreme weather… after Imola was evacuated due to flood risks just days before race weekend
- An anticipated 100mm of rainfall is due in the region before Wednesday evening
- The circuit lies dangerously close to the banks of the rising river Santerno
- Extreme weather is set to continue over race weekend, including strong winds
Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix could be threatened with cancellation after personnel were forced to evacuate the paddock at Imola due to flood risks.
The northern Italian region has been hit with heavy rain and flooding throughout May, and was given a red weather alert as rain and wind look set to continue.
Rain is heavily forecast every day this week save for Thursday – with the race weekend due to start on Friday – and the Italian Met Office also issued landslide warnings for Tuesday and Wednesday.
The circuit itself sits on the banks of the river Santerno, whose levels have been rising rapidly, and should the banks burst, water would flood into the paddock.
As per the Sun, staff working at the circuit on Tuesday were sent back to their hotels, as the sport’s heads face a nail-biting wait to see if see if the heavily anticipated event will be able to go ahead as planned.
Imola was evacuated on Tuesday due to flood risks just days before the Emilia Romagna GP
A picture shared on Twitter today (left) showed the waters of the Santerno rising dangerously close to the edge of the famed circuit – but the area has seen flooding throughout May (right)
The region’s capital, Bologna, was pictured preparing fo the flood risk on Tuesday afternoon
As much rainfall as 100mm is predicted to fall through Wednesday evening in the region, where hundreds of residents have already been evacuated, local schools are closing, and all but essential travel is advised against.
Formula One have said that the race is set to go ahead as planned at present, and there is hope that the television broadcast of the event won’t be effected by the extreme weather.
By chance, Imola was already set to be the stage for the launch of a new Pirelli rain tyre that will not need to be heated up beforehand.
Pirelli’s head of car racing and F1, Mario Isola, said the new tyres had shown ‘even better performance’ than the Cinturato Blue full wet tyre currently in use.
‘The result of studies carried out by Pirelli, it is the first concerte step towards the use of dry tyres without preheating,’ Isola added.
The potential for weather delay could not have come at a more difficult point in the F1 calendar, with Imola the first grand prix of a run of three consecutive race weekends.
Whatever the weather, should the race go ahead, Mercedes may rue not having the ideal race weekend to show off their much-discussed upgrades to the W14.
Toto Wolff has advised his drivers to manager their expectations ahead of the Imola upgrades
Red Bull are unlikely to be troubled by the adjustments after establishing a formidable lead
Toto Wolff first mentioned the proposed upgrades that the constructor were looking to make to the car after a disappointing start to the season ahead of March’s Australian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes team principal has since attempted to downplay expectations, saying that it was unlikely that the upgrades would mean the car could ‘drive circles around Red Bull’.
Last year’s constructors champions look unlikely to be challenged once again this season with both world champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez unable to put a foot wrong.
Perez is just 14 points behind Verstappen at the top of the standings, with a gaping chasm of 30 points between the Mexican driver and the next-closest contender, Fernando Alonso, who sits third.
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