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From Flooding to Racing: The Road to Recovery for the Imola F1 Circuit



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In the wake of a flood-induced cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, key F1 personnel are gradually returning to the paddock, working to mend the aftermath. The event’s unexpected halt has sparked a challenge for F1 – a race against time and nature

Following the cancellation of this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola due to devastating floods, key personnel have been permitted to return to the Formula 1 paddock.

The decision to call off the event came as a measure to prevent additional risk to individuals and to let emergency responders focus on the relief operation in the affected region.

Despite the extreme damage and chaos caused by the floods, which have claimed at least nine lives, left several people unaccounted for, and compelled thousands to abandon their homes, the Imola circuit has been largely unaffected.

Several rivers in Emilia Romagna overflowed due to excessive rainfall, reportedly equivalent to half the region’s average annual precipitation, falling within just a day and a half.

The Imola circuit, which is situated next to the Santerno River, witnessed substantial flooding as a result. Particularly, the support paddocks were inundated with water.

As a safety measure, set-up crew were required to leave the track on Tuesday afternoon. Despite the F1 paddock being mostly spared from severe flooding, they were not permitted to return on Wednesday due to the continuing rainfall and the subsequent rise in water levels.


However, it’s been confirmed that the essential staff needed for dismantling the infrastructure that was already erected were allowed back into the circuit on Thursday morning.

Having been absent for a day and a half, this period was also used to evaluate potential water damage in the areas that had been set up.

Moving forward, F1 faces several challenges, including how to handle the aftermath of the cancelled event at Imola and address the concerns of fans who had purchased tickets.

Even though the 2023 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix hasn’t been officially cancelled, it’s unlikely that a new date will be found in this year’s schedule, given the lack of flexibility at this point in the season.

One idea being considered is that since this event’s cancellation falls under ‘force majeure’, Imola should not be held responsible for any hosting fees. As such, the missed race could simply be added to the existing contract that extends until the end of 2025.

This would mean no race in Imola this year, but it would continue for the remaining two years of the current agreement, with an additional race planned for 2026.

Regarding ticketholders for this year’s race, it is probable that fans will either receive a refund or be given the choice to transfer their tickets to 2024.


Simultaneously, attention must also be given to the preparations for the upcoming grand prix in Monaco.

Some infrastructure for the upcoming European events is already in place due to the alternating sets used.

Depending on how smoothly the packing process goes and whether the roads around the circuit are passable, items needed for race-to-race operations will likely begin to be transported today and tomorrow.

The accessibility of certain routes is uncertain at this point, as numerous roads and bridges have been closed or affected by flooding.

However, if the F1, FIA, and team structures can be packed up and moved without complications, the set-up in Monaco might be less chaotic than usual. This is because items will begin to arrive several days ahead instead of during the typically frantic midweek period between back-to-back races.

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