Formula 1 Cancels Grand Prix Amid Deadly Floods in Italy

Formula 1 on Wednesday canceled this weekend’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix after heavy rain and deadly flooding in northern Italy made it unsafe to proceed with the race at Imola.

Officials in Italy have warned residents in the region to seek higher ground this week after heavy downpours caused rain-swollen rivers to overflow their banks,

flooded towns, and disrupted power services and cellphone networks. At least eight people have died, and more than 5,000 have fled their homes.

Some of the worst-hit areas received almost 20 inches of rain in 36 hours, and nearly two dozen rivers have already burst their banks.

Given the scale of the destruction and the ongoing rescue efforts, Formula 1 said in a statement, it had no choice but to cancel. 

The decision was taken, it said, “because it is not possible to safely hold the event for our fans, the teams and our personnel and it is the right and responsible thing to do given the situation faced by the towns and cities in the region.

“It would not be right to put further pressure on the local authorities and emergency services at this difficult time.”

The race at Imola would have been the sixth of the current Formula 1 season, a globe-trotting circuit that was in Miami two weeks ago and will move on to Monaco by the end of the month. 

It is unclear if the canceled event can be rescheduled; Formula 1’s packed schedule has little flexibility given the time and trouble it takes to move it from country to country.

If the race at Imola is not rescheduled, Formula 1 will have 22 races this year instead of the record 23 it had planned.

It had become clear early this week that the race was in danger.