F1 emergency meeting planned as bosses ‘consider cancelling’ Imola Grand Prix
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F1 bosses are set to make a decision on Wednesday regarding whether the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix can go ahead this weekend. Extreme weather affecting the Italian region has seen staff banished from the paddock for a second successive day, with discussions reportedly taking place around the possibility of a postponement.
Flood and landslide warnings were issued by Italian authorities this week following a prolonged period of heavy rainfall. On Tuesday afternoon, F1 staff present in the paddock were asked to leave for the rest of the day as a precautionary measure.
Teams have therefore fallen behind on garage set-up, and that is only set to get worse after they were unable to return on Wednesday morning. According to The Telegraph, ‘high-level discussions’ are now taking place over whether the Grand Prix can feasibly go ahead.
The sport’s governing bodies are also weighing up the possibility of shifting around the F1 schedule so that the race can be cancelled and re-arranged for later this season.
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F1 chiefs will have to make a decision sooner rather than later to avoid fans descending on the region, only for the event to be called off. Many fans are expected to arrive on Wednesday, with 120,000 predicted to attend in total.
And while the weather is due to clear up in time for Sunday’s race, Italian authorities would open themselves up to fierce scrutiny if emergency services at the Grand Prix were required elsewhere.
The extreme weather has already caused two fatalities, while hundreds of people in the region have been forced to evacuate their homes. Emergency services, meanwhile, are working flat out and road closures could cause havoc as the race creeps closer.
On top of personnel being told to leave the paddock on Tuesday, several members of the Alpine team were forced to evacuate their hotel later in the evening. Concerning photos have been shared online showing the extent of the region’s flooding.
The extreme conditions began to cause problems two weeks ago, prompting Italian F1 team AlphaTauri to send a message of support on social media.
“[The rain storms] have produced heavy flooding, leading to the loss of two lives in the region, as well as causing severe damage to parts of Faenza and surrounding areas,” it read. “It has also affected some of our employees and, at this difficult time, our thoughts are with them and everyone affected.”
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