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Italian deputy PM calls for Imola F1 to be postponed

Italian deputy prime minister and transport minister Matteo Salvini has called to postpone this weekend's Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix due to severe flooding in the region.

Rain in the paddock

For the second time in a few weeks, adverse weather has wreaked havoc on Emilia Romagna, with reports emerging of severe floods near the Imola circuit, the city of Bologna and other parts of the Italian region.

Ahead of crisis talks between F1, the FIA and the Italian authorities on whether the Imola race weekend will go ahead or not, F1 personnel have been told to stay away from the circuit on Wednesday due to fears of the situation worsening.

Speaking to Sky Italia, deputy prime minister and infrastructure minister Salvini has called to "postpone" the Imola race "in light of the bad weather emergency that is scourging Emilia-Romagna".

Salvini also stressed to "dedicate ourselves to relief work".

Even if the weather situation improves as expected and the on-track action would be able to go ahead, organising a grand prix in front of a capacity crowd would put a huge strain on the local infrastructure and emergency services at a time when the local population has more urgent needs.

Pictures emerged on Wednesday of the support paddocks and TV compounded being flooded and several crucial motorways turned into rivers.

According to Sky Italia, the current death toll in the region stands at five.

Minister of Civil Protection Nello Musumeci said: "Twenty-four municipalities are flooded, all the rivers in Emilia Romagna have unfortunately overflowed.

Start box

Start box

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

"The average rainfall is 200 millimetres in 36 hours, but in some areas it has reached 500 millimetres. If you take into account that in one year the rainfall in that region is 1,000 millimetres, you will realise the power that the rainfall has had in the last 36 hours."

Options that are theoretically on the table for F1 and the FIA are to either cancel or postpone the entire event, or to push ahead with a compressed timetable given the loss of valuable set-up time. The organisers could also decide to cut back on the number of spectators allowed into the venue or hold the race behind closed doors.

AlphaTauri, which is based in the nearby town of Faenza, issued the following statement on social media.

"Scuderia AlphaTauri is very concerned about events unfolding over the past hours in Faenza and indeed the whole Emilia-Romagna area, with flooding and heavy rain causing considerable damage.

"The team's factory is currently unaffected and everything is being done to ensure the safety of our employees and their families.

"Our sympathies go out to all those affected and we continue to monitor the situation, to see what can be done to help those in need as we await further developments."

F1 calls off Imola's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Following talks on Wednesday morning all relevant parties decided to call off this weekend's Imola event entirely.

Explaining the decision F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali stated the need "ensure safety and not create extra burden for the authorities while they deal with this very awful situation.”

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