This weekend’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix has been canceled due to heavy flooding in the area.
Discussions on Wednesday between local authorities and race organizers at Imola in Italy concluded that the event could not proceed safely.
In addition, there was a desire not to dilute the efforts of the emergency services dealing with problems across the region.
F1 said canceling the race was the “right and responsible thing to do”.
F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali said: “It is a tragedy to see what happened to Imola and Emilia-Romagna, the city and region where I grew up, and my thoughts and prayers are with the flood victims and the affected families and communities.
“The decision that has been taken is the right one for everyone in the local communities and the F1 family as we need to ensure safety and not create an additional burden on the authorities as they deal with this very appalling situation.” The decision comes after a red weather warning was issued for the area on Tuesday and Wednesday.
There was widespread flooding across the Emilia-Romagna region. At least three people were killed and the authorities warned people to move to higher ground.
Red Bull’s Alpha Tauri team, based in nearby Faenza, said in a statement that they are “very concerned about the events that have unfolded over the past hours in the entire Emilia-Romagna region, where floods and torrential rains have caused great damage.”
“The team’s factory is currently unaffected and everything is being done to ensure the safety of our employees and their families,” the statement added.
Ferrari’s factory is located in Maranello just over 50 miles northwest of Imola and also in the affected area.
The track was evacuated on Tuesday due to the risk of flooding from the Santerno River, which runs next to the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
F1 personnel were banned from the circuit on Wednesday as heavy rain continued overnight and into the morning.
The Emilia Romagna GP was scheduled to be the sixth race of the season and was the first of three events on consecutive weekends, followed by Monaco and Spain.
F1 will consider options to reschedule the race but is unlikely to return due to the busy schedule.
There were plans for a record 23-race calendar in 2023, but the cancellation of Imola means the schedule will be reduced to 22 races, the same as last year’s.
Britain’s Lewis Hamilton said he hoped everyone in the area could “stay safe and look after each other”.
“Thoughts are with those affected by this tragedy and the amazing emergency services working on the ground,” Hamilton said on Instagram.
World champion and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen said he supported the decision to cancel the race, adding: “Our thoughts are with all those affected by the torrential rain and flooding in the Emilia-Romagna region. We wish you all the strength to ensure that you have the best throughout this period.”
FIA President Mohammed bin Sulayem said: “My thoughts and those of all the FIA family are with those affected by the terrible situation in the Emilia-Romagna region. The safety of all involved and recovery efforts are the top priority at this time.”
Mercedes driver George Russell said: “Sorry to the fans that this weekend’s race has been cancelled, but the safety of everyone involved must come first.”