What the Italian race cancellation means for Formula One

The northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna has been hit by heavy rainfall for weeks, with severe flooding affecting dozens of towns. At least eight people died and thousands of people lost their homes.

So when Formula 1 announced the cancellation of the Qatar Airways Emilia Romagna GP weekend in Imola, few were surprised. After all, safety is more important than sport, and with large areas of the area flooded, the race simply couldn’t take place.

The cancellation caused problems for a number of F1 teams, namely:


After a rough start to the F1 season, Mercedes trusted Imola to test its new package of upgrades. Imola is one of the few circuits suitable for testing and data collection at the start of the season. (Street routes like Baku, Jeddah, and Miami are too rough and wild to provide helpful feedback.)

With additional testing banned for all F1 teams, Mercedes is forced to test its upgrades in future races. With the next Grand Prix in Monaco – the last street lap – Mercedes’ seasonal economy upgrades are likely to be delayed for weeks.

Alpha Tauri

While the Mercedes headache is a technical one, the Alpha Tauri’s problem is existential. The group is based in Emilia-Romagna and its employees and operations were hit hard by the floods. While Alpha Tauri’s factory is safe, dozens of workers are sleeping there after evacuating their homes. It is a difficult situation for a team that is already bottom of the F1 standings.

high mountain

After CEO Laurent Rossi spoke publicly (and foolish) about his disappointment with Alpine’s F1 performance, the French team really needed a successful weekend to appease everyone. The Imola, with its mid- and high-speed corners, is a perfect match for the Alpine car, and a strong performance on the track will lift the team’s morale.

With Imola out, the team’s next race will take place in Monaco on a slow, frustrating track where Alpine is not expected to excel. Through no fault of its own, Alpine is unlikely to get a good result until the Spanish Grand Prix in June.

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