Formula One

Imola hoping for contract extension after 2023 wash-out


Promoters of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix are hoping that Formula 1 will hand them a one-year extension to their current contract, to make up for the last-minute cancellation of this year’s event.

The race was due to be held at the weekend, but disastrous floods in the region around Imola has forced all the interested parties to cancel, less than 48 hours before the scheduled start of practice.

Team personnel had already been told to stay away from the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari on Tuesday and Wednesday, as parts of the circuit started to flood and access to and from the area become potentially life-threatening.

It’s possible that the race could be slotted into the calendar later in the year, but in an already packed calendar this is not without its problems.

“Given the tight schedule in 2023, it is difficult to think we can make up for it this year,” F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said. “but we have a moral obligation to those who have worked so hard, and we will see.”


Imola’s current contract ends in 2025 but Domenicali said he was open to adding an extra race after that. “With the extension of the Imola contract in 2026, the date of this race could be recovered that season. It is an option on the table.”

The president of the Automobile Club d’Italia, Angelo Sticchi Damiani, insisted that cancelling this weekend’s event had been the right call, adding that he was “deeply saddened by what is happening” in the region.

“The cancellation was inevitable in the face of such a dramatic situation,” he said. “Given the complexity of the calendar it is reasonable to imagine that the 2023 race will be run in 2026 but at the moment it is certainly not a priority.”

F1’s sporting regulations state that a race cancelled with less than three months notice is not eligible for inclusion in next year’s championship “unless the FIA judges the cancellation to have been due to force majeure.”

That will almost certainly be considered the case here, and the official statement from the ACT announcing the cancellation pointedly used the phrase ‘force majeure’.

The statement added that the ACT “expresses its utmost solidarity with those who, in these dramatic hours, mourn the loss of their loved ones or are forced to leave their homes”.

It further expressed “support and thanks to the Institutions of the State, the Emilia Romagna region, the forces of order and civil defence which, in these difficult days”

It said that all involved were “doing their utmost to help the population and secure the area” and gave thanks “to the more than 3000 insiders who had arrived at Imola to organise and make the Grand Prix possible.”

Officials confirmed that from a technical point of view the track would have been ready and able to run, but that the priority had been the safety of all those involved and not adding to the burden on regional emergency services.

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Imola hoping for contract extension after 2023 wash-out

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