George Russell reacts to Emilia Romagna Grand Prix being cancelled

Formula 1 has been forced to cancel the 2023 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix following deadly flooding in the Italian region.

In a statement released by Formula 1 on Wednesday, officials announced that this weekend’s Grand Prix at Imola will be abandoned amid raging floods that have forced thousands to flee their homes.

After a meeting between Formula 1, the President of the FIA and relevant authorities, including Ministers, the President of the Automobile Club of Italy, the President of the Emilia-Romagna Region, the Mayor of the City and the promoter, the decision has been taken to not proceed with this weekend’s event.

The area where the race was due to take place has been under a red weather warning after severe rainfall, with the swollen Santerno River behind the Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit sending water flooding across parts of the track.

Italy’s deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, had called for the race to be postponed over the deadly weather conditions, as officials wanted to ensure all efforts were concentrated on tackling the emergency situation.

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Heeding the warnings, Formula 1 and the regional authorities had urged teams and personnel to not go to the circuit on Wednesday due to the risk posed by the dangerous conditions.

George Russell responded to the situation in Italy, issuing an apology to fans who were travelling to the event to support Mercedes, stating how safety has to come first.

“Sorry for the fans that this weekend’s race has been cancelled but the safety of everyone involved always has to come first,” Russell posted on Twitter.

“Wishing all the best to everyone in the Emilia-Romagna region and surrounding areas that have been affected by these floods.”

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“It is such a tragedy to see what has happened to Imola and Emilia-Romagna, the town and region that I grew up in, and my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the flooding and the families and communities affected,” Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said in an official statement.

“I want to express my gratitude and admiration for the incredible emergency services who are working tirelessly to help those who need help and alleviate the situation – they are heroes and the whole of Italy is proud of them.

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“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 extra burden for the authorities while they deal with this very awful situation.”

“My thoughts and those of the entire FIA family are with those affected by the terrible situation in the Emilia-Romagna region. The safety of everyone involved and recovery efforts are the top priority at this time,” FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem added.

Formula 1 isn’t the only sport to have been affected by the weather conditions, with cycling’s Giro d’Italia and the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome being impacted.