Imola F1 paddock evacuated before threat of flooding

Formula 1 teams and staff were ordered to evacuate the Imola paddock on Tuesday afternoon amid a threat of flooding from the adjacent Santerno River.

Footage posted on social media said the paddock and TV enclosure had already been hit by pooling water after a long period of rain in the area caused river levels to rise.

The teams are in Imola preparing their garages, engineering trucks and hospitality units ahead of this weekend’s Emilia Romagna GP.

Continued bad weather led to speculation that the event could be under threat.

The Emilia-Romagna region has been hit hard by storms in recent weeks and on Monday the Civil Protection Department issued a red alert warning, suggesting there will be 100mm of rain through Tuesday and a total of 150mm by late Wednesday.

Forecasts indicate that it could continue to rain until Sunday’s race day.

A meeting was held between the National Crisis Cell and local elected officials to discuss the situation in the region, with the department noting: “It was shared the possibility that, in areas affected by the red alert, mayors could plan, for tomorrow, the closure of the schools and roads most at risk, starting with those close to the banks and landslide areas.

“The invitation to citizens is to avoid commuting as much as possible and to resort, where possible, to smart working.”

Although there are still a few days until the track action begins, this latest suggestion seems to clash with the prospect of thousands of racing fans from Italy and other countries arriving in the region ahead of the race.

It is also possible that car parks and spectator areas will not be usable because they are waterlogged.

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