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Emilia Romagna Grand Prix canceled because of flooding

<i>Guglielmo Mangiapane/Pool/AP</i><br/>Red Bull driver Max Verstappen
Guglielmo Mangiapane/Pool/AP
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen

By Jill Martin, CNN

(CNN) — Formula 1 has canceled this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix because of heavy flooding in the northern Italian region, citing safety concerns.

At least eight people have been killed by heavy flooding and mudslides in the region with more than 13,000 residents being forced to evacuate, according to local authorities.

On Tuesday, motorsport staff were asked to leave the site of the race amid concerns regarding flooding, an F1 source told CNN.

“The Formula 1 community wants to send its thoughts to the people and communities affected by the recent events in the Emilia-Romagna region,” said F1 in a statement. “We also want to pay tribute to the work of the emergency services who are doing everything they can to help those in need.

“Following discussions between Formula 1, the President of the FIA, the competent authorities including the relevant Ministers, the President of the Automobile Club of Italy, the President of Emilia Romagna Region, the Mayor of the City and the promoter the decision has been taken not to proceed with the Grand Prix weekend in Imola,” added the F1 statement.

“The decision has been taken because it is not possible to safely hold the event for our fans, the teams and our personnel and it is the right and responsible thing to do given the situation faced by the towns and cities in the region.

“It would not be right to put further pressure on the local authorities and emergency services at this difficult time.”

Stefano Domenica, President and CEO of F1, said it was “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.”

“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 on them,” added Domenica.

The Emilia Romagna GP was due to have been the sixth race of the season on the F1 calendar.

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