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Strikes, civil unrest, and a pandemic: When the F1 calendar doesn't go to plan

Strikes, civil unrest, and a pandemic: When the F1 calendar doesn't go to plan

Strikes, civil unrest, and a pandemic: When the F1 calendar doesn't go to plan

Strikes, civil unrest, and a pandemic: When the F1 calendar doesn't go to plan

The cancellation of the Emila Romagna Grand Prix due to severe flooding in the area means there will be no F1 race to watch this weekend.

It was deemed too high a risk to allow the Grand Prix weekend to continue unamended and the decision has been made to forego the legendary Imola circuit.

Weather has always been a big risk in Formula 1. Cars, despite the presence of wet weather tyres and improved safety features, are not designed to be driven in inclement conditions.

Therefore, there is a historic precedence of races being cancelled due to the weather, while others races have been cancelled for far stranger reasons.

Here is a potted history of times when the F1 calendar doesn't quite go as scheduled...

READ MORE: Imola F1 cancellation: Nine dead, rivers breaking banks and hospital flooded in Italy as RED ALERT weather continues

1969 Belgian Grand Prix – Strikes over driver safety

Mercifully, deaths and even injuries are a very rare sight in F1 these days but back in the early years, drivers knew they were toying with their lives when they set foot in an F1 car.

By the late 60s, the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, led by the would-be three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart, was becoming increasingly vocal over what it felt was a lack of consideration for the safety of drivers.

Jackie Stewart has long been a tireless advocate of driver safety

Disagreements over a dangerous part of the old Spa track led to drivers withdrawing from the Grand Prix and the race never took place.

1983 New York Grand Prix – Environmental protests

Bernie Ecclestone was eyeing up the US market in the 1980s in the hope of winning over fans of IndyCar and NASCAR. It was an understandably ambitious move from the former F1 supremo. Money was obviously there to be made from a market as big as America.

In 1982, it was announced there would be a race in New York City the following year with organisers aiming for the "charm" of Monaco mixed with a "definite New York atmosphere".

Bernie Ecclestone's big American plans did not go well

Unfortunately, the plan was shelved in June 1983 owing to environmental protests as well as a struggle to attract sponsors and TV rights.

Ecclestone persevered with the idea for two more years before the New York race was ultimately dropped.

1985 Belgian Grand Prix – Track resurfacing

A unique race in that it was the only one in history to be postponed after the race weekend had already commenced. Organisers had resurfaced part of the Spa track with the intention of using tarmac which is grippier in wet weather.

Sounds terrific. Aside from the fact that work had only been completed two weeks before. In practice, the track was being chewed up by powerful F1 cars but drivers agreed it was still just about driveable.

The real issue came when "repairs" were undertaken overnight. There was nowhere near enough time for the tarmac to set and cars were lapping 25 seconds slower than usual.

In the interests of safety, the race was postponed and the organisers were slapped with fines.

READ MORE: When could the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix be rescheduled for?

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix – Civil unrest

Bahrain was due to kick off the 2011 season but political tensions in the region meant it never did. The Arab Spring. where a series of dictators in the area were toppled, was in full swing.

There was uncertainty over whether the race would attract protestors who would tarnish Bahrian's image to sponsors.

Bahrain is a staple of the F1 calendar once again

Unsurprisingly, the crown prince of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, announced the race would not go ahead though it did return to the calendar for 2012.

Most of the original 2020 calendar – Covid

March 2020 was one of the most bewildering and unpredictable months in the whole of human history. The Covid-19 virus, which had been known about for much of the calendar year, was beginning to sweep around the world, leading to devastating consequences.

In terms of sport, there wasn't a news bulletin that went by without something being cancelled.

Shanghai may come back to the calendar next year

The Australian race was the first to go while races in Vietnam, China, Canada, and France were among the many casualties.

China still hasn't returned to the calendar despite being scheduled due to its very strict Covid protocols while Hnaoi was not been included on the calendar since.

READ MORE: Absent F1 Grand Prix set for RETURN in 2024

2022 Russian Grand Prix and beyond – War in Ukraine

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has had many far-reaching consequences and sport has not escaped.

Nikita Mazepin lost his race seat after the beginning of the War in Ukraine

Whether it's the football team being barred from competing in World Cup/European Championship qualifiers, or tennis players refused entry to Wimbledon, Russian sport has been decimated.

Nikita Mazepin was let go by Haas while the race in Sochi was cancelled.

There is no immediate prospect of F1 returning to Russia and that will most likely come when the war has hopefully ended.

READ MORE: Emotional F1 CEO Domenicali speaks out after weather wreaks havoc on his home region


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