As Formula 1 prepares for an unexpected weekend without racing, the questions around what now happens to Imola's hosting duties have already begun — but the sport has created a situation that makes answering them a tricky task.
By pursuing the recent trend of extending the calendar to as long as possible, there are very few slots where any rescheduled race might slot in, and F1 faces the prospect of the much-hyped 'record-breaking calendar' being the same 22-race length as the past two years.
There's no denying that the sport made the right call in cancelling the race for this weekend as the weather makes more upsetting headlines of rising death tolls and infrastructure damage to the Emilia Romagna region.
It feels almost callous to wonder what happens next for a sport that is inconsequential compared to the human cost of what is happening in Italy.
However, with a capacity of 78,000 and F1 often selling out in its traditional locations, tens of thousands will want to know what the next steps are, not to mention the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari which pays F1's high fees to host the sport.
Where could missed F1 race slot into 2023 calendar?
With force majeure meaning Imola won't be on the hook for paying up for a weekend without racing, it doesn't mean the circuit doesn't want F1 to visit, with F1's ticket and concession sales being a sizeable source of income for any host venue.
Slotting in later in the year would prevent the income loss and other unknown knock-on effects of no F1 in 2023, but looking at the calendar makes it seem almost impossible.
The next two weekends are already full, with the second two parts of what should've been the first triple-header of the season at Monaco and Barcelona.
After Barcelona is a free weekend before Canada — but slotting in there would create a quadruple header with a North American trip at the end. In other words, a non-starter, not to mention the logistical challenges of such a rapid date turnaround.
On the other side of the Montreal flyaway, Imola hosts Porsche Sports Cup Suisse, which has no reason to disrupt its plans for the benefit of F1, leaving the gap between Silverstone and the Hungaroring races as the only option before the summer break.
However, those races are already part of doubleheaders, and joining those with the Emilia Romagna GP would create an entirely unsustainable quintuple header for drivers, personnel, the media, and I daresay even the fans watching on television already suffering from F1 fatigue in what is not the sport's most gripping season.
The same issue comes after the summer break but between the Dutch and Italian events and the trip to Asia for Japan and Singapore.
A long shot is the one-week gap between Japan and Qatar on October 1st, with the motorhomes and road-going equipment already in Italy following the Monza event on September 3rd. Although, keeping trucks in the country for such a long period isn't ideal for the non-Italian team majority.
For the personnel attending the races, jumping across three continents in a four-week blitz doesn't seem attractive for physical or mental well-being, either.
The weather change from October means rain is likely in the Emilia Romagna region, and temperatures would be cooler than the already-cool May levels.
Unlikely Imola race happens this year...
All of this serves to show just how crammed F1's 2023 calendar is, and that's without including the already-cancelled Chinese Grand Prix.
The sport isn't necessarily wrong in not having a contingency plan for a weekend cancellation with how uncommon this situation is.
Still, the high likelihood that Imola won't host F1 this year from the relentless schedule shines a light on how much the sport is bursting at the seams and is a problem of its own making.
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