Imola GP organisers hope for F1 contract extension

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Emilia Romagna Grand Prix organisers hope that their Formula One contract will be extended by one year until 2026 after this year's race in Imola, set for this weekend, had to be cancelled due to heavy rainfall and flooding.

The race weekend was called off on Wednesday owing to the conditions which have left at least eight people dead in the northern Italian region.

Holding the race later in the season is all but impossible due to a tight calendar, and shortening the summer break in August would probably not be accepted by the teams.

As a result, the Italian automotive club ACI hopes for an extension of its current deal until 2025.

"Given the complexity of the calendar, it is reasonable to imagine that the 2023 edition will be held in 2026. But right now it is certainly not a priority," ACI president Angelo Sticchi Damiani said.

Damiani added he was "deeply saddened by what is happening in Emilia-Romagna" and said that "the cancellation was inevitable in the face of such a dramatic situation."

Formula One president Stefano Domenicali, who was born in Imola, agreed it would be "difficult" to stage the race later in the season and named a contract extension to hold the race in 2026 "an option that is on the table."

The season, which will now likely consist of 22 races, is to continue next week with the Monaco GP.

It was originally a 24-race season but the Chinese GP in Shanghai set for April 16 was cancelled for the fourth straight year because of the coronavirus.