Deadly flooding following one and a half days of heavy rainfall has devastated the Emilia Romagna region of Italy and resulted in this weekend’s race at Imola being called off. 

F1 cancel Emilia Romagna Grand Prix ❌

F1 rightly prioritised the ongoing emergency effort by making a swift call to abandon the grand prix following talks with local authorities and race organisers on Wednesday. 

Imola’s cancellation has led to several sporting implications, including Gasly being afforded a much-needed respite. 

The Alpine driver currently has 10 penalty points on his licence and has had the threat of a one-race ban hanging over him since last year’s Mexican Grand Prix in October. 

Just two penalty points shy of being forced to sit on the sidelines for a weekend, Gasly has been on his best behaviour during the opening five races of the season in order to keep his record clean. 

This weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was due to be the final race for Gasly to avoid falling foul of the stewards before two points are wiped off on May 22.

It means Gasly now has a four-point buffer before triggering an automatic race ban. After five more events - Monaco, Spain, Canada, Austria and Silverstone - his next points will be dropped on July 10. 

Delayed upgrades 

Teams having their development plans disrupted is another direct consequence of Imola’s cancellation. 

This has notably impacted Mercedes, who were ready to introduce their long-awaited and highly-anticipated upgrade package for the W14 in Imola. 

Mercedes will now debut their major upgrade at next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix. 

The unique challenge presented by Monaco’s barrier-lined street circuit prompted questions over whether Mercedes would risk bringing such a big update to the Principality. 

But Mercedes have confirmed they will not delay their plans any further by waiting until the following week’s Spanish Grand Prix at the more conventional Barcelona circuit. 

Ferrari were also set to bring an upgrade to Imola. Unlike Mercedes, the Italian outfit look set to delay the introduction of their new rear suspension until Barcelona. 

Qualifying shake-up postponed 

Imola was also meant to see a new qualifying format trialed for the first time. 

Teams were set to have two fewer sets of slick tyres to use over the course of the weekend as part of Pirelli’s bid to improve sustainability by cutting down usage. 

Rather than having free tyre choice in Saturday’s one-hour qualifying session, there would be mandatory tyres for each segment. 

If conditions were dry, drivers would have been obliged to use hard tyres in Q1, mediums in Q2 and softs in Q3. 

Two such experiments were planned, with the next set to take place at the Hungarian Grand Prix in July. 

The FIA may now wish to carry out Pirelli’s qualifying shake-up at another race before the summer break, though a decision has not yet been made. 

Pirelli were also set to debut a new wet compound that does not require the use of tyre blankets. That tyre will now be used from next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.