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Formula One drivers struggled to escape flooding in Italy after Grand Prix cancelled | World News

Formula One drivers have shared their stories of how they struggled to get out of deadly flooding in northern Italy after this week’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix was cancelled.

Nine people have been killed and more than 10,000 evacuated from their homes because of the floods, which also forced the race to be called off on Wednesday.

The track is next to a swollen river and the F1 said it wanted to avoid further burdening emergency services.

The two drivers, Nyck de Vries and Yuki Tsunoda, both drive for AlphaTauri, which is based in Faenza, a flooded city close to the Imola track.

Rescuers used boats to transport people through the flooded streets of the city on Thursday.

Dutch driver de Vries said he was trying to reach the Faenza factory on Tuesday night ahead of marketing events scheduled for Wednesday but the roads were cut off.

“Faenza is already flooded and I am unable to get to my hotel. Returning to the highway is no option either. Stuck in a little village with one fully booked hotel,” he posted on Instagram on Thursday.

He recounted his experience with pictures and video of roads blocked by landslips.

“Fortunately McLaren got stranded there earlier and their front jack (mechanic) Frazer was kind enough to give me his room. The following morning, the hotel lobby turned into an emergency shelter for people who were forced to escape their homes during the night.”

De Vries said he eventually made his way home via the city of Florence after an “adventurous” drive on mountain roads.

He thanked local people who helped him on his journey.

De Vries shared pictures of roads blocked by landslips
De Vries said the hotel lobby turned into an emergency shelter. Pics: @nyckdevries

‘The town is heavily impacted’

His teammate Tsunoda, who began living in Faenza in 2021 to work with AlphaTauri, said the city was badly hit.

“After a horrible night the town is heavily impacted: dust, mud, and the smell of gasoline everywhere,” the Japanese driver posted on social media on Wednesday.

“Currently people are struggling to find food and especially places to stay, after many have been evacuated from their own homes.”

Photos from Tsunoda show the extent of the flooding. Pics: @yukitsunoda0511

Appeals for donations

AlphaTauri said its factory had not been affected by the floods and “everything is being done to ensure the safety of our employees and their families”.

The team and both its drivers appealed for donations to help people affected by the floods.

People are rescued in Faenza, Italy 
People are rescued in Faenza. Pic: AP
A car is submerged in Faenza, Italy
A submerged car. Pic: AP

Ferrari, which backed the decision to cancel its home race, said it is donating €1m (£870m) to flood relief efforts in the Emilia-Romagna region.

Rescuers use a dinghy to evacuate people in Faenza, Italy
Rescuers use a dinghy to evacuate people in Faenza. Pic: AP
A resident removes mud and debris after heavy rains hit Italy's Emilia Romagna region, in Faenza, Italy, May 18, 2023. REUTERS/Claudia Greco
A resident removes mud and debris in Faenza

Teams and drivers support decision to cancel race

The decision to cancel the Emilia-Romagna GP was strongly supported by teams and drivers including seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton and defending champion Max Verstappen, who leads the standings from his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.

The next race will be the Monaco GP on 28 May and the Spanish GP a week later.

This story originally appeared on Skynews

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