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F1 fans think they know the real reason why bizarre Chinese GP fire happened

F1 fans think they know the real reason why bizarre Chinese GP fire happened

The same patch of trackside grass caught fire twice on Friday.

F1 fans think they have worked out the real reason why two fires occurred at the Chinese Grand Prix during practice and sprint qualifying.

The morning's practice session had to be red-flagged when a patch of grass, situated by the side of the track at turn five, set alight.

Sky F1 commentator David Croft said he didn't think he had 'ever, ever seen grass catch fire by the side of the track'.

After a brief red flag, the session got back underway again, with the remainder of practice passing without further incident.

But the same patch of grass set on fire again at the end of Q1 in sprint qualifying, with the small blaze appearing to be slightly more widespread.

You can watch the footage below.

Sky F1 reporters Ted Kravitz and Karun Chandhok speculated on various factors that could have caused the fire, including

that sparks from the car's skid blocks had landed on the grass and caused it to set alight.

The FIA released their own statement on the incident, but could not confirm the actual cause: "After a first review of the video footage, it seems like it is sparks coming from cars igniting the fire in the grass run-off area."

But fans have done their own detective work - and think they may have come up with the answer.

During the opening practice session, Kravitz brought up how the Shanghai International Circuit was built on swampland between 2003 and 2004.

And one F1 fan noted that swampland can be highly flammable - perhaps providing a reason as to why the grass caught fire.

While the sport has had no problems with the grass at the circuit before, F1 cars haven't raced there since 2019 due to the race being cancelled because of COVID restrictions.

In 2022, the FIA introduced new regulations in relation to ground effect cars, with the car floors sitting closer to the track and therefore producing more sparks.

Meanwhile, earlier in the week, some drivers were left surprised by the darker appearance of the track, with Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo among those suggesting that it may have been painted over.

But Autosport report that the track's organisers had in fact used a bitumen surface treatment, which helps eliminate dust and prevents disintegration of the track. It is said to have been completed last year.

Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports

Topics: Formula 1, Max Verstappen, Fan Reactions