Shanghai sizzles: FIA scrambling to solve mystery grass fires


The FIA is on a quest for answers, scratching their heads over the mysterious grass fires that lit up Friday’s opening day of running at the Chinese Grand Prix.

The first incident erupted halfway through the 60-minute free practice session when a patch of grass located just behind the kerb on the inside of Shanghai’s Turn 7 was seen ablaze.

The moment triggered a brief red flag to allow the track marshals to extinguish the fire, but the cause of the burn-up remained a mystery.

Later in the day in Sprint qualifying, the same patch of consumed grass caught fire again which led to a slight delay to the start of SQ2 and more head-scratching for the organisers.

As the FIA scrambled to find the culprit, initial finger-pointing landed on the new generation of cars, with their proximity to the ground potentially showering the grass with fiery sparks like confetti at a celebration.

However, this theory couldn't fully explain the sudden blazes, especially considering the moisturizing effects of Wednesday’s downpour in Shanghai.

According to, strange theories began to surface.

Could methane gas, seeping up from the swamp beneath the Shanghai track, be the secret ingredient fueling these surprise bonfires?

Or perhaps a chemical lawn treatment had transformed the humble grass into a fire-starter's dream?

Despite poking around the scene, the FIA came up empty-handed, finding no telltale smells or evidence of mischief.

But with the fiery problem persisting in qualifying, the FIA vowed to delve deeper after Sprint qualifying in a bid to extinguish the mystery before it caused further chaos.

Safety is paramount and F1’s governing body as well as the local organisers want to make sure that the remaining sessions aren't derailed by impromptu bonfires or worse, a safety car leading the pack in Sunday’s race.

Shanghai’s temperatures are on a rise this weekend, but Friday’s mysterious fires are a whole new level of sizzle that F1 surely didn't order!