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2024 Chinese GP: FIA Explains What Caused the Fire on the Shanghai International Circuit

Aishwary Gaonkar

2024 Chinese GP: FIA Explains What Caused the Fire on the Shanghai International Circuit

The 2024 Chinese GP started off on a fiery note as the grass on the inside of Turn seven at the Shanghai International Circuit caught fire out of nowhere. This left everyone, including the drivers, puzzled as to what caused the grass to catch fire. Naturally, race control called an immediate red flag for the only practice session of the weekend. A few journalists on Twitter (now X) have reported that according to the FIA, the sparks from the cars may have ignited this fire at Turn 7.

According to @OffTrack_FR, Julien Febreau and Franck Montagny have hypothesized this car sparks theory. Even Chris Medland highlighted that the FIA confirmed this theory could possibly be the reason.

Medland wrote, “On the fires so far today, the FIA states: “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””.

It is quite odd to see grass catching fire as many other tracks on the calendar have such grass on the banks of corners. At tracks such as Suzuka and Montreal, such fiery incidents have not been witnessed despite cars generating such sparks there as well.

In fact, in previous editions of the Chinese GP as well, such incidents have not occurred. What was even more surprising was that the grass at Turn seven again caught fire during the sprint qualifying towards the end of SQ1, which delayed the start of SQ2.

A chaos of elements at the Chinese GP

As the fire went out, the heavens opened up at the Shanghai International Circuit. While there was rain forecast for the entirety of the weekend, the Japanese GP too had a similar forecast and it turned out to be a dry qualifying and race in Suzuka.

However, as it rained on Friday in Japan, a similar script unfolded during the Chinese GP. Towards the dying minutes of SQ2, it began to drizzle and drivers had to make the most of the dry track conditions, which would fade away later on.

This also eliminated Mercedes’ George Russell, as the 25-year-old was not able to set a time good enough for the top 10. Besides Russell, even the Haas drivers along with Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll bowed out in SQ2.

However, it set up an exciting shootout for the sprint race pole in rainy conditions, as the Ferraris and McLarens had a better chance of catching the Red Bull cars. That is exactly how it panned out and due to the rain intensifying, the grid got a good shake-up. Lando Norris outpaced everyone to take the sprint pole by over 1.2 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Hamilton and Fernando Alonso rounded off the top three, after briefly taking the provisional pole. Max Verstappen uncharacteristically made two crucial errors in the rain, which cost him time, resulting in him only managing to finish P4 in SQ3.

Post Edited By:Vidit Dhawan

About the author

Aishwary Gaonkar

Aishwary Gaonkar


Aishwary Gaonkar is the F1 Editor at The SportsRush. Having written over 757 articles about different aspects of the sport, Aishwary passionately likes to dive deep into the intricacies of the on-track events. He has been an avid F1 fan since the 2011 season, amid Sebastian Vettel's dominance. Besides the 4-time champion, he also likes Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. Among the current drivers, he thinks Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri have championship-winning caliber. Longing for a Ferrari world championship, Aishwary is also a fan of Aston Martin's underdog story and their bid to win the F1 championship. Other than F1, he follows tennis and cricket too.

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