Not everyone loves F1’s new sparks. Last year, also to beef up the safety of the cars, F1 decided to return to its spark-laden past by adding titanium to the skid blocks in 2015.
So far, the result has been spectacular — particularly under the night skies and floodlights in Bahrain.
“Loving the sparks from the cars,” Jenson Button, who had to simply watch the race from the paddock after his McLaren-Honda was sidelined, ‘tweeted’.
And on its official website, the energy drink company Red Bull published a spectacular montage of ‘spark’-themed photographs from Bahrain, remarking: “Welcome back sparks, welcome back.”
F1 rookie Carlos Sainz, however, said he has mixed feelings at best.
“It looks good on TV,” the Spaniard is quoted by Marca newspaper, “but for us (drivers) it can be unpleasant, dazzling us as the sparks hit the visor.” (GMM)
‘Sparks were a weapon and would burn your visor’
Titanium plates were fitted on the cars in the 1980s and early 1990s before they were replaced by wood, which meant an end to the sparks
Britain’s Nigel Mansell, the 1992 world champion, said: “I loved the skid plates, and the sparks. It was such a distraction to anyone following you.
“In free practice I would search out bumps that were slightly offline that I could use in the race if someone was right behind me.
“The lines wouldn’t slow me, but I knew would give a big shower of sparks to the guy behind, and hopefully pock-mark their visor too. They really did make burns on your visor.” (BBC)
Mixed expressions from Bahrain
The Williams team tweeted: “Sparks in the sky and on the race track. We like!”
Mercedes certainly seemed to think the sparks added to the drama of the race, tweeting: “Yes @nico_rosberg! Yes yes yes!!! He’s nailed #Vettel into T1 again! Sparks flying everywhere.”
Matt Burfield tweeted: “Whoever came up with the titanium skid plates needs a medal. Fantastic sparks during a night race.”
James Heath added: “I’ve always thought the cars looked great at night, but this year with the added sparks it is fantastic.”
While Pedro Silva posted: “With all the sparks flying. Bahrain F1 GP looks like the world biggest Scalextric set.”
However, it wasn’t a hit with everyone with some purists thinking it was a bad move from the FIA.
Kit Marsden posted: “If the cars are racing hard, and there HAPPEN to be sparks, that’s GREAT. But we shouldn’t be artificially CREATING sparks.”