The issue of smoke bombs
Over the past few years, especially during the editions of the Dutch and Austrian Grand Prix, there have been protests and criticisms from Formula 1 drivers regarding the use of smoke bombs in the stands by some spectators. While providing a spectacular visual effect, particularly created by the ‘Orange’ fans supporting Max Verstappen, their ignition caused visibility issues on the track, especially during the formation lap or in the final laps before the finish line.
In the past, the skies were filled with red smoke, especially at the Italian Grand Prix, courtesy of the Tifosi’s red flares. These enthusiastic fans gathered in large numbers to passionately support Ferrari during the Scuderia’s era of dominance with Michael Schumacher.
FIA Steps In
Some organizers had already taken steps to prevent this hazard (compounded by the throwing of a flare onto the track, again at Zandvoort), not allowing spectators to bring them to certain circuits. However, the FIA has intervened, conclusively settling the matter: starting from the next Formula One championship, the use of smoke bombs will indeed be prohibited, with the rule being included in the International Sporting Code related to the use of pyrotechnic products.
The new rule
Specifically, in the update of the same Code after the FIA meeting, the following rule has been introduced: “The possession and/or use of pyrotechnic articles at FIA events by participants and spectators (unless authorized in writing by the FIA) now constitutes a breach of the regulations. The term pyrotechnic has been defined as ‘any device containing exothermic substances or an exothermic mixture of substances designed to produce a heating, light, sound, gas, or smoke effect, or a combination of these effects, including but not limited to rockets, smoke bombs, and fireworks.'”