From the very first proposal of titanium skid blocks I have to admit... I didn't hate the idea.
It was in the period of double points, banning team instructions on the radio and strictly limiting fuel flow - all rule changes that adversely affected The Show. So forgive me if my first impression was, "it won't affect the racing, so at least there's that."
I know that they are artificially created, but there's something about the cars sparking as they bottom out down the straight, or when flying over the kerbs, or under heavy breaking that just captures your attention. It provides another visual cue with which to gauge the speed of the cars, it emphasises the physical stresses placed on the car and... i mean... it's little balls of molten fire! What more do you need?
Talking to the "artificial" complaint... isn't setting off fireworks "artificial"? Racing under lights is artificial, spraying champagne is artificial, having hostesses next to the podium is artificial. Certainly none of them are necessary, that's why we add them... to improve the show. So, where do you draw the line.
From time to time I will admit I poo-poo things like fireworks. It's a nasty personality trait, but I can't help but scowl at people who "OOOOhhhh" and "AAAAHHH!" at the loud noises and bright lights like over-hyped infants that have consumed too much sugar. Then I have to remind myself that people are just having fun and enjoying themselves - lighten up for goodness sake.
Haters will say that organisers are disguising the deeper issue with the sport, namely the lack of speed and noise in the cars. It's timely that this issue arrises at the Bahrain Grand Prix, as last year's race here was one of the best for decades, and proof that it's not the speed or noise alone that go into making a great race. Most important is great racing.
F1 is trying to attract new audiences (nothing new there), and if adding some sparks to the show brings people in then who cares? Perhaps if the sparks were artificially activated when a driver opened their DRS and lit up two trails of sparks coming from the rear wing, THEN I might agree that it's a bit tacky and weird.
For now, the way it's been implemented is perfectly fine. We've had sparks in F1 before, and now they have returned. Let those who are impressed be impressed, and if it's not our thing then get over it. There's plenty about F1 that I don't like (a few of the drivers wouldn't be there if I had my way, believe me), but as long as things aren't too egregious I can't complain too much.