A Formula 1 car should not weigh less than 605 kilograms together with the driver. So ballasts help the car reach this required limit. However, it’s not their only purpose. They also play a critical role in cars handling, weight distribution and tyre degredation.
So, what you see in the picture is ballast. Apparently, It came off from a McLaren during yesterdays Qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix. Fortunately, it was collected safely by the marshalls. After what happened with Massa in 2009, it was surely another close call.
Photo credit: Unknown