Grid girls have long been a part of not just Formula One but many a race events that happen around the world. While there are factions which debate on the necessity of having one out on the race track holding up the driver’s numbers. However, Formula 1 has taken a stand on this issue and now, we’ll see none of the grid girls at the races. In fact we won’t see even the podium girls who are right up there when the champion pops the champagne.
The long-standing practice of using women on the grid and on the podium with the top three drivers has finally ended and Sean Bratches, F1’s managing director of commercial operations, said: “We feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms. We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula One and its fans, old and new, across the world.”
The changes will also apply to other motorsports series – such as F2 – that take place on GP weekends. F1 is owned by Liberty Media, which completed its takeover from former commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone in January 2017 and the decision does not come as a surprise as this has been on the table for a while now.
Other motorsport events have already stopped employing grid girls for race days. The WEC which hosts the 24 Hours Le Mans stopped doing it prior to the start of the 2015 season. In fact F1 too did it as a one off at the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix where grid girls were replaced by men in short jeans which rattled driver’s like Sebastian Vettel, who wondered where the girls had gone.
The first race of the season is the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 25.