Formula 1 is seen as the pioneer of the automotive world with engine and tech developments filtering down into road cars. Yet, it hasn’t always been ahead of the game when it comes to the representation of women in motorsport.
But that’s now changing as Formula 1 will end the long-standing practice of having glamorous women in figure hugging clothing, known as ‘grid girls’, to mill around race cars just before the start of a Grand Prix.
Commencing with the start of the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season, beginning March 25, grid girls will no longer be present at the start of the race.
“Over the last year we have looked at a number of areas which we felt needed updating so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport,” said Sean Bratches, managing director of commercial operations at Formula 1.
“While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 Grands Prix for decades, 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 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”
The decision comes shortly after the Professional Darts Corporation announced it will stop using ‘walk-on girls’, the equivalent of grid girls, to accompany darts players onto the stage.
On Twitter many have praised Formula 1 decision as a means to move with the times. But a few others have pointed out that it means there will be female models who’ll now be out of work due to the decision.
Oh no!!!!!!!! That was going to be my next venture ??? On a serious note…. really?!?!? Is that not part of motorsport? Also, job loss for the girls who take part. The grid girls I know enjoy their job. https://t.co/VkhfWnsS4v
— Alice Powell (@alicepowell) January 31, 2018
Any changes in motorsport tend to incite strong opinions and debates among diehard fans. When the decision to downsize F1 car engines in 2014 from normally aspirated V8s to turbocharged V6 motors, there was a furore over the decision that still sees fans bemoan the changes today.
However, the motorsport still endures and we doubt the decision to take grid girls out of the equation will change the popularity of Formula 1.
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