Formula 1 has announced it will no longer use ‘Grid Girls’ in the sport, starting from the upcoming 2018 season.
In a statement released on Wednesday, F1 said it “will end the long-standing practice of using walk-on Grid Girls,” in a move that will also apply to other race series taking place as part of the grand prix weekend schedule at each venue. As the debate over the relevance of grid girls has increased in recent years, F1 had previously experimented with using men in the same role at certain races, but has now dropped the practice altogether.
Explaining the decision, the statement added: “Formula 1 considers the time spent by teams and drivers on the grid before a race as one of celebration, where guests and various performers can add to the glamour and spectacle of the Grand Prix, enabling promoters and partners to showcase their countries and products.”
Grid Girls have previously been used to hold driver boards and flags pre-race, as well as lining the route to the podium after the checkered flag. F1’s owners Liberty Media recently said the practice was “under review” and the sport’s managing director of commercial operations, Sean Bratches, says Grid Girls are now outdated.
“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,” Bratches said. “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.”
Formula 1 is not alone in making such a move, with the Professional Darts Corporation in the UK recently announcing it will no longer use walk-on girls at events. The FIA World Endurance Championship had stopped employing Grid Girls in 2015.