F1 Opens Discussion On “Grid Girls”

SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 08: Scuderia Toro Rosso grid girls during the Formula One Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 8, 2017 in Suzuka. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Formula 1 grid girls may become a thing of the past soon, or not. During an interview with BBC Radio 5, Ross Brawn, the F1 Managing Director of motorsports described the idea of having grid girls at F1 events as being currently “under strong review”. Brawn said it was a “delicate topic” and some people consider that the concept of “grid girls” has become outdated.

F1 Opens Discussion On “Grid Girls”

Grid Girls in F1

‘Grid girls’ line the corridors when F1 drivers walk out to the podium. They stand in front of the grid slots on the grid with the drivers name-boards with their numbers. They are usually models who are dressed glamorously and are involved in various promotional activities during a Grand Prix weekend.

Formula 1 has new owners with Liberty Media acquiring the sport in 2017. Chase Carey became the new Chief Executive officer of the Formula One Group. Carey also commented on the topic by saying that they need to “get as many points of view as possible and make a decision right for the future of the sport”.

If F1 were to drop the idea of grid girls, it would by no means be starting a trend. The World Endurance Championship (WEC) did away with the idea back in 2015. Many soccer leagues around the world have a long standing tradition of letting kids walk out with the players for the national anthem. Formula E tested this idea with “grid kids” earlier this year at the Montreal ePrix. This experiment was met with a positive response from the motrosport community after it was tested out.

Women’s Role in F1

In recent years the FIA has run campaigns to try to expand their female demographic, especially in competition. In 2009, the FIA launched their Women In Motorsport Commission and announced their European Young Women Programme in late 2017. The most prominent female figure in F1 right now is Claire Williams. The Briton is the Deputy Team Principal of the Williams F1 team and effectively runs the team.

Most sports do not use women in their scheme of things like F1, with the only real comparison being “sign girls” in combat sports. With that being said sports like basketball, football or hockey have cheerleaders, but most people would consider that very different. Discourse on this topic will continue during the off-season as the big names behind F1 figure out if change is needed.

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