‘Grid girls’ are models used in promotional tasks like holding umbrellas or driver name-boards
Formula One is to stop using “grid girls” at the start of the next world championship season, the organisation has announced, as the practice is “at odds with modern-day societal norms”.
Grid girls are models used in promotional tasks, such as holding umbrellas or driver name-boards and lining the corridor through which the drivers walk on their way to the podium, usually wearing clothing that bears the name of a sponsor.
The organisers of the auto-racing tournament said they will end the long-standing practice at the start of the 2018 championship at the opening grand prix in Melbourne in March.
The move follows a similar decision by the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) to stop using “walk-on girls” to escort players to the oche at events.
Sean Bratches, a managing director at commercial operations at Formula One, said: “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.
“While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula one 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 One and its fans, old and new, across the world.”
The Women’s Sport Trust thanked F1 for the move on Twitter:
Critics of the decision to axe the walk-on girls for darts included the TV personality and former “grid girl” Kelly Brook.
Brook told the Sun newspaper: “It’s one of the best jobs I ever had. You dress glamorously and obviously it’s about being presentable but I never felt I was taken advantage of.”
The chief of the PDC, Barry Hearn, also hit out at the move. “We’re living in changing times – the PC brigade, the liberal brigade are out in strength and it’s causing changes in sport everywhere we look and it’s probably going to get worse,” he told Talksport.