Formula One will end the long-standing practice of using walk-on grid girls before the start of races, starting with next month’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
“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,” Sean Bratches, F1 managing director, said in a statement Thursday morning (AEDT).
“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 move was thoroughly backed on social media, with some people calling it a “watershed moment” for the sport.
— Natalie Pinkham (@NataliePinkham) January 31, 2018
Pleased to see they’ve axed #gridgirls in F1. It was never right or fair. It was totally sexist, and ageist – all those young girls doing it. No chance for older men like me. I’m available as a Grid Man, if anyone is asking. Happy to wear tight shorts too…
— David Videcette (@DavidVidecette) January 31, 2018
“No longer will we have to cringe at girls lining the corridors post race applauding drivers in a subservient fashion,” one user tweeted.
The axing was also supported by the Women’s Sports Trust, which called on other sports to reconsider the use of walk-on girls.
Seven-time grid girl Chloe Cameron, now a senior business systems analyst, told The New Daily last year she felt “privileged” to represent the sport.
Ms Cameron worked as a Formula One grid girl from 2006 to 2013.
“It was great working with the grid girls and making new friendships. The Grand Prix atmosphere is exciting and I enjoyed meeting and talking to the spectators from all around the world,” she said.
Last week, the Professional Darts Corporation axed walk-on girls from its events.
“We strongly encourage sports such as cycling, boxing and UFC to follow darts and Formula 1 and reconsider the use of podium girls, ring girls and octagon girls,” Women’s Sports Trust said in a statement.
“This is not a matter of feminists versus models, which seems to be the way many people want to portray this story.
“These changes are taking place because global businesses are making a considered choice about how women should be valued and portrayed in their sports in 2018. They deserve significant credit for doing so.”
However some were less accepting of the change, including Red Bull boss Christian Horner, who said in November last year grid girls added glamour to F1.
“We’ve had grid boys and that’s been criticised. In Austria we’ve had children going on to the drivers’ trailer and that has been criticised.
“You are never going to get it right and we live in a modern society and we have to be open to everything.
“Women play a key role and, borrowing a phrase from my wife (former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell), girl power is very strong in F1.”
Women complaining about feminism are losing women their jobs. good job ladies. It’s 22 races. Around 100 women from each race. Let’s round it up to 2000 grid girls across the world won’t be getting paid now (all for helping women) how? #gridgirls
— Aki (@imETRS) January 31, 2018
— Andrea Burns (@Airheadange) January 31, 2018
Grid girls will also stop appearing at other motorsport series which takes place during the F1 weekend.
The new F1 season starts with Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 25.
– with AAP