F1 to End Long-Standing Practice of Using ‘Grid Girls’
Formula One grid girls are seen before the start of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at the Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore.
Formula One grid girls are seen before the start of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at the Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore.(Photo: Reuters)

F1 to End Long-Standing Practice of Using ‘Grid Girls’

There will be no more “grid girls” before F1 races and no more “podium girls” celebrating with the drivers after them.

F1 said on Wednesday it will end the long-standing practice of using women on the grid and on the podium with the top three drivers.

“We feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms,” said Sean Bratches, F1's managing director of commercial operations.

We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula One and its fans, old and new, across the world
Sean Bratches, Managing Director of commercial operations, F1

At previous F1 races, women dressed in uniform would walk out onto the grid shortly before the start and then stand in front of each driver's car, holding up the driver's number. Women would also stand alongside the winner on the podium after the race.

The changes also apply to other motorsports series such as F2.

F1 is owned by Liberty Media, which completed its takeover from former commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone in January 2017.

“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,” Bratches said.

F1’s decision was applauded by the Women's Sport Trust — a charity raising the visibility and increasing the impact of women's sport.

The Professional Darts Corporation has also scrapped “walk-on girls” before matches.

As a one-off move, race organisers at the Monaco Grand Prix in 2015 replaced “grid girls” with “grid boys” — men in short jeans — a move scoffed at by four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel.

“Why didn’t we have any grid girls today?” Vettel said at the time. “You get there and park behind George or Dave. What's the point?”

The F1 season starts on March 25 at the Australian Grand Prix.

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