‘Grid girls’ will no longer be used in Formula One

Organisers choose to end practice as it is ‘clearly at odds with modern-day societal norms’

A grid girl smiles prior to the Formula One Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom circuit, in Russia in April 2017. Photograph: Valdrin Xhemaj/EPA

A grid girl smiles prior to the Formula One Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom circuit, in Russia in April 2017. Photograph: Valdrin Xhemaj/EPA

 

Walk-on “grid girls” will no longer be used before Formula One races, the sport’s organisers have announced.

In a move which mirrors the Professional Darts Corporation’s decision to end the long-established practice of women escorting players to the stage, Formula One will no longer use grid girls from this coming season.

“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,” Seán Bratches, managing director of commercial operations at Formula One, said in a statement.

“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 changes will also apply to other races which take place on Grand Prix weekends.

Other sports still employ women under the guise of entertaining the crowd before and during events.

Boxing and UFC both have “ring girls”, who let the crowd know which round is coming up by holding up numbered cards, generally while wearing revealing outfits.

Cheerleaders are prevalent in American sports, with teams and franchises having their own professional cheerleading squads.

Cycling is another sport which traditionally uses “podium girls” to pose with race winners and plant a kiss on their cheeks.

However, the Tour Down Under scrapped the use of podium girls last year and the Tour de Yorkshire instead chose to celebrate successful local businesswomen.

Cyclist Peter Sagan caused uproar in 2013 when he was pictured pinching the bottom of a podium girl after a Tour de France stage. – PA

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