Sunday, 27 May, 2018

Formula 1 Bans Use of Grid Girls

Grid girls in the paddock before the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary in Budapest DAN MULLAN GETTY IMAGES Grid girls in the paddock before the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary in Budapest
Lillian Steele | 06 February, 2018, 14:32

A Formula E spokesperson ensured that the usage of grid girls in Hong Kong was "specifically requested" by the local promoter, adding: "This won't be the case in the future".

Formula E has aimed a dig at Formula 1 over its decision to scrap grid girls for the 2018 season - despite having engaged in the practice more recently than its counterpart. Thirty-five years later however, many are wondering if grid girls do more harm than good. "I can't see", the F1 billionaire said, "how a good-looking girl standing with a driver and a number in front of a Formula One auto can be offensive to anybody."And perhaps there might even be a rethink, now he's made clear - at least, to anyone unversed in the sport - how critical they were to its operation".

Sean Bratches, managing director of commercial operations at Formula One, said: "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".

She said her stints as a grid girl and spot on Top Gear paved the way for more modelling assignments.

Williams recognised "grid girls" were part of a "long tradition" and that there would be a "mixed reaction" but said: "We have to move with the times".

Among those who have lashed out at Formula One are Bernie Ecclestone, the 87-year-old chairman emeritus of the Formula One group who was replaced as the group's chief executive in January of 2017, and several "Grid Girls" themselves. "We don't believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world". It feels rather unoriginal and for a woman who is getting into the sport, can lead to being self-conscious just by virtue of being female. "I am quite happy that these things are fading out".

Grid girls on the grid during the FIA Formula E Championship Marrakesh ePrix at the Circuit International Automobile
SUPPLIED Grid girls on the grid during the FIA Formula E Championship Marrakesh ePrix at the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan

"This is an important discussion and it should not be oversimplified or trivialized".

"This is a decision against women".

"I didn't feel like it was objectifying women necessarily".

Darts took a similar decision last month, banning the women who walk on with the players before matches. The most important point I'd like to get scross is in fact that if it wasn't for grid work / promotional modeling I wouldn't be where I am now in a "males dominated ' sport / job as a Stunt Driver / Drift Competition Driver inspiring and influencing females into this ' intimidating male environment ' I get girls message me all the time saying how I inspire them and made them want to try get into racing / drifting when they didn't want to before thinking girls wouldn't be accepted as much".

As with any potentially controversial issue, such as dealing with gender issues, there's a broad range of opinions about this grid girl situation.

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