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Paul Ricard 2018
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Latest: F1 abandons practice of Grid Girls
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Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Jan 2018   |  2:19 pm GMT  |  681 comments

There will be no more grid girls in Formula 1 with immediate effect. F1 described the practice of glamorous women holding drivers’ grid boards as “at odds with modern day societal norms.”

And the same will apply to all the support categories on the F1 race programme like F2 and GP3.

Announcing the move, Formula 1 noted that “Formula 1 considers the time spent by teams and drivers on the grid before a race as one of celebration, where guests and various performers can add to the glamour and spectacle of the Grand Prix, enabling promoters and partners to showcase their countries and products.”

With a growing international response to gender equality and the rise of the #metoo movement, F1 has been held up as a bad example for its use of glamour models on the grid. This was clearly something that did not sit well with the new management team.

There have long been calls from many women working in F1 for the practice to be stopped. The idea of grid boys was trialled once in an attempt to find balance, but it was widely ridiculed by drivers.

Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1 made the additional comment:

“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 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.”

It remains to be seen whether this will start a chain reaction in other FIA sanctioned series and events, such as WEC and the Macau Grand Prix (below) and whether MotorGP will also follow suit.

All photos: LAT Images

What do you think of this move to ban grid girls? Was it an idea well past its sell by date? Leave your comments below


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1

Formula 1 is getting increasingly boring !!! One Moto GP race is much better than an entire Formula 1 season, and we still have beatiful grid girls !!! Sorry F1 fans !!!! hahahahaha

2

How about having Grid Fans – same job but made up from contest winners drawn out of a barrel (or slightly more modern selection method) – you want to engage fans – that’s 4 days worth of fans getting closer to the action. Its a winner!!

3

Take away some cylinders, the noise, the danger, the glamour, driver involvement, “free to air” TV and finally the petrol … and there’ll be no more F1 racing, and no one left to care.

4

Has anyone bothered to ask the grid girls what they think? Or is it just the rage/hate fuelled twitteratiwhose opinion counts?

5

Good luck F1, this is the last straw. I am no longer interested in watching F1 in the slightest.

6

Well at least the NFL Superbowl has cheerleader’s….and lots of them.
Fantastic.

7

So Liberty have placed a blanket ban on grid girls for the 2018 season, so how will the pit boxes be marked? will a team mechanic be used to hold the board? or will the teams be free to use any team member? what is to stop say, Mercedes employing a 2017 grid girl and using her services for each race?

8

The more I read of Liberty’s intentions the more I despair.

Get a grip Liberty! Tinkering around the edges appeasing Snowflakes and advertisers is not the priority.
The current Liberty agenda doesn’t exactly create an incentive to ‘Pay-to-Watch’.

9

Here are 2018 entry fees paid to FIA. Some racing series are looking at this and saying….that’s our annual team budget right there. 🙂

Mercedes – $4,653,720 (£3,295,159)
Ferrari – $3,210,170 (£2,273,025)
Red Bull – $2,415,376 (£1,710,255)
Force India – $1,481,235 (£1,048,818)
Williams – $944,491 (£668,765)
Renault  – $810,305 (£573,752)
Toro Rosso – $789,661 (£559,135)
Haas – $758,695 (£537,209)
McLaren – $670,958 (£475,085)
Sauber – $541,933 (£383,726)

10

Has anyone asked the Grid Girls?

11

What I’d really like to see instead of the Grid Girls is a $1000 check paid to each of the volunteer corner workers at every race. It’s about time they get paid. Make the teams each pay a share of the total cost, with the FIA coughing-up too.

12

This is a continuation of the world’s stupidity of political correctness out of control. I do not know any F1 fan who agrees with this, male female of any age.

13

Another article that highlights the issues in this discussion and gives some more perspective into the issues at large.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-02-01/women-once-ruled-computers-when-did-the-valley-become-brotopia

14
Gareth (the Philadelphia one)

I’ve read most of the 500+ comments this story generated, and I’m shocked at how many of my fellow F1 enthusiasts are apparently Daily Mail reading types, probably still sore about Robinson’s Jam getting rid of the golliwogs. Maybe readers of this website aren’t representative of F1 enthusiasts.

15

@ GarethTPO…How condescending can you get? Remember that we are all equal when it comes to expressing an opinion….whether you like it or not is immaterial.

16

#gareth ..maybe they are representative and it is you that is out of step. For example they support an elitist non environmentally correct sport that pours millions of £ into events in some countreis that are not politically correct. Hence I think their support for grid girls is a natural given.

17
Gareth (the Philadelphia one)

Good point Jon. We’re all car racing enthusiasts, but delve a little deeper and oh boy…

If the majority opinion expressed *is* the typical F1 enthusiast, it’s only going to hasten the sports disappearance up its own exhaust pipe. I’m especially surprised Mercedes haven’t publicly spoken up about the grid girls before, around here Mercedes sell a lot of cars to women who aren’t 20 year old bikini models.

18

@ Gareth [TPO] Remind me which GP’s, out of all 20, where the grid girls/women wore bikinis?

19

So let me see… We have cars that sound like they’re constipated because it’s no longer cool to actually enjoy the sound of a race car. We have power units instead of and engine because we want to rely on batteries to run the cars because of global warming. We want to eleiminate the ‘specticlal’ of F1 because, according to Liberty Media, I’m only there to see Hamilton and Vettel. (Being a guy, that doesn’t do much for me, I don’t find them very attractive). I, together with the other 95% of the worlds population is sick and tired of putting up with this PC BS. You’ve lost me for good F1.

20

Just want to give a shout out to James and the staff at JAonF1 for actually letting this conversation take place, and allowing a very wide spectrum of opinions to be posted. It’s sad to say, but in 2018, there are many platforms where this discussion would have been moderated and censored, so I take my toque off (it’s cold in my house) to the team here for allowing the discussion to happen.

21

Talk about over thinking stuff……
Equal representation provides a simple solution to this problem.
A 50/50 split with men and women dressed in traditional clothing representative of the GP’s country. No need for excess flesh to be displayed by either sex.
Another solution could be to use engineering students, again a 50/50 split.
This could be a better way to help remove the perception of women being subordinate to men whilst also encouraging women to get into F1.

22

l wonder why they never ask the fans for their opinion before they make stupid decisions like this. The ladies perform essential tasks like shading the drivers from the sun or rain. I think the teams should supply their own grid girls wearing some sort of branding to identify who they are from now on. They can’t ban team members from the grid can they?

23

F1 have been doing a lot of surveying, it seems. If they’d ask me, I’d have actually commented on this nonsense of having women clap men onto the podium. They’re going to get a big cheer anyway. Why do we need women clapping on order as the drivers make their way along the tunnel? It’s a bit 50 years ago, isn’t it?

Not a hanging offence, sure, but it does bother me. It’s a bit of a reductive role for them to play, isn’t it? Little women, clapping for those very important men, and doing so on instruction. You didn’t see Bernie getting all his staff lined up: quick, chaps! We’ve got to clap the top 3 onto the podium. No. That’s a woman’s job.

Meh.

24

JA,
I just had a bit of fun re-reading your article and substituting the words or phrases meaning “grid girls” with “open cockpits”. And the one instance of “grid boys” with “closed canopies”

And you pretty much get the two stupidest decisions the new F1 has made pretty well explained with the same pathetic words from those making these awful choices 😄

25

Long overdue- and I recall JA poopoing the idea in one of my missives a few years back. As a women’s health care worker & a father of 2 adult women & a long term (25+ years) F1 fan, I thoroughly applaud this decision.

26

For all of us, if we came to work and there were two women there to indicate where to work hired purely on looks, this would quite rightly be called out, but because they’re in front of a car and a driver that’s better?! Glad to see them go, there are better examples of women in motorsport like Claire Williams and formerly Monisha Kaltenborn.

27

I just read where Niki Lauda has called on F1 to reverse its decision on eliminating grid girls. Also Bernie Ecclestone has said it is a bad decision. I agree with these opinions.
And the idea of eliminating the grid girls IS a politically correct idea, contrary to a lot of babbling on this comment page.

28

Bernie and Niki are just a couple old white men who, in the words of future POTUS Oprah, “just need to die.” Their opinions are irrelevant.

29

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Sean Bratches the same guy who gave us the interminable ‘Let’s Get Ready to Rumble’ driver introductions in Austin. So now he wants F1 to become PC so as not to offend anyone’s sensibilities. Let’s hope someone at Liberty wakes up and fires this dandy before he completely destroys our sport.

30

Who cares about the grid girl change? I don’t. What I do care about is the decision to stuff over Australian viewers with the start times with the European rounds. US company takes over and the first thing they do is swap West Coast US viewership for East Coast Australian ones. That’s what Australia gets for 30 years of hosting a GP? Really is all about money isn’t it? The joke will be on them. F1 will never be popular in the US. They may as well face it. It will never be more than a sideline compared to Nascar.

31

Grid girls are irrelevant to a Grand Prix weekend. By eliminating them, F1 helps (only a little) to clear the perception that women are just there to be seen rather than to be part of the sport. If you want to see a pretty girl in tight clothes just standing around for no reason, there are plenty of other sources for you.

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