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Grid girls may be gone, but welcome the F1 Grid Kids!
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Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Feb 2018   |  3:25 pm GMT  |  427 comments

A week after axe-ing the so called Grid Girls, Formula 1 has announced that it will now encourage youth onto the F1 grid, in a joint initiative with the FIA.

The idea is to inspire the next generation of motorsport competitors and for them to really get a taste of what F1 is about at their local Grand Prix.

At each Grand Prix, kids who compete in karts and junior categories will be chosen by their motorsport clubs on merit, or by lottery. The winners will then be able to accompany and stand alongside the 20 drivers on the grid as they get ready for the race.

It’s rather like the mascot system in football, although it sounds like the kids will be a bit older.

The idea has many origins, but the worldwide reaction to the Kimi Raikkonen fan who cried when he crashed out of the Spanish Grand Prix and who was then invited to meet his hero and visit the F1 paddock, clearly showed that there was a warm response to the sport reaching out to kids.

That said, the banning of Grid Girls has also generated a huge response – over 650 comments on a post about it on this site alone.

As the FIA is fundamentally involved in this – their local clubs are also engaged in finding the kids – there will no doubt be an FIA Road Safety dynamic to the kids experience at the track, although that is not spelled out in the announcement document.

Their families will be welcomed into the F1 paddock for race day at the Grand Prix, as part of the experience.

“Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motor sport and the dream of every young racer competing the junior series that make up the FIA’s single-seater pyramid, from karting all the way to F1,” said FIA president Jean Todt.

“We are therefore delighted to bring that dream a little closer by giving the future champions of our sport the opportunity to stand alongside their heroes on the grid in the build-up to the race start. For the wider FIA, this is an excellent initiative that provides additional support to our member ASNs in their efforts to grow motorsport worldwide through a unique reward they can make available to youngsters participating in their national series,” he added.

“This will be an extraordinary moment for these youngsters: imagine, standing beside their heroes, watch as they prepare to race, the elite of the elite in motorsport, to be there, alongside them in those precious few minutes just before the start. What an unforgettable experience, for them, and their families.

“An inspiration to keep driving, training and learning so that they can dream of one day being there themselves. What better way to inspire the next generation of Formula 1 heroes,” said Sean Bratches, F1 Managing Director of Commercial Operations.

All photos: LAT Images

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1

globalist agenda is in full swing now.
we can’t have women on the grid cause that promotes actual healthy opposite sex marriages, might as well appeal to the pedophiles in that case.

2

So they take away a nice earner and a bit of pazaz from attractive women and put kids in. I have kids but don’t really care for this craze of tossing coins for Federer or running out with the football team. Trust me. Children get more than their fair share of sporting attention in life and at least real professional sport we could just watch and enjoy and not have to devote that to them also. This is TOKEN feel good garbage.

3
Clarks4WheelDrift

Utterly pathetic marketing campaign by “the artist formerly known as F1”.

FIA, Liberty, focusing on all the wrong areas, as usual.

Patronising marketing this PR nonsense as if the fans, the public are all stupid or thick.

Worse than how they over-used the poor crying Kimi kid – fair enough get his family to the Ferrari garage and show a shot but no need for the quick, market this to death, get it viral, F1 did all this for a kid and his poor family that didn’t even have a paddock pass. Look F1 is so wonderful you should subscribe a lot more money to PPV F1 or you may miss the next patronisingly over the top gimmick.

Next on the F1 agenda of importance:
“2020 replace the kids with week old fluffy puppy dogs leading out the drivers”

4

Haven’t read the other posts. Just wanted to say that the grid kids is an absolute masterstroke!
F1 needs a bit of fun, family involvement and more young fans. There’s a good reason why other sports have been using child mascots for many years.
It’s a good thing to move on – although grid girls may be entertaining for middle aged males (of which I am one) it’s time to leave it behind, much like smoking, drink driving and the gender pay gap……

5

So it would appear what working class females have lost their jobs to privileged kids…

6

I work for an Australian company that was taken over by an American company. The American’s made changes without understanding the company, or indeed, the Australian culture. Long story short, they broke it, 75% of staff have left the company, and we’re close to winding up.

F1 is inherently a European sport. I know saying that will annoy and offend some people, but i really think it’s the case. I haven’t followed the sport in great detail for the last couple of years to be honest (broadcasting changes killed F1 in Australia), but from what I can see there has been a gradual but clear move away from the essence of the sport. Obviously that has been happening since long before the new owners took control, but it seems to have hastened in the past year. I really cannot see the end game here though – small gains in the American audience will not offset loss of viewership in other key markets.

TL;DR – what are they playing at?

7

When are liberty going to do something that the fans actually want?

8

I think Liberty and the FIA should ban the champagne on the podium next! You can’t have these elite sportsmen getting drunk on television. What message is this sending out to people at a time when Governments are trying to educate people about the dangers of alcohol abuse?

9

This is cringe worthy. In the States, it’s always “kids first” to make everything better. I’m sure the blonde, blue eyed boys will get first pick…

10

I think we need a bit of a reality check here. I was not a fan of banning grid girls, sure they were a bit old fashioned but I think banning grown women from a paid job on grounds of “they are good looking so therefore must be thick and unable of making an informed decision on their career and are thus being exploited” is the definition of irony when it comes to equal rights. Equality would be no one caring about who or what stands on the grid, banning someone is discrimination be it positive or negative.

Also I think the people screaming child labour need to get a grip. If you were a kid doing a bit of karting I think you would be thrilled to stand on a grand prix grid and get the chance to meet your heroes. Plenty of other sports use kids as mascots.

What they should ban are all the z-list celebrities and gazillions of photographers so you can actually see what’s going on on the grid, have a draw on ticket number (of all ticket types, not just the ones that cost thousands) to get a grid pass.

11

But what are they going to do? Same thing as grid girls were doing?
Similar idea to boy balls in tennis? Or towell boys?
Nothing wrong with having young people or kids more involved and inspired. But they issue is THE REASON why grid girls were axed, not the fact itself. This is a sign of our dallen times

12

Why not have both no one forces people to do that job so they would not be there if they had a problem with it.

13

so, what’s the difference? how does the saying go, “women & children first”. so, if replacing the grid-girl is a true decision of political correctness, then why is exploiting children on behalf of sponsors and for tv ratings any different??

14

Cut the cost of paying women and make it seem progressive instead of upgrading their duties or giving them more important roles. Then pocket the money from the Stroll’s in karting who are “randomly selected” to increase revenue and building new fans for the future. Monisha is gone and is Claire even coming back? Susie didn’t even get a drive when the team needed a replacement driver. The amount of women in F1 seems to be on a declining slope not inclining one. Yet this cost cutting of grid girls is seen as a positive.

15

Susie didn’t get a drive when Claire, Susies friend, coworker and sister-in-arms, was a deputy descision maker *and* Williams had nothing to lose *and* Toto owned shares *and* Toto had huge political power with his ties to both Williams and Mercedes, which as we of course know are Williams engine supplier. If all of those stars aligning can’t get a woman in the car, what can?

16

Being fast and consistent. This is racing.

17

Susie was fast and consistent at the time, otherwise she wouldn’t have been the lead development driver.

18

Quite frankly its not my thing, I don’t mind losing grid girls but I don’t want to see kids on the grid, why are they stealing what is a stupid idea from football?
I watch a race to get speed, passion and danger and to get away from kids for a couple of hours. 🙁

19

i bet the grid girls, who actually got paid to be somewhere fun and glamorous for the day, are delighted to have been replaced by children.

20

I can’t wait to hear about some of the kids emotive life stories, the battles with adversity that they have had, the way they’ve had enough “heart” to keep believing.

21

Kids, dogs, nuns and chimpanzees the standard wholesome -recipe for the perfect press photos. Forget sex appeal, who needs that to sell Motorsports tickets……..?

22

Well what a great image this will set, all the ‘grid kids’ standing on the grid & by the drivers during the national anthem at the HEINEKEN sponsored *insert name* Grand Prix!!!

On a more serious note James how will this be managed at GP’s as coming from someone who works in motorsport, at nearly every circuit under 16’s aren’t allowed in the pit lane due to health & safety regulations!

23

Things just keep getting worse.

24

If anyone was wondering how that converts into Bratches-speak, allow me:

“We’re motivated by incorporating these nascent adults into our core media properties so that we’re able to synergise the brand fundamentals with an increasingly heads-down demographic in order cultivate additional revenue streams for our partners. I’m hip to the jive bro, just check out my massive side-burns.”

25

hahha…I think i prefer Ron dennis.

26

Imagine the two of them holding a joint press conference…

27

Maybe Vettel can give all the up and coming racers some pointers about road safety and how not to use your car as a weapon if you’re ticked off with another driver!! (Don’t do as I do, Do as I say).
If the FIA were serious about how F1 looks to the younger generation they would have done the decent thing and banned Vettel for at least 1 race after the stewards decided to be extremely lenient by “not wishing to interfere in the championship battle”

28

Grid Kids? How is this any kind of inmrovment to the grid girls. Yet another distraction from the spectacle. It’s just going to be a bunch of yuppie kids put on TV by daddy, so they can get a taste of tv before they become presenters.

29

How very fitting for Formula1 – yet more spin.

If the series really was serious about “supporting youth” or for that matter, anyone getting into motorsport, it would be actively investing in tracks and the lower formulae.

As it is, the business of Formula1 has done the exact opposite.

“This will be an extraordinary moment for these youngsters: imagine, standing beside their heroes, watch as they prepare to race, the elite of the elite in motorsport, to be there, alongside them in those precious few minutes just before the start. What an unforgettable experience, for them, and their families.”

One thing that would have a greater affect is lower ticket prices so that more people get the chance to get a little closer.

The grid girls must be a bit peeved as well, certainly the ones who wanted to be “standing beside their heroes, watch as they prepare to race, the elite of the elite in motorsport, to be there, alongside them in those precious few minutes just before the start. What an unforgettable experience, for them, and their families.

“An inspiration to keep driving, training and learning so that they can dream of one day being there themselves. “

30

Totally agree … if they are dead serious about PC, gender equality and inclusion for all, why have they banished one entire gender for looking good, representing sponsors and adding flair ‘n’ glamour to the show?
This stinks to high heaven of double standards and yes … DISCRIMINATION!!!

Not to worry, the FIA will put a kybosh on “kids on the grid” as soon as it costs them millions in a court case.
Seriously, we are only one high profile law suit away from kids being banned from the grid.
The FIA are all about everything “safety” and saving money on their insurance premiums so if (sorry, when!) a kid gets hit by a car in the pitlane, burned on the grid by touching an exhaust pipe, lost after wandering away or verbally abused on the grid for getting in the way, touching a car or breaking a piece off a $250,000 front wing to take home as a souvenir, the FIA’s insurance premiums will rise and they will put a stop to it!
Maybe they’ll end up making the kids wear a HALO device on their shoulders, HANS neck support, fire-proof undies and a full face helmet

31

Alosno karting camp is an admirable undertaking investing in the future maybe F1 should make a camp in all the countries it races as part of the hosting the race deal

32

Exactly where are the go kart tracks that a kid can go to and run laps till they run out of fuel and master their craft in the way kids can go to a park and practice shooting baskets, juggling balls on the pitch, playing catch etc… create the infrastructure to facilitate more Verstappens from around the globe to get in. Part of his skill is the amount of time he spent in karts and the luxury of seat time and streamlined learning curve afforded to him by his father who studied under no other than Michael Schumacher who only has 7 championships.

33

James, your ex-ITV colleague Louise Goodman sums it up for me. I think she is easily one of the best racing journalists out there, and for me, she gets it. F1 needs to have an adult edge – these are supposed to be the grown-up cars that only ‘Men’ can handle, and Grid girls add to that.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2004/aug/08/formulaone.comment

The mistake F1 made is not getting the Grid Girls involved in the race weekend. I remember an interview with one woman, she says she is studying medicine, this was like one-off event work and she was enthralled by the racing world enough to come back and do it for many years. Now why didn’t the F1 community get her more involved in the racing? They could have had Grid Girls interviewing drivers, taking part in practice pit stops, driving the drivers on the track parade, and much more. But LM decide that instead of actually addressing the problem – lack of women involvement in the racing – they choose to banish the ones that are because they’re not in line with their new family friendly marketing strategy. Oops.

And just watch Daniel Riccardio go toe to toe with Sky’s Natalie Pinkham on camera after Danny has just driven the pants off his RBR. That’s what F1 needs more of.

34

We’ve all heard the anecdotes of the honours students paying for doctorates by stripping at the weekend. This is nothing new. I think you’re missing the point. The point is that women shouldn’t be allowed to make choices like that, not unless they take an empowering descision and *choose* to do that because they *want* to do that instead of taking other career paths.

I think what it boils down to is that one woman’s empowering descision is another woman’s subjugation. They can’t all agree so nobody is allowed to do anything. PR departments are in knots and everybody is afraid to breathe.

35

In the same week as the anniversary of women getting the vote a large American company sack 24 female workers……it’s a funny old world !

36

The girl girls, or lolly dollies as they used to call them, have rightly been denied those jobs because they aren’t trying hard enough to get better jobs. You can’t skate though life relying on your looks!

37

That sounds like someone who was hit with the ugly stick!!!!

38

Random idea, just leave it as it is. No grid girls, grid guys or grid kids. I’m not barely watching F1 to hardly see who’s holding a placard near the cars.

39

I want to go. Is 39 too old? My ex wife says I’m immature so I’m sure I could blend in

40

How long is it to the first race, for goodness sake lets just get on with it.

41

This is just change, not necessarily an improvement. It is pandering to political correctness.

Amazingly talented adult male drivers race the cars, and always have done. I don’t see that changing anytime, ever.

Why not have amazingly beautiful professional adult women (park your old fashioned views please) representing the sponsors and sport? A job they do exceptionally well. And it creates a balance of the sexes in our sport.

They do it exceptionally well, and always have done. Why deprive the girls of a living while they have the opportunity? It’s not immoral to be attractive, healthy and pretty. People have looked at people every second since time began. I do it every day as do you.

Grid girls have my support every high heeled step of the way.

BRING BACK THE GIRLS!

42

Better still…..why not have amazing adult female race cars and amazingly beautiful professional adult men (park your old fashioned views please) representing the sponsors and sport?

43

Yes but men are faster and women are beautiful.

44

Consider that women who actually earned a place to work in F1 don’t actually want the grid girls there. Also consider that many of the men in F1 feel offended on the grid girls behalf and consider the girls to be an embarrassment.

You mention talented drivers. I agree, very few people could drive those cars. That’s pure talent. To draw a comparison, I would suggest that being beautiful isn’t a talent, it is happenstance. F1 is a pure meritocracy but the grid girls have achieved nothing other than being lucky. Why do they get a free pass to the top?

If someone wanted to pay me to stand around because they thought I looked pretty I’d say no! Keep your money! My dignity is worth far more! (Well, actually, I’d say yes because it would be a real shot in the arm for my self confidence, that’s for sure. The cash and the day out would be nice too. But that’s not the point!)

45

@ Fiona…extremely well said. I agree with you 100%.

46

The Liberty triumphs just keep coming, i mean is there no end to all the enhancements being introduced on a regular basis now……Boxing commentators, new logo, more paywalls, the banning of grid girls, the new grid kids initiative… I mean who needs racing, that’s just a sideshow to the main event. Too many clowns and only one circus!!! hahaha

47

A praiseworthy idea… In the interests of promoting gender equality and opportunity to future generations at the leading edge of F1, can we expect to see equal numbers of boys and girls on the grids from now?

48

I think I’m going to be sick

49

Ok, I wrote this on JA facebook page but this could work. Grid fans! The grid fans a picked from people who have bought tickets to a race weekend. There could be an opt out option incase you don’t want to partake. This was we get a mix of people on the grid, young, old, male, female, different races etc.. and it will be from people who actually want to be there. Plus sales would increase if you felt you might just have a chance of meeting the drivers just by buying a ticket to a race.

Failing that bring back grid girls.

50

Thank God, we are finally thinking of the children.

No but seriously, who’s F1 for anymore? Men or pedophiles?

51

They could have allow such access to the kids with or without the grid girl. Why now let the circuit decide what is appropriate for them. Sometime decisions that are made to avoid being sexist could actually be sexist itself.

52

Fair play, this is actually a decent idea.

53

Yuk.
American candy sweet sentimentality.
Yuk.

54

Another thought:
Children on the grid..? “Oh-no! How are we going to keep the little tots safe? ‘Oh, the humanity’.”
Ah, I know. Let’s have grid nannies for them, that way the young women who thought they were freshly out of a job will be able to come back safe in the knowledge that they no longer have to feel exploited having found a politically correct purpose…
…oh-wait, maybe expecting that only pretty girls can be nannies is also the hight of marketing suicide…
…let’s get some middle-aged men to look after those little children, that won’t be a cause for concern at all, in fact let’s be inclusive and make sure people of all ‘predilections’ are catered for…
…ok, maybe there’s a problem there. Maybe the grid is already crowded enough and the children might be at risk. The most ‘logical’ plan would therefore be sure to suit them up in protective clothing and each have a bodyguard to be on the safe side…

Another thought:
As parents can no-longer take cameras to their own children’s school plays for ‘fear’ some pervs may get their hands on the images how are ‘we’ going to protect the grid-munchkins from millions of lewd types who tune in to F1 for reasons other than motor racing? I demand that every child be hidden under a tarpaulin just in case…
…oh, wait the poor little tykes might suffocate, or suffer from claustrophobia. I DEMAND that F1 coverage be cut during the grid parade to be sure no harm can come to anyone what-so-ever, and so viewers sensibilities won’t be rocked by undesirable sights. Better still, some people don’t like cars; best have a total black-out on F1 coverage.

I mean it, I actually typed a word in capital letters!

55

I didn’t want to be the one to say it first, but you brought it up.

You’re bang on about schools banning parents from video taping school events, for fear that the videos may fall into the hands of pedos.

Yet here we are, going to take 400 kids per season, and almost advertise them to millions of people around the world – not to mention that F1 is aimed at the rich folks, and it’s rich folks who are most connected to pedo rings.

I’ve often had the thought that F1 is actually a duck and twisted circus that travels the globe to all kinds of reprehensible places, doing god knows what on Friday and Saturday evenings, and then puts on a car race on sunday as an excuse for the travelling circus. That’s tinfoil hat fully engaged, but it is something that’s crossed my mind before.

56

Personally i think its a great idea. i remember as a kid meeting some horse riding superstars and i got to perform in the same area even if it was on a long lead. 50 years later i still treasure that day and the people who made time for me. Reading through the comments i find some opinions very sad but each to their own…But beware the cynical mindset it can cloud your whole life.

57

Ah! … LM are learning from Macca’s; get the kids involved, then the parents and their wallet will follow. Is there a FIA directive on ‘Princess Dresses’ or do we leave that one alone.

58

No we don’t have to leave that alone. Hamilton has recanted and given the ‘OK’ to boys wearing Princess dresses. Expect the unexpected, maybe even gender neutral dress!!!hahaah

59

Why the hell do we need any non-team members at all standing around slack-jawed on the grid on race day? Surely EJ has this covered.

60

Here’s a totally un-PC idea which allows both the Grid Girls and the New Kids On The F1 Block to enjoy their day (or 1 hour) at the F1 GP!!!

Let’s have the Grid Girls wear French Maid uniforms and hold the kid’s hands as they walk around the paddock and on the grid before the race.
A Grid Girl can then be referred to as an “Au Pair” – which is a much more acceptable name than Fashion Model or Grid Girl … right?

The parents of the lucky kid(s) can arrive at the track, do a meet and greet as they drop the kid(s) off to the F1 Au Pair headquarters, head straight for the nearest hospitality marquee where they can stuff their faces with plenty of smoked salmon, brie’ and caviar canapés while quaffing a few flutes of vintage MUMM champers for an hour before the race starts … then they’ll have to take their little brat(s) back into their own care. *Sigh
At least the parents get 1 blissful hour to enjoy themselves before the kid(s) get bored and start crying because it’s too loud – they can’t see properly – it’s too hot – it’s too cold – it’s raining – they can’t play Candy Crush because they can’t see the screen on their iPhone in the sun or because it’s getting wet – they want more fizzy lolly-water and more fatty, sugar-filled junk food – and then after a purple-faced, snotty-nosed, tear-filled MEGA-TANTY in front of the entire grandstand … then they simply want to go home for a nap because they’re exhausted and they’ve totally lost interest in the race!!!
Sounds like a delightful day at the GP for the parents … one that cost them over $500+ just for tickets, $200+ for food and drinks, $500+ for weekend accommodation, $1,000+ for flights or $100+ for transport – and in the end, it made them so deflated, embarrassed, exhausted and pissed off that they declare out of sheer exasperation … “THAT WILL DEFINITELY NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN!!!”
Another way to turn more people off F1 … thanks Liberty … great effort!
What’s next? Can’t wait!

61

Hahaha Au’pair’ of what ? sorry if this comment offends.

62

Hmmm… bringing in the kids. But can they afford a Rolex?

63

I dunno…do we think the kids who make up the Monaco Jr Karting Program are too poor to afford Rolex’s? How many of them take helecopter rides to the Karting facility?

65

@haydo
I’m sure they can… at least there parents can😉

66

Equal opportunity…what about Richard Mille ?

67

Very, VERY clever Liberty …. this is the perfect ploy to help them and their many media / tv industry partners to sell more Pay TV packages. Packages that are being shunned with vigour and disgust by a great deal of disheartened people all over the world.
People who refuse to fork out MORE of their hard earned money to watch their favourite sports.
Sports which are being bought by billionaires all over the world and then “sold” to their fans on expensive pay tv networks.
After all, it’s exactly like supermarket marketing gurus placing chocolate, lollies and fizzy drinks within touching distance on display at the checkout counters!!! When kids scream, most soft hearted, embarrassed parents who refuse to simply say “NO” to spoilt brat kids cave in. They do exactly what the kid wants in a pathetic bid to shut them up asap with the least amount of effort or discipline.

If a kid starts to like F1 and nags the living daylights out of his / her parents to watch the live telecasts that are no longer on free-to-air coverage, Liberty have an instant, free, in-house salesperson to push, poke and prod (throw tantrums!) until they berate their parents into forking out the cash to buy an expensive package which they refused to buy for themselves.
Clever indeed!!!

68

It introduces youngster to a sport sorely lacking youth audience. I like it….

69

@ StevenM and when that youngster exhibits an interest he finds it hidden behind a paywall and his parents just cannot afford it! Bang!!!!!

70

Lol Kenneth…what youngster who’s already in a Karting program has parents who can’t afford to pay for TV?

20 kids x 20 races, 400 kids per season….let’s watch for 5 season, so 2000 kids.

Of those 2000 future grid kids, how many do you think will be from racing families?

In another 10 years, will we see Nico Rosberg’s kid on the grid, because he/she is a member of some German or Monagasque Karting program? Or would Nico’s child be excluded from being a grid kid because of their “privilage” as the kid of a former F1 driver.

Unless I’m misunderstanding what LM is saying, it’s not like tbeyre going to take some Chinese rice farmer’s kid from the middle of butt[mod] nowhere in the backwoods of China and him them on the grid…thus “exposing F1 to new people.”

No, the kids who are going to be on the grid are already involved in racing (presumably because they like it), have parents that support them in racing, and there’s a damn good chance that these families will have a multi-generational connection to Motorsport.

71

I recall my father taking me to my first GP – it was at Mosport. I recall the washrooms being dirty, there was little in the way of glamour – however when the cars came up and did their somewhat standing start – the smell, the sound, the speed, that feeling stayed with me, and its what moved me to race and to respond to F1.

So even back then parents brought their children to the spectacle of motor sport without much fanfare.

Grid girls ? back then I did not notice.

Today what I notice is a line of expensive SUV’s picking up and dropping off their kids at the local private school. My kids walk, ride their bikes, take the transit.

Too much protection, too much fear, its the new model of parenting and its absurd. Now a similar trait has appeared in F1. Imbeciles who could never create anything the likes of F1 now have the money to destroy it with their lack of insight, understanding and commitment to the raw and dangerous world of F1.

72

This could be a fun thing to keep track of.

How many grid kids end up working in motorsports vs how many grid kids end up working in the fashion or glamour industry. You know, they get a little taste of modelling, maybe really enjoy it. Or maybe they get spotted by an agency, and end up signing a contract.

73

Told ya!!!

74

Ok so there’s less competition, less passing, less glamour, less performance, more endurance, more “safety”, more ugly cars, more ugly people, and you have to pay to watch it…

What has f1 got going for it in 2018 exactly?

75

Who are you?

76

The really worrying part is that he’s actually starting to make sense…

77

Hate to admit it, but this is a good move!!

78

Really a no brainer, as predicted by many. A few more thoughts to add to the discussions:
– The biggest intrigue for me is why Liberty decided to announce things this way – first the ‘controversial’ no more grid girls bit, then the ‘feel good’ story of grid kids after a few days – when they could have just announced the whole thing in one go. The cynic in me thinks they are deliberately courting attention in (social) media… which is another sign that the new management is finally ‘getting’ the modern (social) media landscape (even though I don’t agree with such gimmicky myself). Any thoughts James?
– And for those worried about the safety of having kids on grid, I am sure they will have more knowledge on motorsport safety as part of their karting programme than, say, a model who is hired to appear in a race for a few days a year. Funny how everyone on the grid have to be in fireproof overalls and earmuffs, when the grid girls had to do without them and no one worried about safety issues back then…
– Any news on how/if the lines of clapping grid girls up to the podium will also be replaced?
– I know volunteer marshals are a staple of lower level motorsport where money is tight, and most of them are genuinely happy to be there without pay. But this is F1 where there is enough money. And to use that money (regardless of amount) to employ someone just to stand in the grid looking good, when the people actually help the race to run smoothly have to dip into their own pockets to be there (e.g. hotels, air fares, etc.) just doesn’t seem very fair for me. At least now the money will be spent on grid kids and their families who actually love and support the sport.
– Finally, thank you James for keeping the discussions open and uncensored. Not everyone agrees with each other of course. But I like how it illustrates that, in a civil and respectful way, there is no ‘typical’ F1 fan as some of us may have assumed before. It certainly got me thinking (and posting) about this a lot more than I would have otherwise. Apologies if I come across as a bit harsh and looking forward to reading everyone’s opinions.

79

And the gimmicks continue….

80
Gareth (the Philadelphia one)

I fully expect one of these girl racers on the grid to look around and see the cutting edge technology, the mechanics, the drivers, the engineers and mathematicians, and think to herself “If I apply myself, one day I could be here, in heels and short shorts, mutely holding a sign in front of some dude’s car”.

81

Liberty should have just announced that they’re swapping the grid girls for the grid kids in one go. Instead they did it in 2 parts, leading to 2 sets of discussions; one on removing the girls and the pros/cons of that, and now this one on the kids. Had they just put out a single statement along the lines of “We’re bringing kid racing drivers onto the track to inspire them to greater things” and just left it at that, I bet there wouldn’t be half as much interest or discussion.

82

The Grid Girls did it for money and the children, well they’ll do it for fun and maybe a lifetime experience. The later has my vote. Having said this though, if this is the HOT news that all F1 sites and forums have for these days, mhmmm it shows how ‘entertaining’ F1 is during the winter, doesn’t it.

83

I really like the idea from a fan engagement idea and I hope this will inspire many kids however I also want these children to be safe and think it should be stipulated in the sporting regs that these grid kids must wear fireproof protection when on the grid just in case a car sets on fire . If a child get injured from injured somehow there could be all kinds of potential legal issues for Mr Carey and co- particularly and incident involving minors . Unlike others on here the potential safety risks doesn’t make not want to see kids on the grid – I just want to see that the FIA ensures all safety precautions are put in place. I’m sure the FIA will be sensible with the safety of the children. I also think the children should earn a wage for their work. A small basic wage but a wage nonetheless.

84

Grid girls to the kids in their best South Park voices: “They took our jobs!”

85

Well safety is paramount….so I hope we see plenty of MILF’s holding their kids hands as they wander about the grid! 😆

86

Ok, thats great for the kids and their families but the eye candy will be surely be missed.

87

I would rather they replaced the Grid girls with nothing at all TBH. The very essence of F1 is that if it doesn’t make the car faster then it doesn’t make to the race-track, and over the years the ever growing circus of media and showbiz that accompanies the teams at every circuit in a very real sense has only diluted that purity.

88

Really couldn’t give a flying fig who or what holds up the numbers on the grid.
The one time Jean Todt does anything it’s for something as piddling as this.

89

Yuck-more imagination required

90

What next… Get rid of the racist chequered flag and get a Gay rainbow?

Ban non Vegan drivers?

Stop all this macho aggressive competitiveness and give everyone a medal?

91

– over 650 comments on a post about it on this site alone.
Are Sebee and kenneth getting royalties for keep the hit rate up, ‘coz they should be.

92

@ RayC.. Hahaha Thanks for the comment but in the active number of posts Championship i’m only a minor. Put me down as a part Honda part Renault powered player.

93

By the way, only like 5% of the comments was me chatting with others. I enjoy it, but does JAonF1 benefit from this? Probably. We’ll never know until James tells us how manny LaFerrari he can buy after that fat motorsport check has cleared. 🙂

Oh…speaking of LaFerrari, I read the funniest little piece in Road and Track about how the LaFerrari is the best sounding hybrid on the market. It read like they are praising Ferrari hybrids for sounding great. LaFerrari frikken’ better be the best sounding hybrid! It has a V12 in there! Sounds better than F1 PU cars too.

http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/a16565072/laferrari-sound/

95

We have too much passion for Formula 1. We care too much.

This is true.

96

armed with huge banks of data, all forms of forecasts are often wrong so i prefer to discuss the event after it’s unfolded than trying to predict how it’d unfold.

97

it is also true that i’m not fond of prophecies.

98

Are you against forecasts too?

99

Much better! This has a lot more to do with growing the sport, providing motivation and reaching out to a younger audience. This is about THE SPORT, not about some extraneous decoration.

There’s no danger either. What have we seen the last few years? With 10 minutes to go to the race start, everybody is off the grid except for drivers, team personnel and officials. So Vladimir Putin is gone, Bernie is gone, Chase Carey is gone, Martin Brundle, Tom Cruise, Will Smith, the grid girls… they all leave. And the engines aren’t fired up yet – they only go on with one minute to go. So no safety issues.

100

I think this is a good idea. Just executed badly. If liberty media just said “we’re replacing grid girls with grid kids” from the off, then the uproar could’ve been avoided.
Anyways I’d just like to say that it would be a lovely fairy tale if one of these boys AND girls goes on to emulate the drivers they’re standing beside

101

Okay, I admit this headline is from the Daily Heil, but you can see the possibilities for one of the skint teams.

“Premier League clubs charging up to £600 for matchday mascot packages”

102

For sure this is just silly, kindergarten right! This is a glamour sport and to remove grid girls implies they have no university degree or something! For sure even some drivers sometimes have not much upstairs. Buts its a glamour thing. Why not then have grid Grandparents. I say bring back the the grid girls with long hair and sunglasses. For sure this is the tradition

103

Well, look at the commercial behemoth that Man United has become through leveraging their brand – they make money through every avenue. Its all about demand and supply – if there are people willing and able to pay for it, its fair game imo.

104

Today is the 60th anniversary of why Man U make so much money. And why there they are being gouged with massive loans like F1 were by CVC.

105

Good luck in getting a bunch of kids to stand still for 30mins on a hot day or any day. Child exploitation, health and safety will be ringing in Libertys ears come the first race no matter how you dress it up.
Kids standing in front of a car with Martini, alcohol sponsorship, sugar and chemical filled energy drinks etc etc will be the downfall of this ill thought out knee jerk reaction. The grid girls may be back sooner than we think.

106

Yes, because having child mascots in other sports, which have similar advertisers. doesn’t work at all, does it? Apart from all the ones it does work fine in, or are you conveniently ignoring those?

107

I agree with the attention span having had kids constantly banging my seat at Austin during the qualifying – they were there for the evening JT concert not the F! but don’t get me started on that issue!! I am not in favour of this initiative but no doubt the camera crews will be showing them more than what we actually want to see, pre-race.

108

Will grid kids get payed, or they will do it (work) for free? If not, why not? Grid girls, they’re replacing were paid positions, right??
If they get paid, is that going to be seen as child labor (if someone is going to split the hair)?

109

They get paid in Paddock Passes for their families.

110

Most football teams enlist their academy youth players (under 16yrs) to be ball boys/girls at home matches to allow to be part of the “team” and experience the event. Do you see this as child labour too?

111

@Axx1
No, I don’t see it as child labor, as long as they are doing it as volunteers and by they own will.
On the other hand, I did say if someone is going to split the hair, said someone can see the employing kids to be a “grid kid” as child labor. I didn’t say I’m the one who does.

112

Why not grid families? Or grid pets?

113

Grid pets, I like it. Should it be driver’s pets, or a different criteria? Imagine a plump rodent, hungry hawk, boa constrictor, pony, and jackalope all on the same grid. They might have a longer attention span than a bunch of pre pubescent kids. I love F1 including kids in the history and pageant and thrill, but this kid grid is pure, unadulterated pandering. Include them in a way that is less exclusive, and more fun. It would be interesting to find out how much the new F1 owners know about the history of F1. Formula 1, without history, is like France without the baguette, or the Austrians without schnitzel, or the British without F1.

114

Grid rednecks would be cool 😄

115

Grid Kids eh. Ok then.

Are we sure we’re not objectifying children?

F1 will be more family oriented. Ok cool. Family oriented, promoting road safety….sponsored by Heineken. Roooiight.

Oh, but they have signs that say don’t be a dumbass, so they’re covered.

Grid Kids….Brilliant!

I’ll be returning to eating McDonald’s fries in my hot tub full of KFC gravy now.

116

The difference is that this initiative aims to connect the youth with the sport in a new way. This is for the benefit of the kids, with the added PR – same as with almost all football matches. This was not the aim of the “grid girls” custom.

117

Connect youth with the sport? By taking kids who are already interested and can afford Karting (it’s not the same as soccer, just FYI), and giving them a free all access pass to an F1 weekend. Think of the hundreds of thousands, millions, of new petrolheads this innitiatice will product.

C’mon man, think about it. 20 races, 20 kids per race. 200 kids per season who are already fully engulfed in Motorsport get a chance to be on the F1 grid….and this is somehow going to help introduce an entire new generation of kids to F1??? Please.

And frankly, why does anything in F1 have to be for the benefit of the kids? Kids have Chucky Cheese, and McDonald’s play rooms, and every ball/stick sport, and the shopping mall…what about making moves beneficial to adults?

Where is left in society that I, as an adult, can go and not worry about being appropriate for children? Literally, the strip club is going to be the last domain of adults, soon the entire world will just be a giant bouncy castle.

I mean, I fell in love with motor racing and F1 without them pandering to me. It was the noise, the speed, the aggression, the sexiness, that drew me in, and held me. And I grew up in Canada without cable TV…how I even knew F1 existed, I’m not entirely sure – but I knew about it, and thought it was fantastic. I did all kinds of very kid oriented things when I was a kid, and I haven’t got the slightest bit of interest in them today.

118

Apparently I suck at math…

119
Tornillo Amarillo

Easy traffic F1 blogs here…

LM holds the cards closer to their chest and play arrogantly with the F1 community.

It’s not OK to drop traditional “grid girls” and also it is OK to put “grid kids”, but this is pure lack of imagination with the kids really.

Now we learn this game and we can play it harder 🙂

120

They are just following what has already been done elsewhere. Now I think it’s more from the FIA than LM alone.

121

Why does the cynic in me thinks that rich daddies will get their kids on the track, another way of making money.
Let’s use the space for perhaps some kids who would really enjoy it and would never get the chance to, that would diffuse the grid girls situation and send out a brilliant message. In fact, why not have both!!

122

Welcome to the real world where, more often than not, privileged kids get into privileged places.

But there will always be an exception, such is human spirit.

123

How about “grid geriatrics”? I am in my early sixties and have been an F1 devotee since a Montana tyke. No one would be more appreciative of the honor, and exploitation should not be an issue as only a Las Vegas professional could find me appealing. One issue might be excessive bathroom breaks, but a couple of extra porta potties and some dark trousers should solve that.

124

If LM will go on with grid kids, It’s good idea to choose them among the kids who are already into karting even though they might be bit older. Rather than random kids from the general area who are up to 12-13 years old.
The ones who are doing karting, should be small/short enough not to embarrass the drivers. I’m saying this only because by the time I was 12-13 I was already taller than the tallest driver on today’s grid. Imagine if someone that tall, stand next to Alonso, that would be laughing stock. 🙂

125

Great idea, and as I suggested in my post on this site,I’d also use engineering students to encourage both sexes to get involved as drivers, engineers and not least viewers.

126

Why not parade the construction workers who constructed the circuits to encourage more women to go into construction.

127

If you follow this site – jamesallenonf1.com – you’ll know that there are programs to attract youngsters to the technical side of F1. There is also the Dare To Be Different program that involves women in non-driving roles (and they are increasingly present).

F1 is the world driver’s championship, and that’s where FOM and FIA should be placing emphasis.

128

Liberty is really rocking along with these earth shattering changes.

129

F1 is in this mess due to poorly and/or quickly made decisions from the past.

Liberty have studied and built teams of very clever people. Give them the chance to do things properly. The overtaking issue is subject to a huge study with masses of CFD processing for example, and the engine regs are for when the current regs run out. The money side is for when the team agreements run out, the TV mess is mostly from Ecclestones watch. All of this will take years to contractually run down.

I’m not saying they’ll do it well eventually, but they’re going about it the right way to start with. If they can get Sean Bratches to speak in plain English I’d appreciate it though.

130

Bring back the grid girls and grid boys.

131

Isn’t that what they are doing?

Grid women and grid men are out.

Grid girls and grid boys are in.

132

What a good idea.

133

They’re putting baby goats on the grid now?! That’s just NUTS!!

134

I think this is a great idea and I look forward to seeing the first one to graduate from Grid Kid to F1 driver

135

@ newst…people have been known to die from holding their breath too long.

136

Very worthy, but a total gimmick.

137

And Grid Girls aren’t?

What about F1 isn’t a gimmick?

138

Unlike what went before this?!

139

Couple of things come to mind.

Great potential for moneyed old man to push their offspring to the fore, a la Mr Stroll.

Great potential to turn even tackier then the departed grid girls never became….

140

They would get more kids into F1 if it stayed free to air tv

141

Kids with parents who have no money.

142

The last time I went to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago to see the German submarine, I didn’t recognize the place. No submarine, all kids entertainment hands-on gimmicks. How come everything has to be a family entertainment amusement park. Everyone wants to be Disneyland.

143

Regarding recruiting more under 40-year olds, forget it. You have lost that generation. They grew up indoctrinated by the green environmental movement; the internal combustion engine is evil, oil has peaked! and other nonsense. Even F1 organizers seem to believe that. Heck, we are racing hybrids for that very reason. Has that got the millennials back?
As to the ugly American and Disneyland – I want F1 to be more nationalistic! I want more identity on the cars i.e. Italian racing red, BRG, Silver Arrows, etc. Seems like you socialists would also like that. But you are happy to identify with Red Bull as opposed to an Austrian livery? Kenneth, wouldn’t you like to see an orange Kiwi or such? Be proud, my boy!

145

The US is Disneyland on steroids. hahaha

146

Because no-one under 40 watches formula one, so they better do something fast to fix that?

147

Well this is close to what I wanted so I am in full support of it. Now sort cars following.

148

This is too stupid for words. A F1 grid isn’t the right place for children to be left wandering around, so they will need to be accompanied by an adult. So much for reducing the pre-race clutter.

Here’s my idea of how the Grid Kids should dress for the British GP
http://i.pinimg.com/originals/76/e5/66/76e5663f55ab6a642b9e51fd6a171177.jpg

149

@ Jonno…they should have a grid girl as a chaperone….solved. Everyone would be happy then.

150

I’m not so sure letting a pubescent teen boy onto the grid with a very attractive lady in her skimpys would end well. 😂

151

@ Paul D….exactly where were the girls in skimpys? Not in Austria,Malaysia, Abu Dhabi, Bahrein, Russia or Azerbaijan. Ah yes, good ole US of A…..land of the Free [or not, if you’re a grid girl as opposed to the all singing all dancing half naked gymnastic cheer leaders]

152

One wonders if this was a plan all along or if it is a knee-jerk reaction. One would hope that the former is the case. If it was, doesn’t it seem strange that the announcements did not occur together ?

153

@ Garrett Bruce…. my thoughts exactly.

154

That’s how internet marketing works – create outrage, wait a couple days, unveil something shiny with a big TADAAAA. All is forgiven. Sort of.

155

@garrett
I think the whole thing was planned like this… liberty knew what the outcome would be…
Shrewd😏😏

156

@ James K…You may well be right but i still have my doubts. The reaction post ‘grid kids’ announcement hasn’t really had a big welcome though has it? Accept for the players of ‘identity politics’ who are claiming a win for their nonsensical ideas of moral superiority

157

To get the amount of publicity, of course.

158

has this got anything to do with child labour?
i wonder if kids will be resilient enough to survive the event.

159

It will be child slavery if they are not paid for it!
As the grid girls were indeed paid a decent salary for the same number-holding job.

160

@ Cyber…I think that you’ve gone over the top here. At the worst it could be seen as a mild form of exploitation cobbled together with undue haste emanating from a degree of hostile fan rejection…of sorts.

161

Yeah sorry Kenneth – Me bad! ;o)
Those few (by Liberty Media-) carefully select kids will only be slaves to their own motorhead parents, who will tell them ‘Yes, you should be happy to accept being holding that number sign for one hour. And think about all the great stuff we will do and get access to as parents, and we wont if you dont accept to do it. And we will stop paying for your karting if you dont do it and take you off the Wifi and game-console at home as punishment!’

But yeah, exploitation is a fine term. ;o)

162

i wonder if they’ll pay them as much as they paid the grid girls.

163

is child labour different from child slavery?

164

I have mixed feelings about the use of kids who come from just motorsports. It will still serve as a discouragement for girls and women to become involved in the sport. I agree that it will be the experience of a lifetime for the kids involved. Then again, F1 races in countries where until recently women were not allowed to drive, let alone race. The FIA needs to do their equality and human rights homework.

165

I feel a wave of nausea coming on…

Let’s be positive, eh?
Now that a bunch of young women have lost their jobs and will therefore find it harder to make a decent living doing doing something… ah, decent. At least F1 can use the money saved on wages for something. Better marketing, maybe..?

166

The money is going straight to the shareholders!

167

Pretty obvious this was coming, and it’s a great move. F1’s big problem is getting the younger generation hooked. This will help. Would be great in 12-15 years to see the old pics of a “grid kid” holding the banner for a driver they’re now racing against in F1.

168

@ KRB…Pretty obvious? To whom? James certainly didn’t allude to this turn of events in any way in his previous piece covering the axing of the grid girls and no other media sources that i regularly check did either. That’s not to say that no one did but they completely bypassed the aggregation site that i use daily.

169

It was completely obvious that this was a potential avenue they would go down kenneth. Unlike what you think, it would have been stupid for FOM to package this with the original news of axing the grid girls. You know you’re going to get some backlash, so you let that blood letting happen, in its own spotlight. Bad news first, then good news. When the good news comes, those bemoaning the end of the world from the bad news, end up looking rather petty.

Did you even once think about what might come next, after the grid girl ban? You were too busy complaining about leftists telling you what to think, etc. It seems to me that this happens to you time and time again … you’re entranced by the jab, even as it’s being retracted, enough so that you never see the cross about to be planted square on your chin.

It’s not hard to think 2-3 moves ahead, but it gets harder if you let your head get all clouded with reactionary thoughts & arguments.

170

. Day one…kids of rich parents who can afford to race at an FIA club will get to be grid kids…by race three expect the press to have forced a change so a quota of kids from poor families get in on the act. By race six the professional complainers will have noted that not enough ethnic/ females/ disabled/ short/ fat/ thin (in fact you name it) are not represented. Next problem will be the tears when a Ferrari fan has to stand in front of a Williams. Liberty will be doing so many back flips that eventually they will give the job to the teams reserve drivers. Finally expect a lot more female reserve drivers to get appointed in F1.

171

Jon, you must find it hard to relate to the ”professional complainers?”

172

Jon, do you really think that any of that will happen? I bet it doesn’t.

173

Of course, not all of that will literally happen, but that’s not the point. Do you really not see the point that Jon is trying to make?
Quite literally every single day there is someone moaning about how they didn’t get what another person got and how that is so unfair (even though in reality getting their own backsides off the couch instead of sitting there waiting to complain would have helped).

174

Pb, my prediction is there will be no problems at all and that none of the things Jon describes will literally happen. We will have to wait and see who is correct.

175

TimW, that is exactly what’s going to happen. My example is Brazil Gp. Do you think liberty media will go find kids on the slums around the circuit ?
Yes, they will find kids that race on an FIA club or some regional one, whitch means that you need money to be involved. Also, if you’re in one of those, you probably have enough money to buy tickets.

176

Rodrigo, not everyone who is involved in karting is a millionaire.

177

Which is (almost) precisely why not every kid will become a grid kid. Make no mistake, the sad reality is that grid kids have been introduced not because of how kids will benefit from it, but simply as a PR cover up for a disastrous ban on grid girls.

178

TimW, I’ll take that bet, but only for a tenner, as I’ve never seen an F1 Grid Girl in my life because it costs me 4 days pay just to stand with the rabble at the back of the circuit.
Therefore, it makes no difference who is standing on the Grid.

179

Mick, genaral admission at Silverstone is £165. If that’s four days pay for you it might be time to join the rabble at the job centre…..

180

TimW, It would cost me thousands more than that to attend Silverstone, because I live in Australia.
I drive about 450 kms to Melbourne & back, so there is petrol, tolls, parking, food for a 15 hour day, $175 General Admission for my daughter & I, plus any souvenirs. That’s usually $500-600. To get near the Grid is another $750 for Grandstand seats on the start straight.
So thank you for your concern over my employment, but I will stick to my Mechanical Engineering job where I miss out on working with Automotive perfection, but I still get to work with 2 cylinder 900 h.p. engines producing over 29 000 ft/lb of torque.

181

Love it!

182

Mick, ok Silverstone would be a pricey day out for you, but tickets are much cheaper for Melbourne, so it’s not all bad news! General admission only £54 for race day? That’s a bargain!

183

Let’s see

184

@timw. Just read gadgets comments further down and as he says “ kids standing in front of a Martini advert” Or “ kids standing still in the sun for 30 minutes” I honestly expect some bad press and change to come from this knee jerk reaction to the knee jerk removal of grid girls.

185

Jon. Gasp! The kids might stand in front of a Martini ad?! We can only pray for their little souls……

186

I can’t remember the last time I saw any organised television program where a kid was officially made to stand in front of an advert for any sort of alcoholic product.
Manifestly un-PC after the PC move to ban grid girls. So your gasp is well placed…

187

Pb, I believe the child was completely unharmed by this terrifying event..

188

But can you be sure??? 😃

189

Krb, pretty sure. Probably more chance of catching rabies from that big dog than his life spiralling into an abyss of alcoholism caused by seeing a billboard!

190

Football didn’t exactly replace girls with kids for PC reasons. Let’s keep the debate relevant and at the right level.

191

Pb, no but they are used in football without any of the problems some are predicting in F1.

192

Once again missing the key point and splitting hair instead. To reiterate, the main point is this: introduce grid kids – no problem (without alcohol connections would be nice) – but what is the need to eliminate the grid girls?

193

You sound like an easy person to take money off. Jon is correct – this could open up a can of worms. Any minority could be accidentally omitted and there’ll be an uproar!

194

I for one certainly expect to see an equal representation of gender transexual kids to get a place on that grid!
And what about race and the disabled ones?
And what about…?
There is no end to it – That is the hypocrazy!

195

Mansell, except there won’t be any uproar, even the most die hard negative finder will struggle with a group of smiling children meeting their heroes.

196

#timw, I only care about grid girls going because it shows an external influence in my ( our) sport from totally unrelated pressure groups.
Berni stood firm against the PC brigade who did not want F1 in certain countries they saw as needing political punishment. However this first cave in from Liberty just shows a weakness that will be persistently attacked. So yes I do think that kids meeting their heroes will not be met negatively but everything around it will be scrutenised for fault and this move has a lot if potential faults for those fault finders to put in their armoury.

197

Jon, it’s Liberty’s show now, and they have the right to decide what image they want to project. Bernie’s refusal to react to changes in society helped the sport in some ways, but damaged it in others, the fault finders you mention would do well to find anything wrong with kids having a great day out, does anyone complain about kids doing the same thing in football?

198

@timw, you are getting to be an appologist for Liberty ( yes i read your other posts)
And to answer your question ..yes there are complaints about kids having a great day out as football mascots
https://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/dec/18/premier-league-clubs-charge-600-children-mascots

199

Jon, I think we should give Liberty a fair shake, and enough time to implement the changes that they want to make, here’s an article that talks about those changes, http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/42862496. It’s worth remembering that the tv deals, team payments, tyre contract and engine regs are all set in stone until those deals expire, so not a lot Liberty can do about them yet.
The football teams charge kids for being mascots?! Wow, that’s cold hearted! If that’s the only complant, then it should be all good in F1.

200

Baaang!! Take that… we take away the girls… we give you kids!

But seriously, all very noble. But as I remember from my karting days, you always seemed to be racing yourself when the GP was on. It was nearly every weekend. And now, these young kart racers, race all over the world. Like to see how this is gonna pan out.
But a good idea.

201

@ James K…i wouldn’t go as far as to say that but has this been a knee jerk reaction to unfavorable press? If not then all i can say is that it has been a very poorly executed strategy. Anyone who has any marketing smarts would know that by tying both announcements together into one package would’ve been more saleable than ad hoc arrangements that seem to indicate poor judgement. That’s just my opinion of course. It’s what i would’ve done.

202

Kenneth

I kinda think your right😉

203

F1 RIP

204

Indeed stephen indeed 2019 is looming.
SKY is looking rather dark for F1’s real fans!

205

Put a halo on it!

206

Stephen, I bet you a tenner that in ten years time people will still be confidently predicting the imminent death of F1, just as they did ten years ago…..and twenty years ago etc etc…

207

TimW the one thing 10 years ago to present day the thing that F1 had was a Free to Air stand on Terrestrial TV . This will be the first time in 2019 that it’s in an enclosed PayWall. So it’s impact on the new generation will be limited. Kids move on to next sport buzz. E sport is where they will connect and f1 will be a small “f” in the eyes of the new generation. By the time liberty realise this it’ll be too late. As the next target group of youngster will be onto the next E fad. F1 in 2019 is kicking itself perpetually in the dingle berries at each race. While Sky will bleat on and Liberty will back them until it goes the way of A1 GP.

208

Bk flamer, yes the free to air coverage was better back then, although in the UK at least you can still get the highlights without paying. Other sports have moved to ppv and not disappeared, it’s a shame for the fans, and can cause problems in attracting new blood, but it’s the way the world works now. I feel pretty sure that the people at Liberty are well aware of all of this, and it’s worth remembering that all the deals Bernie signed remain valid.

209

…in 10 years they will wear down a huge base of their fans down to leave just the “I will pay for TV package to watch hybrid engine mode silent cars with driver less than 5% of the contribution and engineers telling them what to do and when to shift and what fuel delta to drive to” fans who think everything is wonderful.

Also in ten years…no one will give a rat’s a$$ about hybrid.

210

If that’s the case, scrap F1 now and focus all efforts on expanding FE now. Or do we continue raging against the dying of the light?

211

There is still hope a d a chance dir them to turn this around. It’s not complicated either.

End engine modes. 1 mode per season loaded and fixed.
Give drivers more engines, the penalties have gone too far. An engine every 2 or maybe 3 GPs…OK. engine for 6 GPs…that’s ruining the show.
Put ERS back in driver’s hands – manual.
Make recapture fixed with each braking application, no variability, no software automation.
Put sound and awe back into the engine.
Stop making F1 into endurance sport.

It is still possible to stop turning F1 into a childish thing. What drew the youth before was that F1 was for adults. Anything made for adults the kids will want more than anything.

212

Sebee, sounds awful? Will you still be watching every race and coming here every day to moan about it?

213

TimW, I make this promise to you.

NA V10 like sound returns to F1, and I’m going to at least 4 Grand Prix that season. AT LEAST! Just to experience that again.

214

Sebee, so all the other stuff doesn’t really bother you that much then?

215

I have to watch something while on the treadmill. But these later start times may not fit my schedule as well, meaning I may contribute less to those viewing figures over the season in 2018 without a doubt. Public TV at a gym, F1 stats probably count my treadmill viewing as 25 people.

216

Sebee, depends if you are looking at the unique viewers or cumulative total, in the first you will count as one, in the second you will count as 25. I tried explaining this to you the other day. It’s funny how you say you only watch to give yourself something to do while on the treadmill, but it seems from your comments that you watch all the races, no matter what time they are on.

217

They replay at same time when they happen at night, like Australia or Japan. V10s…I woke up to watch live. Now, no more. And I do miss races in PU seasons, when I didn’t in the past.

218

Tim, F1 is indeed half-dead compared to what is was 10 years ago. So lets give the doomsday warriors some credit. ;o)

219

That’s your opinion Cyber, but in my view F1 is fundamentally the same now as it has always been.

220

No Tim, that is not my view alone!
The F1 has been in a permanent decline for past 10+ years, as we also have dicussed and proven again and again with solid numbers on this very forum! And the trend is the same across all major countries, not just for RAI and Sky as illustrated here with their own numbers. The Global Media Research report has shown the same for past 12+ years.

221

Cyber, I assume that graph is tv ratings in Italy? When you say that F1 has been in decline, you mean tv ratings right? Have those ratings fallen because people don’t like F1 anymore, or because they have to pay for it now? How have other sports faired over the same period? What about tv ratings in general, up or down over the last decade?

222

Tim, the F1 decline is measured by the continued drop in global audience. Several independant research reports around the subject indicate around half is due to lost interest in the F1 sport in general. While close to the full other half of decline is assigned the pay wall effect kicking in. Global tv access population number and ‘audience potential’ have risen substantially during the same period of time. The average number of hours people spend in front of their tv has also gone up over the last 10 years. People just clearly prefer to spend their time watching something else than F1 and that includes people that used to be committed to watching F1.
Many good objective research / business articles have been written around this subject last couple of years, as some of the same trends and root causes can be observed with other sports also and aligning with the findings for F1.

223

Cyber, all the articles I have read surrounding the decline in ratings pin the blame overwhelmingly on the switch to ppv, so I would be very interested in the independent surveys you mention. I read the other day that young people watch a third less tv now than they did ten years ago, maybe older ae groups watch the same amount, but with ever increasing number of channels competing for viewers, they are spread very thin. This is why all sports, and indeed all tv programmes have seen big falls in ratings.

224

“…F1 is fundamentally the same now as it has always been.”
With all due respect, it’s clear you lack the historical perspective to make such an assertion, which on its face is ridiculous to those of us who have been watching since the 1970s

225

With all due respect Gary, it’s clear that you still apply 70’s F1 era wisdom to today’s version … I’m thinking specifically of you placing primary blame on drivers for mechanical unreliability, when that is a clearly misplaced assumption nowadays.

I’ve been watching F1 since the mid-80’s. I’ve watched the NHL and various other sports leagues since then too, and ALL of them have changed considerably in terms of the style of play, but the main fundamentals of each remain largely the same.

226

Gary. It’s funny that when people say “with all due respect”, they invariably then say something really dis respectful! I started watching F1 in the early eighties, I liked the fact that it was the top of the circuit racing ladder, that it featured the fastest cars and the best drivers and that the teams designed and built the cars themselves. There have been many detail changes over my 35 years of viewing, but those fundamental building blocks remain.

227

You say that Tim because thats what you want to believe. The facts however are at complete odds with your views and paint a picture of the sports future very differently to the one you so desperately cling onto.

People here on this site, as with countless others in this world wide web, have every reason to be concerned about current events and the wider implications the possible effects will have on F1s longevity moving forward.

There is a distinct difference between critiquing F1 and merely critiquing the opinion of other’s…….

228

What are those facts again?

Hope you don’t go for the “if you don’t know them by now ….” response.

229

Krb, not even that ‘old chestnut’ response! Typical Sars, chuck a hand grenade, make spurious claims, then wander off!

230

Sarsippious, look at my rey to Cyber, and then look at yours to me, which of us is critiquing the others opinion and which of us is stating their own while respecting the orhers? My opinion is the sport is fundamentally the same now as it was in the eighties, you claim to have facts proving this to not be the case, but can’t be bothered to say what they are, not that helpful really.

231

…and yet slowly it dies…

232

I have days when I want to just pull the plug. I hate to see it suffer like this.

233

Sebee, you don’t have to watch……

234

Lkfe, except it doesn’t.

235

Well I’m willing to accept that bet, partly because in another 10 years £10 won’t be much of a loss anyway.
But at the rate F1 is becoming sanitised even though I’m sure there’ll be a race series carrying the name F1 it will be in name only and the series I fell in love with in the 80’s will be dead and buried! Hope I’m wrong…

236

Stephen, well we will see won’t we? I do remember people complaining that F1 was becoming sanitised when they stopped using the Nordschliefe, and yet here we are….

237

Unfortunately, never before has that prediction been closer to the truth as it currently is.

238

Certainly, having grid kids on the grid is a great idea for not only is it a dream come true for many fans but also it can act as motivation for young racers to dream big.

Having said that, if I were to choose between the option of having grid kids and grid girls, I would always choose grid girls because they’re part of the ingredient that gives the sport it’s glamour.

239

I want to know why does anyone have to choose between one or the other? Surely they can both coexist on the grid!

240

@ PB

Oh no, I don’t think grid kids and grid girls can co-exist for this would just create a congested working environment for the teams

241

It will also be very confused marketing from Liberty Media!
Who do they want to cater to as their targeted audience?
Tetosterone fueled hetero sexual men or pedophiles? ;o)

As the PC machine in hyper-drive used that as argument for abolishing the grid girls, well then they should use same argument against the grid kids.

242

I almost replied with a smiley until I read your response to Kenneth and realised you are probably serious (can’t believe it still)!
So you think they thought about having both but decided to ban grid girls and just have grid kids because 20 additional humans spread over a grid that is a fair few hundred metres long would be unworkable?
Oh look, there’s a pig flying!

243

@ PB

Actually the grid kids were only brought in after the grid girls were banned for what is the purpose of having two different sets of people performing the same job

So yes, grid kids and grid girls together would just create unnecessary human traffic on the grid

244

@ Goferet… They could have done both…the grid girl accompanies the grid kid. Nothing to lose there however I’m sure the newly minted self appointed F1 puritans would baulk at that!!!!! Who will accompany the kids?

245

@ kenneth

I think the reasoning as to why the sport can’t do both grid girls and grid kids is this would just lead to a congested grid which in turn would affect team’s preparations e.g. Monaco, Singapore

246

@ Goferet…Another 20 people on the grid causing pedestrian traffic chaos? Just reduce the number of no name wannabes and their minders and any excess bodies are diappeared in a flash!

247

@ kenneth

Definitely 20 additional people on a grid would create traffic especially if they aren’t doing anything

Personally, I like seeing celebrities on the grid and in the paddock for it’s all part of the glamour experience

248

Can’t some of the kids also be girls?

249

@ jdr

Well according to Jackie Stewart, it’s virtually impossible to see girls at karting races hence the reason why the sport doesn’t have a woman driver

250

And having grid kids isn’t going to change that…
By the way, have you read Lauda’s laudable comments?

251

@ PB

Sure grid kids wouldn’t inspire the next woman driver however, it will inspire the F1 drivers of the future

252

There are other, more targeted ways of inspiring future racers (even girls). No need to ban grid girls which is (and I repeat) completely unnecessary and PC action by feminazis – nothing more than that. Grid kids = poor and desperate attempt at damage control. I admire Lauda for saying what he feels without having to resign (which is Veer unusual these days)

253

I’m glad this has come in. I posted a comment suggesting this very thing and it’s great to see a common sense idea. There’s endless videos of young mascots in football starstruck as they line up beside their hero. Hopefully we see that here

254

Makes sense, the kids will be delighted to be there and could be inspiring to young people in the crowd as they are there on merit.

Good call!

255

I was against the abolishment of grid girls, not particularly because I like to look at them but more because PC has gone mad. However I think this idea is inspired as long as their heroes give a bit of time to interact which might be difficult just before a big race.
I met my heroes as a child many times, Barry sheene, Randy mamola, kenny Roberts….. fond memories still. Maybe liberty have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat…..

256

Maybe liberty have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat…..

No they haven’t. It is most obvious that this is a cover up to pacify those who are against the ban on grid girls. Introducing grid kids is completely unrelated to the ban on grid girls – why not have both?

257

“It’s political correctness gone mad!” cry the people who don’t care about offending others. Rude people, generally.

258

Correct. According to CH4’s Cathy Newman, you have your right to not be offended, and that right trumps other people saying things which offend you.

259

People have a rightto speak freely. You do not have a right not to be offended, nor should you ever.

260

@ SDimon Maudsley The right to offend is the basic tenet of ‘free speech’. You may not like it but you are free to respond in any way you feel appropriate.

261

@Kenneth – i would like to respond by asking you to re-read my post.

262

If that’s the case, why are our comments moderated prior to being published.

263

That’s not my point. I think it’s good to think about why someone might be offended, and then change your behaviour if you feel you should. Not just shout ‘Its PC gone mad!’.

264

a responsibility to change ones behaviour falls on both sides of the argument. the duty should fall on the person who’s behaviour (or viewpoint) is, objectively speaking, offensive. However, this is just basic good manners and it should only fall to society to judge the offender, not the state/similar.

265

So if I go to another country and find their customs to be offensive…who’s right to not be offended wins?

Is it my right to not be offended by the customs?

Or is it the local’s right to be offended by me taking offence to their customs?

266

Just because you are offended doesn’t make you right.

267

Just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean you’re right.

268

Laurence H… If you’re going to be offended, choose something worthy of offence.

I, for example, am offended by vocal PC minorities using their feelings to rule the silent majorities. I believe that this is something worthy of offense.

269

So I’m guessing that you think that anyone in a minority has no rights because only the majority is important. I guess you’ll just do what the Chinese tell you from now on. There are more of them you know…

270

“So you think anyone in a minority has no rights”

Omg the hyperbole is getting rediculous.

They have the right to free speech. They have the right to assembly. They have the right to due process, and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Those are all rights that the minority has, amongst others.

What the minority doesn’t have is the right to to boss the majority around because of their feelings, or because they think they know what is best for everyone.

271

Laurence H… You do not have a right to not be offended, regardless of whether you’re in the majority or minority.

272

@laurence H
Rude People !!!! Oh please.
It’s people with your way of thinking that want everyone to be like sheep.
Tell me… what is “ offended”?? Not accepting another persons point of view???
I could easily say I’m offended by your PC b…s….
But I’m not… if I don’t agree with a poster…. I just walk on by…. but it’s something else when they start name calling.
Wake up and smell the roses will you, then we can all get along without childish name calling.

273

Well said James k
Think the chap is on one .
All spit and vinegar 🤣

274

I really don’t think everyone should be like sheep. I was making the point that it may be worth thinking about why people may be offended. Just a few minutes of your time to consider that. Instead of shouting ‘It’s PC gone mad!’…

275

@laurence H
I couldn’t really give 2 hoots about the grid girls/kids.
But if the reason for their dismissal is because others think it’s demeaning for the girls, then I would say that it’s PC gone mad too.
Quite right, one would see the girls and think for a nano second, “she’s nice”! But I look at the cars a lot longer with a bit more lust than I do the girls.
What’s liberty saying, they don’t trust the fans to control themselves at these events.

276

Your understanding of sexism is poor if you think it’s just about men not ‘being able to control themselves’.

277

@laurence
Quite possible, so please educate me. I would like to hear your interpretation of sexism. Of course with the grid girls in mind.

278

@ Laurence H……’I disagree with what you say but i’ll defend to the death your right to say it’ Merci Mr. Voltaire.

279

Kenneth…. your so PC!!😄

280

it offends me greatly that you want to tell me what to like.

281

I never suggested that for one second, so not sure what point you’re making?

282

Think about it!

283

Regarding the new policy of Kids standing instead of girls well that’s brilliant but it is PC gone mad.
Grid Girls and F1 are synonymous since the Halcyon days of 50s 60s. The spirit of James Hunt must be stirring and throwing flip flops at Libertys Chase Carey.

284

Grid girls are so not part of those halcyon days. Here’s a photo of the grid, pre-race, at Silverstone in 1976. Count the grid girls and get back to me.

http://f1.imgci.com/PICTURES/CMS/10800/10837.jpg

More generally, there have always been women at races, yes, but these are not the grid girls that F1 is doing away with.

285

Tell me about it….here in South Africa, the video montage that introduces the F1 race broadcast doesn’t show a single F1 car, driver or track – its actually a 30s video of fashion models on a catwalk….true story.

286

I guess you wish to return to 50s and 60s safety levels too? Why not bring polio and smallpox back too? You could give it to the Grid Kids. You’d like that, I presume?

287

The comparison is not analagous. Smallpox, poliio, and death from fire resulting in the crash of a racing car make the world a more dangerous place to be, and that is reasonably something you would want to control for. A lady standing infront of a racing car holding a sign is not dangerous. So what is the logic? Is it one of causing offence? Well, this is reasonable in some situations, especially when they are overtly sexualised and such dress is at odds with the context of the event (BSB springs to mind). However, it is F1 that has ended the gird girls and, from my memory, the F1 grid girls were relatively conservatively dressed and therefore not sexualised. So what are the grounds for ending the practice?

288

Laurence H where did you get “me wishing” polio from ???? 🤤🤓I assume you’re the type of hyper sensitive placard carrying tea party hood wearing God fearing lithium taking sensitive individual who is a real asset to the human race …bravo mind you don’t trip over your halo. Its slipping on the Carbollic soap.😄
Try keeping things in perspective rather than going off on a mad hatters egg hunt.

289

I was just making the point that things change. Not sure why you’re thinking I’m in the Ku Klux Klan? Bit weird…

290

You could be a Druid or a Monk 😄
There are other hood wearing social groups. Its not exclusive to one deranged clan.

291

*Bzzt* I’ll have “What is a straw man on a slippery slope?” for 10.

292

Immunisations against polio is what spread the HIV virus to humans, thus resulting in millions of deaths worldwide.

293

Well, if you’re into conspiracy theories that are not true ( https://www.nature.com/articles/35074179 ) then it is pointless to argue with you.

294

OMG
L H
What have you been sniffing?😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄😄
Jeez next thing you’ll be blaming your constipation on 50s 60s use of dried egg & lead colouring in cheese from Edwardian times.
Totally over hyped reaction to a post goes too ⁉ Laurence H🌟 take a bow.
Polio Small Pox you forgot Dysentery and Yellow Fever and Consumption and Grey Lung what
about dunking witches next 🤔

295

You think we should still dunk them?

296

Witches? Absolutely they should be dunked!! That’s how you kill a witch, no? Same as driving a steak through a vampire’s heart? Or a silver bullet for a werewolf? These are tried and true methods of killing dangerous mythical creatures…why would we stop?

297

😄😄😄😄😄 Have you thought of career in politics.
Well….
Depends if you’ve run out of Digestives to
Dunk in your tea 😄😄😄😄

298

Bring Back The Grid Girls ☝️
World Endurance 24 hr at Le Man do a great meet and greet on Thursday before the main event where the younger fans can meet the drivers and get close up to the cars.
World Rally Championship has a similar thing. Its a pity it’s taken F1 ages to get into this domain.
F1 allowing kids on grid… “great” but how much extra will the families have to pay for the pleasure of being close to the cars and drivers. On top of the extortionate price of being at the race.
All well about sounding off about the new proposal but no one has mentioned the cost. Especially next year when Pie in The Sky get their filthy mitts on F1 will it be cheaper?
Seeing how much F1 will loose in individual team sponsoring and armchair audiences to other motor sports as the pay wall hits the fan base.

299

2nd Paragraph under the Crying Spanish GP Kid:

“Their families will be welcomed into the F1 paddock for race day at the Grand Prix, as part of the experience.” they won’t have to pay for anything other than getting to the track.

300

Jag/ Eric
They won’t have to pay a penny but they’ll had the cost on somewhere else for others to take the hit. This is after all a Cash Cow for Liberty. No one gets a free meal in F1 .

301

but how much extra will the families have to pay for the pleasure of being close to the cars and drivers.

Simple answer: nothing.. part of the deal as announced by Fia.

302

Red Bull used to do the Formula Una thing back in the early days. I think they should strongly consider bringing that back to fill the marketing void.

Is there a limit to the number of team personnel who can go over the wall? Say all the RBR and STR teams wanted to have 4 Formula Una women marking the corner of each car – 16 total – could they?

303

You seem to not know much about F1.

I don’t see any regulation directly prohibiting what you describe, BUT there is a limit on the number of staff that a team may have at a race. So in the scenario you describe, a team would have to take 8 staff members away from other jobs.

304

This move must been seen in the positive forward thinking light that it is being projected. In a world where sport has moved behind the paywall, any encouragement to children to become more involved in the sport and look to develop their future participation must be seen as a good thing.

305

“In a world where sport has moved behind the paywall, any encouragement to children to become more” . . . . . . . . . .
able to receive a large income to be able to get past the paywall, will be a good thing for our bank balance.

306

All that aside, why did they have to ban the grid girls in order to achieve grid kids? They both could have co-existed (no doubt in peace)!

307

Absolutely agree PB!
I love that the young generation should get more access. I didnt really care much about the grid girls as such. But the argumentation brought forward by Liberty Media has been laughable at best.

308

I’m not sure it’s wise to have children on the grid in terms of safety. If there was an accident, or fire/KERs issue it would be seen as reckless to have children on the grid. What about noise concerns and damage to young ears? It’s also not a good idea in terms of having children commercially branded, presumably they will have to be unbranded or you will have kids holding signs with Jonnie Walker on it. Even kids in RBR branding would be highly controversial due to the health risks of children consuming energy drinks.

This smacks of a PR recovery drive which hasn’t been fully thought through as it raises even more serious concerns than Grid Girls.

309

I think it likely that the two announcements were deliberately staggered, because LM knew that if they made them both at the same time, the stink about the removal of the grid girls would drown out the positive announcement.

They would have done better to say nothing about the grid girls (which were never anything that they promised) and merely emphasise the kids. Though I suppose that if they didn’t make the first announcement, some half-true version would have got out in the press. But that seems to have happened anyway.

310

not wise? They let Max – the kid – Verstrappenhimselfin on the grid every race weekend and he seems to do alright…
Perhaps F1 should be X-rated so that fans don’t sustain any injuries to their egos. It seems like the fragility of fans is the sole remaining risk in the sport now we have the halo effect.

311

Considering some of these grid kids may well be older than the kids we have actually driving the cars themselves I’m sure they’ll be just fine Matt.

312

Its always something.

313

Matt, does it not matter if a grid girl gets electrocuted or deafened? I guess the fact that no harm has ever come to any of the thousands of people who have stood on an F1 grid during the last thirty years has eased any safety concerns….

314

A grid girl is an adult.
A kid is a kid. Why do you think that we have so many rules in society on what minors are not allowed to do.

315

Do you really think that the kids will just be allowed to run around on the grid? For a start, the current procedures have anybody not driving a car, not an official and not working on a car off the grid 10 minutes before engines can be started up.

This is really much ado about nothing.

316

Cyber, you think those rules won’t be followed? My prediction is zero fatalities, zero injuries, zero cases of hearing loss, zero cases of heatstroke and a few hundred extremely happy kids.

317

Tim, what about this rule prevalent in europe: You can’t work for a profit-making organisation if you’re under 14, even if you’re not paid.
That includes ‘charity’ work also.
And again, its like you hunt me down for not wanting the kids to have a good time. I do!
But not for them to do any of the work the grid girls were paid for to do previously, including standing with the number sign and that type of stuff. This kids should have a free run and touring around the paddock etc to see the amazing stuff, yes of course! The more the merrier! But no strings attached regarding duties to be performed for the Liberty Media machine.

318

Cyber, is standing holding a sign work? Another prediction, nobody will get arrested for any child labour related offences.

319

It is indeed – As also witnessed by it used to be paid for to be done!
So yes absolutely!
And most places in the world you have people doing that everyday to earn their living and employers paying them to do so.