Formula One will no longer use grid girls, the organization announced Wednesday.
F1 to stop using grid girls
“Custom does not resonate with our brand values” https://t.co/zKqSwM8EUU
— Formula 1 (@F1) January 31, 2018
“We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula One and its fans, old and new, across the world,” said Sean Bratches, managing director of commercial operations at Formula One. “We feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.”
By norms, he means the public’s overwhelming attention on the objectification of women. Given the gradual integration of women in motorsport, the initiative makes sense — women probably don’t particularly care for the grid girls.
These norms are likely influencing the new trend to do away with show girls from sports entirely, as the decision comes just a few days after the Professional Darts Corporation announced that it will no longer feature walk-on escorts for competitors.
The Women’s Sport Trust praised Formula One and implored other sports such as boxing and cycling to follow suit.
Formula One is still a male dominant sport, however, so the appeal for grid girls persists.
“It’s kind of like part of the attraction of the sport,” said Australian racer Daniel Ricciardo in a BBC Radio 5 interview in December — when official discussion to do away with grid girls began gaining traction.
‘Grid Girls’ in #F1 are now a thing of the past.
F1 bosses say the practice is “at odds with modern day societal norms.”
But driver Daniel Ricciardo still thought they had a place in the sport.
What do you think? pic.twitter.com/YjXAtWF88j
— BBC 5 live Sport (@5liveSport) January 31, 2018
Besides holding driver name boards, bearing national flags, composing the guard of armor for drivers entering the grid and flaunting sponsors on their clothing, grid girls do not do much else.
They’re icons of the sport, nonetheless. Former Formula One team owner Eddie Jordan even acknowledged that grid girls played an important role in getting the sport more media exposure.
“It was certainly instrumental in us getting a lot more coverage on TV,” Jordan said in a BBC Radio 5 interview. “Things were huge for us and that’s why we did it.”
With media exposure comes money — exactly what Formula One might miss out on depending on consumer reaction in the 2018 season, which starts March 25 with the 2018 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
To celebrate their contribution to Formula One, check out this collection of 2017’s grid girls.