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Grid girls to say goodbye to F1 from this year

We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant anymore, official says

Image Credit: AFP
Grid girls line up for the pit lane walk ahead of the Italian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale circuit in Monza.
Gulf News

Dubai: Is it time for the cheergirls of the sport to say goodbye? Formula 1, one of the most elitist of them all, will end the long-standing practice of using walk-on grid girls, commencing with the start of the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season in Melbourne on March 26.

“These changes also apply to our other motorsports series that take place during the Grands Prix weekends,” a F1 press release said.

Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1 said: “Over the last year, we have looked at a number of areas which we felt needed updating so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport. While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 Grands Prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms. We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

Hungarian grid girls stand at the red carpet during the drivers' parade ahead of the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit near Budapest. Formula One has ended the practice of using scantily clad walk-on "grid girls" before races, the sport's organisers Liberty Media said on January 1, 2018 AFP

The 2017 season, incidentally, was the first season under Liberty Media — the US based conglomerate — who took over the reins of the sport from F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

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

The use of cheergirls is still an accepted practice in boxing, UFC, Super Bowl as well the Indian Premier League in cricket.