According to The Star, ‘Grid Girls’ will no longer be used by Formula 1 from the start of the 2018 World Championship season.
‘Grid girls’ were a tradition within the sport. At most races, they were well (sometimes skimpily) dressed promoters representing top luxury brands. At the Austrian Grand Prix recently they were in traditional dress (the dirndl). It was perceived as an “honour” to be picked as a ‘Grid Girl’ for an F1 Grand Prix.
The decision was announced in a statement on Wednesday with the change, which also applies to all support races, coming into effect from the start of the season in Australia on March 25. Sean Bratches, Managing Director of Commercial Operations, said the change would be made “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 One Grand Prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms,” said Bratches.
“We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula One and its fans, old and new, across the world,” he added.
In a report by Guardian, some grid girls have been hitting back at what they perceive to be an invasion of their right to make their own decisions.
Rebecca Cooper, who describes herself as a “five-time F1 grid girl” tweeted, “So the inevitable has happened, F1 grid girls have been banned. Ridiculous that women who say they are ‘fighting for women’s rights’ are saying what others should and shouldn’t do, stopping us from doing a job we love and are proud to do. PC gone mad.”
Another grid girl, Lauren-Jade Pope, wrote: “Because of these feminists, they’ve have cost us our jobs! I have been a grid girl for eight years and I have never felt uncomfortable! I love my job, if I didn’t I wouldn’t do it! No one forces us to do this! This is our choice!”
Others, however, some have described F1’s ban as a step in the right direction.
Melinda Messenger, who said she worked as a grid girl for the Jordan team for around four years, told The Wright Stuff on Channel 5: “I actually think this is a good thing. I think it’s a sign that we’re heading in a really positive direction. I personally had a great time, I made some good money out of it, I had fun but really, looking back, essentially all I was there for was decoration and I think that’s the issue. I think we are changing and we’re moving forward.”
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