By on February 5, 2018

f1 america 2017

Late last month, Formula One announced it would no longer be using the professionally employed models colloquially known as grid girls, starting with the 2018 season. The rationale, according to managing director of commercial operations Sean Bratches, was that times had changed.

“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,” Bratches explained in a release. “We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

The decision was mocked as a prudish response to PC culture by some, while others praised it as a major victory against the objectification of women. Regardless, the women won’t be coming back in March. However, there will be a replacement. In a recent announcement, F1 said it will replace its grid girls with “Grid Kids.” 

Don’t worry, the FIA hasn’t endorsed putting children into semi-revealing clothing. Instead, it’s allowing young fans to walk out onto the track and briefly meet drivers as they enter their cars. Families will also have paddock access for race Sunday.

According to F1, winners will either be selected via lottery or chosen by the various motorsport clubs “based on merit.” While that probably means there will be a lot of wealthy tykes (and their dads) meeting their driving heroes, it won’t be exclusive to families with deep pockets and good connections. There is a catch, though: all youngsters must be participants in a karting or junior racing league.

“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,” Bratches said. “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.”

Exactly what the kids will be doing, beyond hanging out, is unspecified. It doesn’t matter though because, unlike the models, the children won’t be getting paid to participate. The FIA says Grid Kids will be chosen at every Formula 1 race, as well as other series like F2 and GP3 “where possible.” We’ll see how they do on March 25 at the 2018 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

[Image: FIA]

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55 Comments on “Formula One Swaps Out ‘Grid Girls’ for ‘Grid Kids’...”


  • avatar

    A good PR move by the Formula One people, as nobody can hate on children getting to do things.

    Now if we can remove attractive women from all other sporting events, television, and movies, our world will have true equality and freedom of choice.

    • 0 avatar
      silentsod

      Next up – NFL cheerleaders.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t get it, isn’t this worse for women? Attractive women like jobs too, you know, and now we’re celebrating taking those jobs away?

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The thing about grid girls is, unlike cheerleaders, or sports anchors, or any other attractive woman working in sports, literally the only requirement/responsibility of a grid girl is to be attractive and stand around half naked. It’s hardly a “job” either; these girls are local, and so this only provides them with work once a year at best- more than likely once only as I doubt F1 employs more than one girl twice.

      The funny thing is I seriously doubt any of the men crying about these women losing their jobs has any kind of concern for any other issues women face. This flavor of concern trolling seems extraordinarily cynical and insincere.

      • 0 avatar

        What I dislike is not letting people (women in this case) do a job they’re qualified for and which is legal, because a contingent doesn’t like how they look doing it.

        It’s the opposite of the “Be anything you want to be” message which was just *so* important before. Apparently it only applies some of the time though.

        Moreover, the justice folks (not all, of course) against the grid girls are not concerned with other women’s issues, just this one because it’s just so hot right now. (AKA virtue signaling)

        • 0 avatar
          Sub-600

          I agree. Should clothing and cosmetics companies bow to self-righteous indignation and fire models, telling them to get involved in other areas of the business? PC absurdity run amok. “We know what’s better for you, you should live this way” Good grief.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          “Moreover, the justice folks (not all, of course) against the grid girls are not concerned with other women’s issues, just this one because it’s just so hot right now. (AKA virtue signaling)”

          I guarantee all the men crying about these women losing their jobs don’t give a crap about the pay gap, or all the challenges of maternity in the workplace, or the sexual harassment epidemic or pretty much any unique issues women have to deal with. They are taking away the eye candy that brings nothing to the sport, and it’s an opportunity to speak to some ill conceived and baseless hypocrisy on the part of SJWs. If you didn’t care about women’s issues before this, you picked a crappy opportunity to start.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Sad commentary on life in the 21st Century. “What a tailpipe of party this is going to be” – E. Vedder

  • avatar
    Syke

    A very good PR move, a clear realization of changing societal standards, and I’m still going to miss them.

    Wonder how long it will take for the motorcycle races to follow?

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Hopefully soon.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Professional cycling is leaving behind “podium girls”. But there are still women on the podium, who have as much reason to be there as the men. The rise of professional womens’ cycle racing likely has something to do with this. A good thing overall. Just as there are women on the F1 grid before the formation lap, who are not there for decoration.

      Maybe decisions about which women appear in ceremonial roles and in what manner could be decided by groups with equal representation by women and men.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Not sure why people are crying about these women losing their jobs. Jobs disappear all the time, and attractive people have an easier time getting interviews, getting hired, and getting promoted, regardless of their skill level (Google it). Case in point, grid girls who get paid to do nothing more than stand around. At least cheerleaders do things, and work for the whole event, rather than the couple of minutes before it starts. These women will be fine.

    I do hope this is the start of cultivating more female talent in motorsport for purposes other than eye candy. Once my daughter is old enough I want to get her into karting.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Good move.

  • avatar
    JMII

    The kids thing is a good recovery from this mess. It is actually a great idea to get kids interested in the sport to help its future.

    The main issue I had with this nonsense is the “semi-revealing” clothing thing. That wasn’t the issue here, as most of the gird girls at F1 races were dressed in traditional clothes based on their local region or customs. Sure at times the dresses ran a touch shorter and the tops a bit lower cut, but honestly it was along the lines of what I would put in the cocktail party wear category. I’ve seen similar outfits at weddings with younger couples (like when the wife and I exchanged vows). F1 kept things classy, those girls weren’t over exposed with cleavage and skin tight pants. Cheerleaders wear far less – with mini skirts or hot-pants/booty shorts and tiny tops that are basically sports bras exposing their midsection. I went over some photos of grid girls with my wife and she found none of them too revealing. She didn’t feel like it was embarrassing or sad that women were forced to wear such clothes. Seriously… look at this: http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/crash.net/styles/article/s3/field/image/Photo4_s.r.l._847606.jpg?itok=2PgbMACA swiss miss outfits? who finds this offensive? I think the real problem was job they were doing: getting paid to stand still and look pretty. I think they call this modeling and bet these girls felt honored to be considered attractive enough to win such a high profile role. If they didn’t want to be judged based on their looks then they shouldn’t have signed up for the gig.

  • avatar
    St.George

    Has anyone asked the grid girls themselves whether they found what they did demeaning or is this some sort of virtue signalling exercise foisted upon them by a politically correct executive?

    As far as I understood, being a grid girl wasn’t compulsory and they were hired locally through modelling agencies. As models, I’m sure they were happy for the work and (ahem), exposure!

    • 0 avatar
      Baskingshark

      The Grid Girls are furious and are campaigning to get their jobs back. There is a petition which was nearing 10,000 signatures last time I looked to bring them back. (Petition is here; https://www.change.org/p/liberty-media-formula-1-keep-the-grid-girls)

      If you look up Lauren-Jade Pope’s twitter, she is a Grid Girl/motorbike racer and is leading the charge. Many of these women also participate actively in motorsports. Last week she hilariously humiliated a sanctimonious British female broadcaster who was crowing about how Grid Girls objectified women by tweeting pictures of the same woman posing for a bikini photo shoot for FHM magazine in the early 2000’s and calling her a hypocrite.

      Bringing in kids does nothing for me. I don’t like children and I do like the fact that F1 is a glamorous sport, filled with speed, power and stylish locations. Attractive, well-dressed people are part of the ambience and the Grid Girls should return and be kept. Female racers have had equally attractive Grid Boys to attend to them, so you can hardly argue sexism there either.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Perhaps this is fertile ground for a TTAC story. I really have no idea what a typical day for a grid girl involves. Does the job give them a foot in a the door for bigger opportunities… not just modeling, but say a job at a tire company? What level of harassment must they endure? TTAC can interview the grid girls (anonymously), but should also talk to human resources.

      F1 is also an international sport. Have grid girls been removed from Europe and Asia, where they seem less puritanical about such matters?

      Personally, grid girls step up the level of glamor at the races. I suppose they also lead to work for those who design and make their uniforms… although that’s probably done in a sweat shop… but that’s another story.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Since the current F1 cars are so ugly, why not match them up with ugly grid girls? Of course if they would bring back good looking cars such as the Gurney Eagle or Maserati 250, a lot of viewers wouldn’t notice whether there were girls present or not.

  • avatar
    raph

    Gone for how long I wonder? What happens when society swings back the other way or more correctly when the blow back hits as these things seem cyclical.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    “unlike the models, the children won’t be getting paid to participate”

    ^^ This is the real reason, right here.

    “Has anyone asked the grid girls themselves whether they found what they did demeaning or is this some sort of virtue signalling exercise foisted upon them by a politically correct executive”

    Neither. The women who weren’t qualified for the job found it demeaning that they would never in a million years be selected for that role, therefore it’s impossible to allow someone else to be selected. The executives found a way to save a buck. The people reporting on this particular change seem to be the ones virtue signalling.

    Isn’t it equally contrary to the current times to encourage our precious youngsters to venture out into parts of the world where certain concussions await (drivers wear helmets!) and they could breathe noxious fumes that could stunt their emotional/intellectual development?

  • avatar

    It’s the right of a business to do (legally) what it wants. And, it’s our right to tell them how wrong they are. Will they lose ticket sales and viewership because there are no longer grid girls? Probably not. But, it truly is sad that humorless scolds have this much sway in our society.

    As for the grid kids? Sure, why not. It’s seems to work for big time European socc…I mean, football.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Y’all are thinking about this all wrong. NASCAR needs to cruise the Wal-Mart/strip mall to find their version of “Grid Girls”. I mean they have a mandatory three lap caution every eight laps. Lots of opportunities to hire lots of local women. The winner of the eight lap segment gets points for “The Chase” thingy. Ole Brian France will just be stealing marketing ideas from ole Bernie. Their ratings will soar.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    F***ing pussies.

    Incorporating children is not a horrible idea but the only people going to tune in because of kids are those who you don’t want around kids. Why were there ever cheerleaders if they did not attract viewership?

    “unlike the models, the children won’t be getting paid to participate.”

    May be the real reason.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      No, the “F***ing pussies” are the execs who would cower to the status quo and people clinging to the past.

      Again, the notion that grid girl costs have any kind of impact on this decision is ridiculous. At most they are paid for their very brief time; they’re not flying these women around or anything; they’re local.

      The feigned concern about pedophiles is also rich. So much fake outrage from this move. I’m happy F1 did it just to bring out the idiocy and fake concern from people who really just want to keep women as ornaments. Lol @ a 1 day job being anyone’s livelihood.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Respectively, I’m sick of this “clinging to the past” sh*t, you don’t know any better than anyone who came before you, and this prevalent sense of moral superiority ebbing around simply shows how out of touch with reality these ideas have become. If T&A has any impact on revenue, you give the audience the T&A. If not, then the business case is not there, end of story. After all this is a privately run business and owners should do what is their best financial interests. Owners have a choice to not be accosted by stupid, but then again some owners give in a la the No Fans League. Shaming anyone to think otherwise is incredibly dangerous. Statism kills.

        “the notion that grid girl costs have any kind of impact on this decision is ridiculous”

        Figures to back up your assertion? No? Thought so. Employees are expensive not to mention a risk, just ask any business looking into automation.

        “The feigned concern about pedophiles is also rich. So much fake outrage from this move.”

        Let’s ask the Podesta Brothers what they think. Maybe Kevin Spacey can weigh in as well?

        “just want to keep women as ornaments”

        …I can’t even respond to this without being snide. I sincerely hope one day you wake up.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Professional tennis has been including kids for years. No problems I’ve heard of.

      Cheerleaders may be from an era where titillation was not as easily come by, before there were male cheer people and when there were fewer women in sports. Not to mention humanity getting past relegating women to second class. Those who will miss traditional grid girls and cheerleaders and such displays likely are from an older male demographic. Whose cold dying fingers are losing their grip on society.

  • avatar
    TW5

    F1 has been dead to me for a long time. This just reinforces how clueless the owners are. Political window dressing and community outreach are not the problems. Covering things in the veneer of modern politics does not somehow make them inherently valuable or relevant.

    In virtually all motorsports we’re forced to choose between supporting people who are the problem (the engineers and working groups who corrupt the sport for a technology parade) and the people who are not the solution (marketing morons who apply political veneer to everything).

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      As a completely contrived spectacle, F1 is completely dependent on marketing. The marketing shapes the regulations and the engineers only seek to do their best within the rules. So to accuse the engineers of being corrupt and the marketers of being moronic, seems a bit off the mark. To be polite.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        The reason motorsport continues its plunge into the abyss is precisely because the average fan cannot discern the unsporting chicanery of the technical working groups and manufacturers associations.

        The technical working groups are the problem. The marketers are just incompetent.

        There are no sportsmen in motorsports. It’s sad because motorsport needs them more than any other form of sporting competition.

  • avatar
    Tandoor

    I just wonder if this grid kids thing was the plan all along or is it some kind of damage control. You’d think if it had been, they would have said something last week. At least no one is whining about the logo anymore.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    Sieg Heil to modern day societal norms!!!!
    There were a time when Nazi norms were progressive.
    Then there was a time when Communist norms were progressive.
    and now again PC training monkeys scream:
    Sieg Heil

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    T&A will never totally disappear from motor sports, or sports in general, just because virtue signaling SJWs scream “Ooooh, look at me, I care, I really care!”. The same folks who think it’s no dig deal that these women lose money are probably the same people who hyper-spasm if they get short-changed at a drive-thru. If someone’s good looking and can get paid to stand around, who are SJWs to tell them they can’t? Having one’s options dictated is far more demeaning than standing around looking good. It’s about control for SJWs, control and a need for some, any, validation. Like most liberal social forays, this “attractive female shaming” will go to the extreme and then abate.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      SJWs didn’t prompt this. Not sure why our B&B has such a hard time understanding that societal norms change. We are talking about a board of rich white men- the furthest thing from SJWs- coming to this decision with zero pressure on social media (since F1 doesn’t have any) or any outside groups. You have been all over this comment thread and it seems you are afraid of things moving in directions you don’t understand, so you have to blame imaginary SJW boogeymen. SAD!

      • 0 avatar
        St.George

        Is this really due to societal norms? All I see from this is that some fun opportunities have gone away from some women who wanted to do this. I thought that women now in society can do what they want, not just some sort of career acceptable to those in the ‘outrage industry’. Let the teams decide whether having promo girls on the grid fits in with their ethos & values.

        I think that grid girls are pretty tame anyway, every day we get the Kardashians (& others) flaunting their a**es, Instagram ‘celebrities’ baring more and more flesh, entertainers wearing basically nothing and there’s some sort of faux outrage about motorsport grid girls?

        All I can put it down to is that society is too comfortable nowadays, there can’t be any real problems for people to focus on.

        • 0 avatar

          “All I can put it down to is that society is too comfortable nowadays, there can’t be any real problems for people to focus on.”

          Been saying this for a while. When a society has too few real problems it starts focusing on the little things and loses sight of the bigger picture. Generally it’s the start of the downfall of said society.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    I was clearly born out of time.

  • avatar

    “There is a catch, though: all youngsters must be participants in a karting or junior racing league.”

    Translation – their parents need to be dropping ~$25,000/year on their racing hobby to qualify.

    Source – Am parent. Both kids race. No I don’t drop that kind of money on the little monsters annually, but plenty of parents do.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Liberalism: Let’s find a cure.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Teach and encourage critical thinking. Not any one answer is always the only answer, but it is the emergence of vicious group think which provides for the sort of statist behavior embraced by the communists. They are a death cult and have left tens of millions of deaths in their wake.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The Founding Fathers, Lincoln and Jesus were all liberals/progressives.

      And besides, it’s been the “family values” right that has been more at the forefront of campaigning against titillation.

      • 0 avatar
        Sub-600

        None of the Founding Fathers signed the “Declaration of Dependence”. Lincoln never said “With malice toward none, except those who disagree with my agenda.” Jesus recommended teaching a man to fish, not giving him a voucher for a free fish.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          The fish parable didn’t come from the Bible, let alone Jesus, who generally didn’t opine much about the social welfare policy of the state.

          Jesus did, however, recommend that the rich man sell all his possessions and give to the poor, but much equivocation has made by wealthy Christian conservatives on that one. For obvious reasons.

          The parable of the talents is also a literal endorsement of investment returns. All this would be known if the liberals hadn’t removed from canon the verses describing Christ’s capitalist streak and love of eyeing grid girls. He rose again to avoid the Death Tax on his estate.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            “…He rose again to avoid the Death Tax on his estate.”

            This made me laugh out loud. It also gives a tidy answer to the question about the estate tax, “What would Jesus do?”

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          “… voucher for a free fish.”

          Well, vouchers are needed because the waters are pretty polluted… swampy even.

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