Formula One Swaps Out 'Grid Girls' for 'Grid Kids'

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
formula one swaps out 8216 grid girls for 8216 grid kids

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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  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Feb 06, 2018

    "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.

  • Sub-600 Sub-600 on Feb 06, 2018

    Liberalism: Let’s find a cure.

    • See 5 previous
    • WheelMcCoy WheelMcCoy on Feb 06, 2018

      @30-mile fetch "...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?"

  • Lou_BC "Owners of affected Wrangles" Does a missing "r" cancel an extra stud?
  • Slavuta One can put a secret breaker that will disable the starter or spark plug supply. Even disabling headlights or all lights will bring more trouble to thieves than they wish for. With no brake lights, someone will hit from behind, they will leave fingerprints inside. Or if they steal at night, they will have to drive with no lights. Any of these things definitely will bring attention.I remember people removing rotor from under distributor cup.
  • Slavuta Government Motors + Government big tech + government + Federal police = fascist surveillance state. USSR surveillance pales...
  • Johnster Another quibble, this time about the contextualization of the Thunderbird and Cougar, and their relationship to the prestigious Continental Mark. (I know. It's confusing.) The Thunderbird/Mark IV platform introduced for the 1971 model year was apparently derived from the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform (also introduced for the 1971 model year), but should probably be considered different from it.As we all know, the Cougar shared its platform with the Ford Mustang up through the 1973 model year, moving to the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform for the 1974 model year. This platform was also shared with the failed Ford Gran Torino Elite, (introduced in February of 1974, the "Gran Torino" part of the name was dropped for the 1975 and 1976 model years).The Thunderbird/Mark series duo's separation occurred with the 1977 model year when the Thunderbird was downsized to share a platform with the LTD II/Cougar. The 1977 model year saw Mercury drop the "Montego" name and adopt the "Cougar" name for all of their mid-sized cars, including plain 2-doors, 4-doors and and 4-door station wagons. Meanwhile, the Cougar PLC was sold as the "Cougar XR-7." The Cougar wagon was dropped for the 1978 model year (arguably replaced by the new Zephyr wagon) while the (plain) 2-door and 4-door models remained in production for the 1978 and 1979 model years. It was a major prestige blow for the Thunderbird. Underneath, the Thunderbird and Cougar XR-7 for 1977 were warmed-over versions of the failed Ford Elite (1974-1976), while the Mark V was a warmed-over version of the previous Mark IV.
  • Stuart de Baker This is depressing, and I don't own one of these.