First grid girls, now F1 drops classic start times

Katrina Barker
February 6, 2018

A Formula E spokesperson ensured that the usage of grid girls in Hong Kong was "specifically requested" by the local promoter, adding: "This won't be the case in the future".

Typically, the grid girls in Formula One display team placards or stand with an umbrella that shields drivers waiting in their cars from the weather before the start of a Grand Prix. Ecclestone said, "These girls were part of the show. Formula E has stopped using Grid Girls previous year already and we just didn't feel the need to shout about it".

"While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula One 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".

When asked if she thought grid girls were viewed as sex objects, Hallam responded, "Not at all".

Among those who have lashed out at Formula One are Bernie Ecclestone, the 87-year-old chairman emeritus of the Formula One group who was replaced as the group's chief executive in January of 2017, and several "Grid Girls" themselves. On whether "scrapping the role is actually more damaging and more sexist" than if F1 had done nothing, Young said, "I do think scrapping the role is more damaging". If a company relies heavily on pretty women promoting them, then maybe they need to rethink their brand. "I am quite happy that these things are fading out". I hope that women will be encouraged to participate in Motorsport in all ways that suit their own individual choices. "So this is a decision against women".

"I didn't feel like it was objectifying women necessarily".

"I feel these decisions are made by women that would never have the confidence to do such a job, which also, believe it or not, requires a great personality", said Hallam, who appeared as a model on the BBC's first-ever episode of Top Gearin 2004.

Former Williams F1 test driver Susie Wolff told BBC Sport the deployment of grid girls did not offend her, and that F1 had more pertinent issues regarding the involvement of women in the sport.

Instead of using grid girls, Formula E allowed kids to take up the role, hopefully inspiring the next generation.

F1's announcement on Wednesday that it will no longer continue the practice of promotional models holding signs on the grid has prompted a fierce debate on social media.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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