The latest story out of Formula One is the news that ‘Grid girls’
will no longer be used, come the 2018 season. The Managing Director of
Commercial Operations within the sport, Sean Bratches, said in a statement that
the decision had been made “so as to be more in tune with our vision for this
great sport”. This follows Ross Brawn, F1’s Managing Director of Motorsports,
stating that the use of female promotional models was “under review” back in
“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 out brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal
norms.” Added Bratches.
Fortunately, most people saw this move as positive, with plenty
of messages of support posted all over social media. However, there was of
course also a very vocal group who were adamantly against the removal of ‘grid
girls’. The main argument this group made was that the decision took away
employment opportunities for young women who enjoy modelling and want to do so
at these events.
The issue with this argument, is that it completely misses
the point as to why grid girls have been dropped. Nobody is denying that these women
want to model at races. It’s a great modelling job and has a proven track
record of launching careers with the likes of Kelly Brook starting out as an F1
‘grid girl’. Perks like travelling to exotic locations only sweeten the deal.
So the inevitable has happened, F1 gridgirls 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 😡 #Gridgirls— Rebecca Cooper (@rebeccageldard) January 31, 2018
So the inevitable has happened, F1 gridgirls 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 😡 #Gridgirls
The point being made with this decision is that the job
itself should not exist. A serious sport really shouldn’t begin with 20 women wearing
incredibly revealing, incredibly sexualised clothes being flaunted out onto the
track for all to gawk at. They are not necessary in any sense, given how
recognisable each team and driver on the grid is and advancements in on screen
graphics. There is no need for somebody to stand with a sign to tell everyone
watching which car is which. What you are left with then, is a tradition of taking
a break before races start to salivate over promiscuously dressed women.
The other issue with ‘grid girls’ is that they go against
all of Liberty Media’s efforts to modernise Formula One, particularly with
public perception of the sport as being male dominated. Having ‘grid girls’ often
times delegitimises women in the sport to onlookers.
A conversation I once had with a taxi driver:Him: “What are you doing tonight?”Me: “Meeting friends from work.” Him: “What do you do?”Me: “I work in F1.”Him: “Ooo. Are you one of those girls that holds the flag at the start?!” Me: “No.”Him: “Oh. Well what do you do then?”— Helen Crossley (@helencrossley) January 31, 2018
A conversation I once had with a taxi driver:Him: “What are you doing tonight?”Me: “Meeting friends from work.” Him: “What do you do?”Me: “I work in F1.”Him: “Ooo. Are you one of those girls that holds the flag at the start?!” Me: “No.”Him: “Oh. Well what do you do then?”
The decision to drop the use of ‘grid girls’ follows other
efforts made by F1 bosses to bring the sport into the 21st century. Loosening
social media rules for teams and drivers, as well as fans at races was one of
the first big changes made Liberty. Another came when the sport announced there
are plans to launch a free online streaming service for races, bringing an end
to exclusive TV rights held by companies like Sky Sports. This allows all fans
to watch for free, rather than having to pay to watch.
The 2018 F1 season kicks off on March 25th in Australia.
It will be the first season with the ‘halo’ head protection device fitted to
all cars, something that has been included in other series like Formula E’s ‘Gen2’
cars. The season will see Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton battle it out for
their 5th World Championship respectively – the first time in F1 history
two 4 time champions have raced on track together.
Isaac is one of our lead writers for FullThrottle, and has a lot of passion for racing games and real-world motorsports.
He’s also a competitive online racer in organized league events, and you can expect plenty of coverage from on real-world motorsport, racing games, and eSports.