Formula One to review use of 'grid girls' after pressure from critics


Grid Girls prior to the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia.

They've been a feature of motor racing since the sixties – "grid girls", officially known as promotional models and tasked with holding up the grid numbers of each car before the race

But critics say that the tradition is outdated, sexist, and demeaning to women – leading F1's managing director of motorsports, Ross Brawn, to put the delicate topic "under strong review".

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"We're trying to respect all parties," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "There's a lot of people who respect the tradition of the grid girls and there's people who feel that it has become a bit dated, so we're addressing that."

Silverstone boss Stuart Pringle is in the latter camp. "Lycra can stay in the 1970s and 80s for me, I don't want any of that tarty nonsense," he said.

"Our fans and spectators and customers come to Silverstone and think that because it's happening at Silverstone, it must be Silverstone's decision and they think quite a lot of it is down to us, when remarkably little is.

"There is a perception that this is Silverstone's view, but actually we think it's an egalitarian world. I don't want my daughter growing up thinking that lycra is what she ought to aspire to."

Grid girls have been dropped from other motorsport events before now. The World Endurance Championship stopped the tradition in 2015, with Australian V8 Supercars following in 2016.

Grid girls were replaced by 'Grid guys' at the Monaco Grand Prix in 2015, but this was a one-off organised by local authorities.

Chase Carey, CEO of F1, doesn't think there's an easy solution. "Is it something from the past, or is it something distinct that should be part of the future?" he said. "I don't think it will be a personal decision for me.

"I may have a point of view but, when you have a sport, you are dealing with teams and a large eco-system and a large fanbase that is very passionate. There is never going to be a consensus, but a set of views."

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