Formula 1 recently announced it would no longer have grid girls participating in F1 race events. The announcement was met with praise and support from a number of women groups, but also criticism from others that felt F1 was bowing to the “me too movement”.
The recent announcement that they will replace grid girls with grid kids will see those who aspire to be F1 drivers standing alongside drivers on the grid prior to the race getting underway. The selection process for “grid kids” will be based on a lottery style system or merit.
Formula 1 bosses have said that it will allow for the build-up before races to be enjoyable for younger fans and also allow for a greater experience for those who one day may become future drivers in the sports.
It is expected that the majority of races will feature grid kids, but that could change for some races and see the theme change. One thing is firm. However, the old practice of promotional models is a thing of the past.
Sean Bratches, F1 commercial chief explained F1’s decision saying,
“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 continued by adding,
“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.”
Jean Todt, president of Formula 1 added,
“Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motor sport and the dream of every young racer competing the junior series that make up the FIA’s single-seater pyramid, from karting all the way to F1. We are therefore delighted to bring that dream a little closer by giving the future champions of our sport the opportunity to stand alongside their heroes on the grid in the build-up to the race start.”
The use of younger mascots in football has been a common practice as the join players walking onto the pitch from the tunnel, and for those who watch the European Championship and World Cup, it is a well-received as a great way to promote the sport and get those younger fans more involved.
One of those critical of the cancellation of “grid girls” was former Formula 1’s Bernie Ecclestone. He did not support no longer having models joining the grid before the race. However, a recent poll on Sky Sports showed the decision was supported by 60% of those who answered the poll.
The upcoming F1 season is due to begin in Melbourne on the 25th of March, followed by Sakhir, Shanghai and Baku in April. The F1 circuit and those that follow it is the perfect time for fans of the sport to place mobile bets with F1 sportsbetting sites, and with recent changes to F1 rules, this year will be one to watch the progress of teams with smaller budgets.