The discussion of grid girls continues this week with a report from Tom Cary over at the Telegraph in which F1 boss Chase Carey says there will still be pretty girls in F1.
“I think the reaction [to the scrapping of grid girls] has been what we expected,” Carey said. “We’ve had some people who have been positive about it and others who were concerned. Unsurprisingly, many long-term fans view it as part of the sport they grew up with and I respect that.
“Actually if you just left it up to me, personally, I like the grid girls. But it’s not a decision for me, it’s a decision for fans. And I think what we found is that a number of people anecdotally raised the issue, and as I went around what I found was there was a meaningful segment that found it … I don’t know whether offensive is too strong – but found it exploitative or did not find it appropriate for the world we live in today.”
“I recognise that many of the grid girls were proud to do it and I think that’s great, and again, if you left it to me, I liked it,” he said. “But I think when you have as many people as I found who really felt it was outdated and who felt it didn’t belong in the sport today, you have to be cognisant of that. The number that were passionately positive on the other side were much smaller.”
“We’re going to maintain glamour,” he said. “We’re going to continue to have pretty girls at races. I think it’s a part of life, and it’s a part of what makes our sport special. It is a sport of glamour and of mystique. But I think you have to continue to evolve. In today’s world there are obviously different sensitivities to 10-12 years ago. I don’t think you can just be stubborn.”
It’s an interesting decision matrix to be sure. One could argue squeaky wheel management? Those who complain loudest are those who get to determine the direction of the sport? I’m not arguing that those who were against grid girls do or don’t have a good point, what I am more interested in is that Chase seems to suggest that it’s a numbers game based upon fans likes and dislikes as voiced the loudest.
I’m not sure how many fans he “found” and how many he spoke with or polled but let’s hope he wasn’t merely reading Twitter timelines, that’s not the best metric in which to measure.
It brings me to another point about the loud voices who disagree with a direction F1 is heading or currently in. If Chase was overwhelmed by anti-grid girl fans and he used social media or other ways to get that feedback, I would be stunned if he didn’t immediately change the hybrid engine and DRS due to the cacophony of fans sharing their dislike of both.
It is also interesting, for me at least, to see people like Chase and Susie Wolff say, they didn’t bother me-and in the case of Chase, I liked them, but you know, the decision is out of my hands…it’s the decision the fans made. So it was an invisible specter of fan ire and societal norms making the decision for them? Out of their control? We can now blame fans and not F1 management? In short, the fans can simply blame and burn each other on this and simple leave F1 out of it? Got it.
The fans have been saying a lot of things for years about F1 with regards to competitiveness, excitement, lower ticket prices, better TV coverage, HALO, DRS, hybrids, engine sound, tire suppliers, negative aerodynamic impact on the sport and more. With all of the continuous fan feedback in about every corner you care to look, grid girls were the one critical element that was chosen as a must-change?
I find that a bit difficult to understand if I’m honest. Let’s give some deference here though, I guess you have to start somewhere and why not go right to alluring, pretty girls? It has the least chance of getting a strong rebuke and threat to leave the sport from Manufacturers.
Hat Tip: Telegraph