No more ‘grid girls’ in F1

While Formula 1 doesn’t seem to be poised to tell the fans in the US how we will be watching the series in 2018, they can tell us that when we do, there will be no more grid girls. F1 marketing chief, Sean Bratches said:

“Over the last year we have looked at a number of areas which we felt needed updating so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport,” he said.

“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 our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.

“We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

There you go. One side might argue the objectification of women and not a positive focus on female participation in motorsport while the other side might argue that it puts a lot of models and grid girl employees out of a job and lost income. There are entire companies built around the motorsport grid girl business.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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Does that also mean they will cut the crass and low-brow “Get ready to rumble…” BS we saw in Austin last year? I HOPE so.
Grid Girls (and boys a few times if you remember) are hardly relevant or worthy. T & A is passe. What is NOT passe are intelligent, presentable on-camera spokespeople – and many of the “models” are actually better than that, quite knowledgeable according to Eddie Jordan. Why not UP the game instead of simply axing them?


American political correctness is ruining Formula One.


Political Correctness is about saying one thing while believing another, e.g. being racist but pretending you’re not, so that you don’t ruin your political career. The thing someone is being PC about is almost always the better way to be. e.g. Not racist, not sexist, not bigoted, etc.

This is simply about getting rid of a pointless job that has lasted long after it was needed just because men like to look at pretty women.

Or are you saying that the objectification of women is perfectly acceptable behavior and we should stop pretending otherwise?


I agree with your sentiment, but your definition of “political correctness” is at odds with the general usage definition. Your definition would seem to apply to “hypocrisy,” another matter entirely.


I agree that the general usage definition is different. IMO (and it’s a pet-peeve, so please forgive the sermon) it’s just red herring that takes the focus off of the offensive behavior/language and substitutes it with an argument for freedom of speech.

As if the right to free speech was in some way protection from ridicule or scorn if said speech is deemed offensive, absurd or untrue (hint: it isn’t).

Ok, getting off my soapbox now.


Well stated post S&A.
Edward has a point about your definition of ‘political correctness’ being the definition of hypocrisy, but very often its hard to spot a difference.
A useful definition i came across for ‘political correctness’ is that it is about avoiding causing unnecessary offence. That definition seems like a pretty laudable aim to me.


I’m old enough to remember the phrase being coined and I assure you it was all about hypocrisy. “oh, he’s just being politically correct, he doesn’t actually believe in <insert-socially-progressive-viewpoint-here>”


Fair enough S&A.
But, i think you’ll agree, the bottom line remains, the term ‘political correctness’ is mostly used as a pejorative, to shift the discussion from the opinion, to the motivation of the person giving the opinion.


Yes, I agree. And that shift drives me bonkers.


Do Liberty still own the Atlanta Braves? If so, unless Liberty want to appear hypocritical we must assume the Atlanta Braves cheerleaders will be disbanded immediately. I don’t necessarily disagree with the decision but consistency is important across all of Liberty’s holdings if they wish to appear credible.

sunny stivala

In December when Ross Brawn was the first to come out with “grid girls will go” a prompt BBC SPORTS poll in UK showed that over sixty percent were against F1 dropping grid girls.

The Captain

Grid dogs!


That’s a bit harsh, most of them were really pretty ;-)

sunny stivala

Political correctness gone mad!. It’s a regrettable break with fundamentally harmless tradition and an avoidable diminution of the sport’s so called “glamour”. The commercial rights holders sporting operations managing director has actually beaten the commercial operations managing director in his field of operations over his intended axe of grid girls by at least 30 days when he back then came along and behaved like Moses reading the ten commandment announced that grid girls have to go and how the engines and chassis should be and then with his Boss, the former ex-Rupert Murdoch lieutenant coming out and saying “it was… Read more »


There is enough research into the psychological effects of objectification to seriously question your opinion that this tradition is “fundamentally harmless”. I respectfully suggest you re-examine your own assumptions on the matter.

sunny stivala

LM are going to try to maximize their profits (somebody calculates that 420 women lost a decent wage for one weekend of the year) and we’re definitely not going to agree with all the changes they intend to make in trying to do so, I would probably understand it if they said they stopped them so F1 could save money. Were the fans consulted? Or is this simply another example of LM making an executive decision and deciding what we enjoy best on our behalf. They’re obviously perfectly entitled to do whatever they like, it just seems odd when they… Read more »

Mike Steck

Interesting convo. From the perspective of a fashion and model photographer, I know that many of these women and models earn a living from International exposure to further their careers and portfolio opportunities. What is fascinating is that ‘PC thought’ in this regard is about leveling all things to the point that the differences between male and female are non-existent. This is, of course, absurd. Female models will always have more opportunities given the nature of who they are, and if a model chooses a career path of a well-paid fashion model, then the platforms of visibility are not those… Read more »


Long overdue. Why? Well as they say, ‘if you have to ask, …’.


I’ll watch the racing either way, grid girls or not. This is a storm in a teacup that has outlived its time.


Good comment SubC. Sky TV and others pretty much avoid showing the grid girls other than in panning shots, so its not like much is going to change for TV viewers.

sunny stivala

JAKO, been waiting for you to come over cause I need ask a question, someone I know was telling me that last year the flag they had for Brendon Hartley was the Aussie flag and not the Kiwi flag. have you noticed it?.


Hi Sunny, as far as I know that only happened on the Sky coverage of FP1 of COTA. The egregious error was very quickly brought to Sky’s attention by lots of kiwi fans, and corrected. That didn’t stop it making the TV news, “Sky insults kiwi F1 debutant, government considers military action” (well perhaps not quite that extreme but it was commented on.

sunny stivala

I myself didn’t know or notice it, so what I have been told was correct.

sunny stivala

It looks more like there want be one single thing that LB will left unchanged.


Except the historic team payments…..

sunny stivala

Not only historic team payments.
In 2016 the F1 revenue had increased by 5.8% to STG 1.3BN, the last 9 months of 2017 (end of September) showed operating loss of STG 50M, this resulted in a prize money drop to teams of 5.9%.


Would that drop be spread evenly, or are the ‘special payments’ protected?

sunny stivala

No that drop will not be spread evenly.
Force India is said to be in real financial difficulty to the extant that team members bonuses are not being paid.


Well that sucks! Coming from a knuckle dragging Neanderthal……


I am wholly in favour, it seems a bit hypocritical that the only way for a woman to get on the grid is by this method.

I think the best thing they could do is run a competition for kids/youngsters in each country to do the job. If you asked me from ages 6-31(I am 31) it would have been absolutely incredible and something i would remember the rest of you life.


Why put an age limit on it? That just gets us out of sexism and into agism.
Let the teams run competitions open to all fans, the winner gets to ‘don the lycra’.

Schumie Toronto

Your wish just came true!


Good call by Liberty Media, IMO. I hope this also applies to the line of applauding girls on the way to the cool-down room. The sport needs to set a different example for young girls thinking about going into racing, and this is a good step. I get the need to mark the grid positions – not for the drivers (the only time they drive to their grid spot under their own power and unassisted, the grid has already been emptied), but for the audience. If the local motor racing/karting clubs have some junior drivers, invite them to hold the… Read more »


I’m curious, can the teams themselves hire the grid girls?

Racing Statistics

It will take some time to get used to it. Then again, we know the ‘grid kids’ from soccer too. There it works very well. Those kids are incredibly happy to be part of the circus :).