TPF Podcast #561- F1’s Social Normative Grid

Join Grace and me for this podcast as we discuss Grid Girls, Grid Kids, the #GridGate and even find time to discuss Toto Wolff’s view on other things and we read your question in our Mailbag section.

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Next week F1 will announce that it’s a cost-saving move. Instead of paying models, the kids will hold the signs for free. What? Are you against cost-saving?

sunny stivala

“cost saving, instead of paying models, which have been part of F1 since the 80’s, the kids will hold the sign for free” and if they will be Accompanied by their mom’s or if an attractive lady finds her way on the grid Sean B will be there to chase them off. joking apart, it makes you wonder what Sean B is going to do now about the Atlanta braves baseball team girls who wear demure things than F1 grid girls?. could be it would have been batter to keep the kids away from the new F1 clergymen!. This might… Read more »


Hi, Let me just preface this comment with a couple of things. I’m a relative newcomer to this community, having started listening at the top of last season, and I massively appreciate the level of thought and discussion that you and the guys put into the show, weekly, for free – its a great show, with real insight and passion, and that’s why it has become a fixture in my podcast listening schedule. Secondly, I also understand that its an impossibility that I could agree with every opinion you guys put forward in the podcast, and that, to a degree… Read more »


A very long and well thought out reply, and yes, I agree that there are things here that are far beyond the scope of Formula 1 and head into wider questions of society and culture. And I also agree that there are probably some pretty negative impact on the individual people who will now find themselves out of jobs – these things are never clear cut sadly. Thanks for taking to time to read the comments and for responding so well – indeed it is refreshing that we can be having a conversation like this that doesn’t descend into mud-slinging… Read more »


ScootJustScoot. With respect, you don’t need to virtue signal for the first couple of paragraphs before taking sides in any topic. And if you need to take a time out or need a trigger warning before hearing an opinion of which you do not agree; may I humbly suggest that you consider each podcast’s intro a suitable opportunity and notice to do so. Controversial topics will always garner strong opinions. Literally everyone who participates in this forum has heard, seen, or read an opinion that someone else disagrees with. The hallmark of the highly respected and interactive community that NC… Read more »


This controversy is not so much about equal opportunity for women, as it is about promoting each nation’s identity. As Formula 1 race events take place in multiple locations throughout the world, they offer a unique opportunity for each country to present something of themself to the globe. I’ve long thought that hosting nations should do away with showcasing their most beautiful women. Rather, each country should brag about their unique military might by having soldiers in military fatigues holding machine guns standing in front of each car as they line up at the start, as well as poised at… Read more »


Well Played


Awesome work peeps!!! Keepin’ the off season real again.

Matt Guss

Good discussion on the podcast on a subject that I am sick of. Grid girls, no grid girls: obviously thats not why I watch F1. But yeah, I enjoy eye candy and the girls add something nice to the whole show. Like you said Todd, its OK if someone wants to be a model. What’s not OK is deciding for people what they should or should not aspire to. Its wrong to think you know what’s best for people. There’s a whole lot of that going on these days. For example compelling hundreds of thousands of kids to go to… Read more »


I realise that this is an F1 podcast, but I thought that Grace’s point about her constantly having to fight people’s preconceptions was really well made. As the son of a feminist hippy I’d hope that I didn’t have any bias based on gender. Yet I still remember the first time I heard the puzzle about the father and son being rushed to hospital and the surgeon said “I can’t work on that boy, he’s my son”. At the time I could not work it out because my mental image of a surgeon did not include women. Luckily I’ve grown… Read more »


Tee Hee! Thanks for giving my ‘what do you love about F1’ question as go. You did well Todd, quite a solid list of things you love. Grace on the other hand……crickets, followed by deflection, what she used to like, something about habit, and more diversion. I guess the question came out of the blue. Sorry Grace, its not nice of me to laugh, but you illustrated my point. You’re right, is great to moan and kvetch, but I’d love it if more of the things we love about F1 were the topics of posts and podcasts. There are so… Read more »

sunny stivala

“I’do love it if more of the things we love about F1 were the topics” JAKO, Thank you, this thing have been a sort of knot in my stomach of which I was hesitant to spill-out. How about some more effort on the technical side of things.


Hi Sunny, You have got such a great in depth knowledge of F1, and have been following it for a long time. It be great to see your list of what you love about F1.
I’m sure the technology would be a huge part of it, as it is with me.

sunny stivala

Anything of a technical nature will do for a start, there is so much goings on in that side of the sports alone.
Something different, after talking to you on the other page (but it looked like you were gone) about this weekend’s Kiwi Grand Prix, I was incredulous reading about a seventy six year old Kiwi Legand (Ken Smith) going to race again, also astonished reading that his last of his three wins was at age sixty two.


Here’s a great link Sunny,
It was posted on a page discussing the rumours of Bennetton having traction control in 1994. One of his posts explains that yes they did have a form of traction control, and why it was legal.

sunny stivala

Thanks for the link JAKO. About the back then Benetton traction control controversy, as you know, I lived that subject and so I was very much up-to-date on goings on, it was one of those things (trends – much in vogue at the time) an anti Schumacher anything pushed along by the mostly well known British F1 press, there/they (the British press) had no technical foot to stand on, they was really hurt and upset by Benetton/Schumacher combination using a less powerful engine and a less technically advanced chassis to the point of making Hill and Williams looks totally inapt,… Read more »


I was watching Kenny Smith race last weekend!! He won the two F5000 races on Saturday, at 76 years old. Against many much younger very quick drivers. I saw him in the pits between races, he looks his age out of the car, but not in it. He has won the NZ/Aussie F5000 revival series as recently as 2011, he’d have been 68! You’re right, he will be back in the NZ Grand Prix this year. It is raced in Toyota Racing Series cars (simlar to F3 cars) these days, and he’s still competitive with the young guns, 54 years… Read more »

sunny stivala

That Kiwi must be made of some really hard and special stuff, I can say this with some authority age wise. racing a single seater at that age? I assume it is real racing and not historic demonstration/racing, I don’t think, at least I never read or heard of it happening anywhere else.


Kenny Smith is an amazing fella. The Formula 5000 revival series is full on racing. Some amazing cars and drivers. The lap times of the F5000 cars are faster than they were in the 70’s. (Down to Tyres and engine tuning, though the circuits might be better surfaced too). And last year he gave Michael Lyons (European Historic F1 champion in a Hesketh 308) a heck of a race in the combined F5000/F1 race.
So its real hard racing, and Kenny is kicking arse at 76.
There is even a book about him ‘The Kenny Smith Scrapbook’.

sunny stivala

Not only an amazing fella, but a very special one-off at that. in car racing matters very little escapes me, but I have certainly never came across anybody having raced an open wheel single seater race car at that age.

The Captain

I agree with Grace. But…First off is anyone else getting the feeling Liberty Media is really bad at the media? To the point. I just don’t understand what the uproar here is. Are we actually having a stealth “sexism in F1 is Ok’ conversation? Oh no of course not, ok then. Where male models allowed?…. Anyone…. No.. oh ok, then the whole thing was sexist. Hell they where called grid “girls”. So either the whole thing goes or we all agree to throw out some hot male eye candy in F1. I mean no one is arguing FOR sexism in… Read more »


As I was listening to both of you discuss the timing and quality of the two press releases, and the ensuing social media feeding frenzy, it occurred to me that there was one very very positive thing that came out of all of this. It brought the whole conversation front and center. Whatever your feelings on the matter, it’s dialogue more than anything else that will change minds and this has got people talking. Sure some of it is deaf-eared shouting and vitriol, but a lot of it is cogent, thoughtful dialogue. It’s clear from reading the comments that we… Read more »


I think you found your first TPFism and new t-shirt slogan! #asktoto

love the podcast and a big thanks for reading and discussing my mailbag question a couple podcasts ago!


Here’s what happened with some of the Red Bull trophies