Grid Girls to be banned from F1 – are the Devilettes at Risk ?

The much loved and appreciated Grid Girl in our sport, including our very own Bikeanimalettes and more recently Bikedevilettes, are facing a ban from the tracks of all UK Motorcycling

There’s bad news afoot for fans of grid girls. Formula 1 has announced they will no longer use grid girls from the the start of the 2018 World Championship season, which begins 25th March.

Sean Bratches, managing director of commercial operations, said the change would be mde “so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport”.

‘Grid girls’ are models used to conduct certain promotional tasks and usually wear clothing that bears the name of a sponsor.

Their duties in F1 included holding umbrellas or driver name-boards on the grid and lining the corridor through which the drivers walk on their way to the podium.

Their use has become the subject of debate as social attitudes have changed, and some races have begun to experiment with alternatives, such as using male models instead of female, or children as mascots.

The first race of the season is the Australian Grand Prix takes place in Melbourne on 25th March.

The decision behind the continued use of female promotional models was “under review” in December, according to comments made by F1 managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn on BBC Radio 5 live.

“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,” Bratches said.

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

So could this decision affect the sport of motorcycle racing as well? Quite possibly.

Stuart Pringle, managing director of British circuit Silverstone, said: “We wholeheartedly support the decision by F1 to drop the use of grid girls – it is an outdated practice that no longer has a place in sport.”

Last week, the Professional Darts Corporation confirmed walk-on girls were no longer going to be used at events.

Soon after, the Women’s Sport Trust tweeted: “We applaud the Professional Darts Corporation moving with the times and deciding to no longer use walk-on-girls. Motor racing, boxing and cycling… your move.”

Bike Devil’s friends at Bike World have contacted Series and Race Director of the British Superbike Championship, Stuart Higgs for comment.