F1 sporting director Ross Brawn has said that the sport may soon discontinue the practice of having F1 grid girls. F1’s owners, Liberty Media has put the use of scantily clad women on the grid under strong review. He said, “There’s a lot of people who respect the tradition and there’s people who feel that it has become a bit dated, so we’re addressing that.”
However, 20-year-old Red Bull driver, Max Verstappen had a different take on the matter. He said that the grid girls must stay. Renault driver, Nico Hulkenberg also added, “It would be a pity if they took the eye-jewellery from the grid. What will come next year instead? Halo? Oh dear.”
Earlier this year, 2017 F1 champion Lewis Hamilton admitted that he would like more girls in the paddock, when asked if he had any wishes for the new owners of F1. Grid girls have been part and parcel of F1 for a long time and they add to the glamour aspect of F1.
Not just F1, but most racing series there have always been grid girls. Be it Formula One, Formula E, DTM, Touring Cars, World Endurance Championship, MotoGP, World Superbike, the list goes on. But on the other side of the coin, there are matters on over-sexualization and objectification of women. Even in the case of say, MotoGP and WSBK, they usually have umbrella girls to accompany the riders on the grid. An exception was Ana Carrasco, who often had an umbrella boy with her.
But coming back to the subject of grid girls, Hulkenberg’s comments may be viewed as sexist as they could be seen as just eye candy for male F1 fans. Whether the practice will be done away with or whether it will remain in the sport, is a mystery. We may have to see what becomes of it in the future as traditionalists and modernists clash over the issue.