Why Were F1 Grid Girls Banned? Will They Make A Much Sought Comeback?

Published 11/21/2022, 4:30 PM EST

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Formula 1 is a sport of glitz and glamor. The most prestigious form of motor racing showcases the pinnacle of engineering, speed, celebration, and style. And when we talk about style and glamor, grid girls were the first to come to mind before anything else, until they were banned at the start of the 2018 F1 season.

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Just as they are spotted in other sports, grid girls were a group of women present at the circuit for races and promotional events. They were tasked with displaying the driver’s numbers next to their cars, parading the pit lane, and indulging in other promotional activities.

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F1 grid girls were quite popular and for a long time in F1, they were an ardent part of the sport. However, they were banned from the sport at the start of the 2018 F1 season.

The statement from the official F1 report stated, “Formula 1 will end the long-standing practice of using walk-on grid girls, commencing with the start of the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season. These changes also apply to our other motorsports series that take place during the Grands Prix weekends.”

Why were the Grid Girls banned from F1?

As the grid girls were banned, Formula 1 management justified this as an act to make the sport equal for all. The move came a few years after Liberty Media, the group that owns and operates F1, came into power.

Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1, shared, “While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 Grand Prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.”

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

This decision certainly divided people, with some being in support of the long-lived tradition while others siding with F1’s Managing Director. People who supported the move applauded the decision as they believed that the grid girls were subjected to objectification.

However, people who did not like the idea of banning them believed that women were actively involved in the sport and made their livelihood. Regardless of whether people like the decision or not, it was taken long back and it still stays the same.

So, will the grid girls be back in F1?

As of now, there is no concrete news of the grid girls coming back to the sport. However, right after the ban, there were rumors that F1 might witness them in a few races, if not the whole season. This started with the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix, where the race organizers allowed grid girls despite the ban from F1.

About this, the President of the Automobile Club of Monaco, Michel Boeri, told a local newspaper, “We’ve had no problems with Liberty Media, except for the grid girl issue. They’ll be there, on the grid. They’re pretty, and the cameras will be on them once again.”

Soon after Monaco played their part, Russia followed suit in 2018.

What did the F1 drivers have to say about the whole fiasco?

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When the F1 drivers were asked if the concept of grid girls should come back, seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton stated, “I think women are the most beautiful thing in the world, so yeah.”

Then Ferrari driver, Sebastian Vettel, said, “I agree with Lewis. I like women. I think they look beautiful.”

Furthermore, Charles Leclerc also had his say. The Monegasque, who was with Alfa Romeo back then, stated, “Pretty much similar opinion to Seb [Sebastian Vettel], but I think it was quite positive to have girls on the grid.”

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WATCH THIS STORY: Formula 1 Drive to Survive Season 4 Review: Has the Latest Season Lived Up to the Fans’ Expectations?

As things stand, no report has come out that can solidify grid girls coming back to Formula 1. Whether the grid girls will be back to the sport or not, only organizers will get to decide. Until then, F1 moves on without grid girls.

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Written by:

Sabyasachi Biswas

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Sabyasachi Biswas is an F1 and NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. He has completed his Master's in Mass Communication and Journalism from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. Sabyasachi is an ardent Red Bull and Max Verstappen fan and has been following the sport for over a decade now.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh

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