Formula 1 will no longer have women on the grid holding signs in front of where cars are parked on the track before races.
The longstanding tradition was derided as sexist by many, especially in auto racing, the only major type of sport where women compete directly with men.
“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,” managing director for Formula 1 commercial operations Sean Bratches said in a statement.
“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.”
F1 grid girls have been a staple at events and typically dressed to reflect the country where the series was racing on a given weekend. And while there will be many traditionalists who decry the decision to stop using women as window dressing during race weekends, it’s a smart move by the sanctioning body. Blatant objectification is inappropriate and the decision to have or not have grid girls doesn’t affect the quality of racing in any fashion.
Formula 1’s decision to end the practice of grid girls comes a year after blatant objectification of women became the norm at NASCAR tracks. Once Monster started sponsoring the Cup Series in 2017, women in leather tops and pants — known as Monster girls — were a ubiquitous sight on pit road before races and after in victory lane. While F1’s move doesn’t have anything to do with NASCAR, the timing of getting rid of a practice NASCAR similarly re-adopted a year earlier is notable.
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