Formula 1 to get rid of grid girls before grands prix in response to darts ban

F1 managing director Sean Bratches has announced that the use of grid girls 'does not resonate with our brand values', with the change being enforced ahead of the new season

Jack de Menezes
Wednesday 31 January 2018 14:27 GMT
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F1 will no longer use grid girls after bowing to pressure to ban the practice ahead of grand prixs
F1 will no longer use grid girls after bowing to pressure to ban the practice ahead of grand prixs (Getty)

Formula 1 has announced that it will no longer use grid girls as the practice of having scantily clad women standing in front of cars before grands prix “does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms”.

A statement issued by Formula 1 on Wednesday read: “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.

“Formula 1 considers the time spent by teams and drivers on the grid before a race as one of celebration, where guests and various performers can add to the glamour and spectacle of the Grand Prix, enabling promoters and partners to showcase their countries and products.”

The decision comes just days after the Professional Darts Corporation announced it will no longer use walk-on girls to accompany players on their way to the stage, although this has since been revealed as a ruling made by television broadcasters.

“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," said Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1.

"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.”

However, on Tuesday, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn – the man responsible for Anthony Joshua’s rise from Olympic gold medallist to heavyweight world champion – criticised the decision taken in darts and stressed that he will not be taking the same action with ring girls.

Grid girls will not be used in the 2018 F1 season (Getty)

“That (walk-on girls) was a broadcast decision, it is not a PDC decision. Ring card girls are very different,” said Hearn, whose father Barry is chairman of the PDC. “The ring card girls are actually doing a job which they’ve done for many, many years which is letting people know what round is coming up.

“Obviously that is in a glamorous way. The darts walk-on girls are essentially escorting the players to the stage and then getting off. They don’t really need to be there. That decision has been made in a changing world and by our broadcasters.

“Are we going to abolish ring card girls in boxing? No. They’re not seen on TV and also they are doing a job.

“It’s tradition in boxing. I’m 38 but maybe I’m just a little bit old school. Unless we get told otherwise by a broadcaster or by the British Boxing Board of Control then they will remain.”

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