No more grid girls in F1


After decades of using girls on the grid to mark the starting position of the drivers, the FIA has announced the custom will be scrapped to align with society’s modern views on the role of women in Motorsport in the post-Weinstein, #metoo era.

After a debate around the role of grid girls late last year, alternatives like local drivers or children were met with mixed reactions throughout the paddock.

However, with a revamped visual identity after launching a new logo, the sport is now looking to take a more progressive stance on the role of women in the paddock. 

A statement made on the  Formula 1 website confirms the new vision for the grid:

“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.”

Despite motorsport being one of the few professions that presents an almost completely level playing field, women have struggled to break through into the top tier. 

Although an all-female competition has been proposed, many feel it draws a line in the sand between the genders that reinforces the misguided notion that F1 is, and should remain, an exclusively male domain.

Support races on F1 weekends will follow suit by banning grid girls, refocusing viewers attention to the talented women working across the diversity of roles up and down the rest of the paddock.

If this is a sign of things to come in Formula One, the future is bright indeed.

Behind the scenes of Monisha Kaltenborn's exit from Sauber

Sauber drivers Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein have commented on their Team Principle stepping down, shedding light on the inner workings of the team.

While it can't exactly be considered a shock, the dust is settling on Monisha Kaltenborn's announcement that she's stepping down as Team Principle of Sauber and the situation at Sauber is becoming clearer.

Wehrlein, it seems, was informed by Kaltenborn herself:

“I spoke to her on Tuesday evening when she called me,” explained Wehrlein. “I was obviously very surprised about it when she told me about what would happen. Coming to here obviously everyone is asking those questions and it feels different.”

Wehrlein indicated he had some understanding of the reasons by Kaltenborn’s dismissal, which came about so quickly the team has not yet appointed a replacement.

“I didn’t ask her for the perfect explanation because she doesn’t have to tell me the explanation,” he said. “She told me what will happen and what’s happening.”

Wehrlein has also praised Kaltenborn for standing by him throughout his injury at the start of the season, and ensuring he returned to the seat when he was ready.

Ericsson had, it seems, been informed not by Kaltenborn but the team owners about her departure. 

“It’s nothing I’m involved with so I don’t know what’s been behind it,” he added. “For me it’s just the last couple of days I knew about it.”

Simulaneously, Sauber has been dousing the rumors that the team is helping Ericsson over Wehrlein.

“The owners and board of Sauber Motorsport AG take strong exception to speculative and widespread media reports today that our race drivers have not been, and are not being, treated equally,” it said.

“This is not only patently untrue, it would be contrary to the team’s absolute and longstanding commitment to fair competition.”

“These reports, attributed to anonymous ‘sources’, are highly detrimental to both Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein as well as to the management and all staff of the Sauber F1 team.”

Sauber are currently sitting in 9th place on the constructors' table ahead of McLaren thanks for Wehrlein's 8th place finish in Spain, while Ericsson remains pointless.

To suggest they are favouring Ericsson over Wehrlein would suggest their ability to "aid" one driver over another is in a pretty sorry state. 


Nico Rosberg clinches the title for 2016

Nico Rosberg claimed the podium result he needed to secure the world championship over teammate Lewis Hamilton. In a thrilling conclusion to the year Hamilton disobeyed orders from the team to speed up after he decided to back Rosberg into the traffic of Sebastian Vettel behind, ultimately reliability cost Hamilton the advantage heading in to the final race.

Realistically the Merecedes advantage was always going to make a Rosberg championship a reality if his car remained reliable.

After making contact with a Force India and spinning early in the race, Max Verstappen ran long in the first stint and looked like he was going to slow down Nico as much as possible. When Rosberg turned the wick up and passed Verstappen his trouble were not yet over. Sebastian Vettel running a contra strategy was aiming to finish the race on fresher tyres and the German cut through the field like hot butter and thanks to Hamilton's pedestrian lap times was pressuring Rosberg for the final laps.

Even if Vettel could get past Rosberg, the title would still have gone to Nico but the risk of contact, and with Verstappen only a few seconds down the road, it was a tense run to the line for the top three.

34 years after his father Keke Rosberg won the championship, Nico has overcome the doubters and joined an elite list of drivers to have achieved the ultimate prize in the sport. With Jenson Button retiring at this race the number of former world champions will remain at five with Rosberg joining Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso and Raikkonen.

Nico Rosberg victorious in Italy as Hamilton fails to launch

Despite taking pole, Lewis Hamilton had a shocking start to the Italian Grand Prix, handing Nico Rosberg (and several opponents) track position into the first corner. Rosberg was untroubled in his run to the flag, and Hamilton easily dispensed with Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas until strategy got him past the Ferraris and into P2.

Heading to Singapore after the "European Season", Rosberg has closed the gap to just 2 points arresting momentum from Hamilton at the stage of the season that has traditionally been his strongest. 

In a race devoid of highlights Daniel Ricciardo pulled off the overtake of the season, wrestling the adjective "Verstappen-esque" back from his teammate to take Bottas into turn 1 under breaking. 

The passionate Italian crowd voiced their displeasure at seeing the Mercedes drivers on top of the podium, but the sight of Vettel on the third step gave them someone to cheer about. Red Bull still seem to have an advantage over Ferrari, which will be tested heading into the high-downforce tracks.

Lewis Hamilton blistering in Monza

Lewis Hamilton claimed an easy pole at one of his favourite tracks ahead of Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.

Both Mercedes advanced through Q2 on Soft tyres, setting them up for a lengthy opening stint and given their pace advantage should be untroubled in the race tomorrow.

In his final qualifying session in Monza, Felipe Massa failed to make it into the top 10 and will hope that his free choice of tyre will gain him a few positions on Sunday. Teammate Valtteri Bottas crossed the line 0.001 sec ahead of Daniel Ricciardo who once again out-qualified the sister Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

Esteban Gutierrez earned the highest qualifying position for Haas F1 advancing into Q3 for the first time.