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.