After announcing last week the demise of the “grid girls” who graced the paddock in the lead-up to Formula One races, organisers unveiled a new initiative to involve children instead.
World governing body the FIA said the move – using “Grid Kids” already involved in motor racing – would make the pre-race ceremony more relevant for fans.
“Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motor sport and the dream of every young racer competing [in] the junior series . . . from karting all the way to F1,” FIA president Jean Todt said on the organisation’s website.
“We are therefore delighted to bring that dream a little closer by giving the future champions of our sport the opportunity to stand alongside their heroes on the grid in the build-up to the race start.”
Liberty Media has owned the rights to Formula One since January 2016 and says it is trying to reinvent the sport to make it more widely attractive.
“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,” F1 commercial director Sean Bratches said last week.