Mar 11th, 2018, 06:00 PM

Grid Girls: Eliminated or Elevated?

By Valeriia Serova
Image Credit: Instagram/ @EtihadAirways
Starting this season, beautiful girls on the grid are gone.

Remember: the trees were large and green, the land belonged to peasants, the factory to workers, and the start of each Formula One Grand-Prix to the beautiful girls standing near the cars and holding name-boards. Grid girls - it was them, and not the severe mechanics, who were the fuss of the races with their snow-white smiles, the glitter of their eyes, and the sleek movement of their bodies. But nothing is infinite, and everything must come to an end eventually.

The American company Liberty Media, which completed the acquisition of the 100% of the shares of F1 for $ 8 billion in January 2017, has begun to seriously modernize the way races are held.  The investors announced a radical change in the World Championship: from the season-2018, the so-called grid girls - who for several decades have been accompanying drivers on the starting grid announcing their names - will be banned.

Image Credit: Web/

The F1 promoters stated that the models are a relic of the past. Sean Bratches, Formula One's managing director of commercial operations, said that “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.”    

For the new owners of the F1, frightened by the Hollywood sex scandal and raising feminist fascism, the change was a necessity. Bernie Ecclestone, the founder of the championship, also ran into this problem and tried to solve the issue elegantly. In 2015, in response to the demands to release grid girls from oppression, he brought athletic young men in shorts and polo to the starting field in Monaco. To say that this caused bewilderment is an understatement. VIPs strolling before the start between the cars looked disappointed at the handsome men. The girls were asked to return - and to never leave.

While Racers, fans, and experts continue vigorously discuss grid girls’ ban, those who lost their favorite job do not remain silent. Michelle Westby, a longtime grid girl and now a professional race driver, responded on Facebook account to the main complaints about the work of grid girls, crushing the supporting arguments against the girls: "If it wasn't for grid work/promotional modeling, I wouldn't be where I am now in a 'male dominated' sport and job as a stunt driver and drift competition driver, inspiring and influencing females into this 'intimidating male environment.”

The grid girls: eliminated or elevated? This debate is definitely not over yet and will only be hitting up with each race. Meanwhile, it is clear that the latest events have made a huge contribution to such decision. Even the Harvey Weinstein case itself has evolved into the  #MeToo movement, which has seemingly brought momentum to change in this male-dominated world. Except this story is different; no one was sexually harassed, no one's life was threatened, and grid girls were happy to be there. Grid girls were always part of the championship because of their free will. Such "elimination" only proves that the new owners have deprived Formula One of its true values and “permanent” traditions. If Liberty Media feels like Grid Girls "do not resonate with their brand values" and "modern-day societal norms", maybe they don't belong in Formula One anymore.