Formula One have decided to no longer employ ‘grid girls’ in the latest response to the growing row over sexism in sport.
In a move which mirrors the Professional Darts Corporation’s decision to end the long-established practice of women escorting male players to the stage, F1 will no longer use grid girls from this coming World Championship season.
The models have been a staple in the sport for decades, but bosses do not feel it is appropriate or relevant to keep them.
Their roles include holding up driver name-boards on the grid before the race, escorting players to the podium and posing with the winner.
But new F1 chiefs say they are ‘at odds with modern day societal norms’ and ‘does not resonate’ with their brand values.
“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,” Sean Bratches, managing director of Commercial Operations at Formula 1, said in a statement.
“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.”
The changes will also apply to other races which take place on Grand Prix weekends.
The 2018 F1 season begins with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 25.
The decision is likely to spark a strong reaction from F1 fans, after the call to axe walk-on girls from darts was met by outrage from the wider sporting community.
Within hours of the news of the ban, a petition to reverse the decision – championed by darts great Raymond van Barneveld – was signed by more than 30,000 people.
Meanwhile, PDC chairman Barry Hearn exclusively told talkSPORT that TV chiefs are to blame – FULL STORY HERE!