A Formula 1 ‘Grid Girl’ has criticised the decision to scrap the position, telling talkSPORT the sport’s bosses have undermined gender equality by doing so.
Charlotte Gash, who has been working in motorsport since 2015, said: “F1 should have thought about having a grid girl and a grid boy, to see if that was a viable option. There are plenty of girls now who are out of jobs in every country.”
Announcing the change of stance earlier, Sean Bratches, F1’s Managing Director of Commercial Operations said the custom of using grid girls ‘is at odds with modern day societal norms’.
While grid girls will no longer be used at the start of Formula 1 races in 2018, they will also be absent from the other motorsport series that take place during Grands Prix weekends.
Ms Gash said: “There are about 50 girls involved in each race. So you can see how many girls are now out of work.”
She added that in her time working in the sport she has never felt objectified.
“Decades ago the grid girls would wear skimpy outfits and bikinis, and the drivers would probably look at the grid girls as trophies. That attitude has completely gone. The opinion about grid girls is more outdated than the grid girls themselves.”
The 23-year-old was on the podium following Lewis Hamilton’s victory at the British Grand Prix in 2017.
“The experience I received at Silverstone was out of this world. It was something you could only dream of doing. Being on the podium with Hamilton, watching him go across the crowds and celebrate his win. It is something that I am never going to experience again.”
Last week the Professional Darts Corporation announced that walk-on girls will no longer be used.
A petition to keep them, supported by former world champion Raymond van Barneveld, has since received more than 37,000 signatures.
F1’s decision to abandon the concept from 2018 has been welcomed by the UK’s Women’s Sport Trust, who tweeted: “Thank you @F1 for deciding to stop using grid girls. Another sport making a clear choice about what they want to stand for.”
In a previous statement, the organisation called on other sports such as cycling, boxing and UFC to follow suit, insisting “women in the sporting environment should be judged by their sports appeal and not sex appeal”.
However, boxing promoter Eddie Hearn told talkSPORT his sport will not follow suit: “It is a different world we live in these days but…for us right now the ring card girls will be staying.”
Meanwhile, chairman of the PDC Barry Hearn also told the station that he has “no personal problems whatsoever” with walk-on girls in darts, explaining that demands from TV bosses have made him powerless to prevent the ban – FULL STORY HERE.