Toyota, Silverstone, World Endurance Championship, 2014

Why F1 should adopt the WEC’s ban on grid girls


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It’s unfortunate to relate yet another way in which the World Endurance Championship has stolen a march on Formula One, but its recent decision to end the practice of having grid girls at its races is admirable, and one F1 should immediately adopt.

With its different engine technologies and lack of gimmickry, WEC has positioned itself as the true innovator in motor racing and successfully attracted manufacturers which might otherwise have gone grand prix racing as well as a few F1 drivers.

From a pure business point of view it’s not hard to see why those same manufacturers, who want to sell cars to women as well as men, would not want to be seen as demeaning half of their potential market by treating them as sex objects.

F1 may not have women dress as provocatively as other categories do but the columns of applauding women who greet the exclusively male drivers at the end of every race sends an unequivocal message about F1’s view of the roles of the two genders.

‘Why not have grid boys as well as grid girls?’ some have suggested. This idea has been tried before, at the European Grand Prix in Valencia, but failed to catch on. And yet the absurd anachronism of having girls do the same persists.

The practice embodies two damaging fallacies: that women exist only for the gratification of men, and that motor racing needs the allure of attractive women as part of its appeal.

The former is obviously wrong and as human beings we should all recognise and reject it. And as fans of motor racing we should also reject the latter: ‘sex sells’, but our sport should not stoop to that and does not need to. Few others have anything similar.

Unfortunately F1’s promoter does not think so, and urges team bosses to reserve spare grid access passes for “really glamorous ladies”. Therefore the FIA – regulator of F1 and the WEC – has to take the lead.

Its Women in Motorsport initiative, in which Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn and former international rally winner Michele Mouton are active members, is a good starting point. Part of its remit is to “strengthen the participation of women (as drivers, officials and managers) in motorsport” – not, you will note, as eye candy.

Is rejecting grid girls ‘political correctness’? Of course. And I see nothing wrong with that.

‘Political correctness’ is (according to the Oxford dictionary) “the avoidance of forms of expression or action that exclude, marginalise or insult certain racial, cultural or other groups”. Why should F1 want to marginalise women by giving the impression their function at a circuit is to serve as glorified umbrella-holders?

Consigning grid girls to the dustbin of history complements WEC’s status as a forward-looking sport. If F1 is serious about encouraging women to participate as competitors it should do the same.


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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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394 comments on “Why F1 should adopt the WEC’s ban on grid girls”

  1. Jonesracing82
    3rd April 2015, 12:12

    F1 has more serious issue’s than Grid Girls to sort out atm, top of the list is the gimmickry which is mentioned at the start of the article. not to mention the financial Crisis engulfing the sport which see’s the sport netting Huge profits for it’s investors yet there’s teams at the back of the grid barely treading water.

    1. I understand where you’re coming from but just because other things are ‘worse’ doesn’t mean you have to ignore everything else.

      If the FIA has time to come up with silly rules banning drivers from changing their helmet designs it can fix this.

      1. What do you mean by “fix this”?

        1. I think the article makes that clear…

          1. @keithcollantine

            the article assumes that grid girls need to be fixed.

            It may be, but the article hasn’t actually supported it’s position. It just assumes grid girls are turning off or offending women viewers, and preventing girls from wanting to become racing drivers.

            We could make a similar argument that Suzie Wolff and Carmen Jorda are doing more harm to the cause of women drivers – neither is at the level of F1 drivers. Men and women both can see that and it just looks like F1 is giving lip service to their calls of equality. Far better to pay a legitimate woman driver and stick her in a Manor and have her race.

            The problem is that in most places, F1 is seen as an upper middle class to rich person’s sport. When the German Grand Prix is canceled because they can’t get enough fans to fill the seats at the price they charge? That’s a problem.

            F1 is part spectacle, and people, men AND women, love spectacle and the grid girls add to that. There are cheerleaders and dancing girls in sports and all through out entertainment. Box has it’s ring girls, etc. There are beauty pageants around the world.

            What is really being suggested is that to equalize the balance between girls as spectacle and women as participants in the sport, we need to remove the girls so the 2 or 3 women in the sport will seem more prominent and it will “show” F1 being progressive. But the women won’t seem more prominent, and the problem will remain, but a bunch of people will pat themselves on the back for making the situation better and go on to some other superficial issue.

          2. @keithcollantine, I fully agree with your views. I’ve always wondered why we find provocatively dressed girls who serve as extras only in motor racing and not in most other mainline sports? And MotoGP and World Superbikes seem to be in greater danger than F1 in this regard. Grid girls are also offensive for people watching the race as families with their kids and grandparents around. I have faced this issue when I used to watch races with my parents.

            Loosely connected to this, I was extremely disappointed when Claire Williams (a woman herself) said that Susie Wolff was only a test driver and not a reserve driver. I had thought the both were the same, and in testing Susie had performed well enough to justify a drive. Then why didn’t Claire consider her to be a candidate to replace Bottas (if the need arose for the Malaysian GP). Instead they went out of the way to recruit Adrian Sutil. It doesn’t send a good message, I feel. Doesn’t this betray their unreasonable lack of confidence in the woman driver?

          3. @pt, I agree that it was a disappointment for Susie Wolff, and a lot of fans when Williams announced that they had picked up Sutil. I think, however, that what Williams did was justified, based on the idea that Sutil has experience, and if he is thrown into a high pressure situation towards the end of the year, where Williams needs points, he won’t have the added pressure of his first grand prix start. It was a disappointing, but sensible decision.

          4. What is worse in my opinion is when TV producers put a woman as a presenter who may happen to be very attractive but doesn’t know anything about F1/Motogp/WSBK. There are thankfully many good woman motorsport presenters on our TV. But there is also still plenty that aren’t there for their knowledge of the sport. Motorcycle racing sadly is the worse in this respect, especially BT sport. Sky did this initially also (can’t remember her name now but she only lasted a season).

            As for the grid girls it wouldn’t stop or make me watch a series. I’m in the camp of if they are happy to do it let them(grid girl) or let their teams hire them. If the teams don’t want them then fine don’t hire one. Each to their own.

          5. @keithcollantine

            Aww Keith, you just want to keep women out of F1, its so obvious…

            I think the grid girls should make a union GPGGA (Grand Prix Grid Girls’ Association) and fight for their rights!

          6. @Q85
            Don’t forget bbc had Jake Humphreys and sky have Simon something both knew/know little and care less about F1 other than the jolly. Doesn’t make them bad at their jobs or detract from their ability to make the show we watch entertaining.
            F1 us a grand spectacle, showcasing the best of the best. Teams of men and women showcasing their best efforts delivering 2 cars to the grid, putting on a spectacular show to their sponsors who allow them to go raceing, outdoing each other in hospitality with the best facilities, all staff and equipment dressed to impress/polished/gleaming, & to cap it all off the they have beautiful women presenting the beautiful machines the teams have worked so hard to build. I prefer to see the pretty girls but a smartly dressed male model presenting presenting the car would have the same effect. The number of women clapping the drivers to the podium room is pointless, maybe a lady leading the way and a guy taking the helmet and handing a drink and towel to the driver?
            I think the reason is valid but the delivery could be changed featuring a mix of men and women as garnish to the teams offerings.

          7. I know you think you’re being all PC and Liberal but it isn’t your decision to dictate how women choose to earn their money. Perhaps they like their jobs. It’s an attitude adopted by some men and those men are no different to the ones who say a women place is in the kitchen. Women are perfectly capable of making they’re own decisions about what ‘objectifies’ them without needing a pontificating man to speak on their behalf.

          8. @uan


            Sadly, I feel your comment will be overlooked by everyone including Keith.

          9. @uan How do we know if Wolff or the other women are at the level of the men? Have you seen their respective times on a comparable circuit in identical equipment? Probably not…nobody has. These token women are testing and development drivers. The stuff is never the same. This is the same argument as always.

          10. @uan Well constructed argument. You’re quite right; women are not stupid, grid girls included. If they take issue with their treatment, let them declare it. It’s not my place, nor should it be the place of someone else, to tell other people what to pursue as work. If the social tide turns against grid girls, they will disappear. If not, they shall remain. And I shall not really care either way.

          11. It’s not my place, nor should it be the place of someone else, to tell other people what to pursue as work. If the social tide turns against grid girls, they will disappear

            You do realise that the social tide is your opinion and that of others? You can’t say that society will decide, and then when the debate is brought up by society (that’s what’s happening here) say that it shouldn’t be forced.

          12. The article is one sided against the girls without any good arguments.

          13. @matt90 F1Fanatic is not society in itself, and we barely have any female members on this site. A group of men trying to feel progressive shouldn’t make decisions for a culture they are not a part of. That goes for this site and the FIA both.

            I’m not saying it shouldn’t be brought up for debate, but all sides must be represented. If it can be done properly, it should be discussed.

            Again, women are not stupid, grid girls included. Speaking for them isn’t progressive or politically correct; it’s closer to cultural appropriation.

          14. The FIA aren’t part of the culture? They effectively employ them! That’s pretty involved- and we see them on TV, so to say we can’t have an opinion either, partly because we aren’t women, is ridiculous even if it is fair to say that in this debate the voices of the women themselves (not limited to the grid girls, but including those viewers who might be put off by what they see to be misogyny) hold more sway. As F1 fans we are all involved as part of the ‘social tide’ you mention- in fact, the fact that heterosexual men are the target market makes a lot of our voices fairly important I would say.

      2. @keithcollantine They still have grid girls, they were underneath the podium wearing very short skirts holding up the 1, 2 and 3 boards, they just weren’t on the grid itself.

      3. Bradley Cooper
        27th July 2015, 16:02

        Keith, I would have to agree with the original comment that, like other sports, F1 has far more pressing issues at hand than the re-definition of dated gender roles. I would also disagree with your comment that no other sport objectifies attractive women for commercial gain: ever heard of cheerleaders?

        Bottom line, grid girls are becoming less important to the sport as our understanding of gender roles evolves (e.g. their absence from WEC). But they are gainfully employed women much like cheerleaders, Victoria’s Secret models and the ‘hostesses’ at major tennis tournaments. So for as long as they exist, we should probably respect their chosen function and not try to impose our feminist sympathies on them.

    2. Agreed. Pit babes is a very minor issue. Of course having them banned would be a good thing.

      1. You are right the financial crisis is the biggest problem in the F1 bubble. “Pit babes” is part of a global issue for gender equality wich is bigger than F1.

      2. I’m sorry, but this is part of racing and F1 culture. It shouldn’t be changed. The entire argument is ridiculous. If you don’t like grid girls then that’s fine, but this is absolutely a minority opinion.

        I want you people to visualize the podium ceremony without any of the girls.


        This has nothing to do with sexuality or objectification. Women are pretty. It adds to the show.

        What’s next, going to suggest to the Circque De Soleil that they make their performers wear “casual attire” because their uniforms are too sexually suggestive?

        What after that, do we attack ballerinas for wearing tights?

        This is the most shockingly absurd discussion I’ve ever seen in my life. Please, stop it now and may this entire ordeal begin and end with the WEC.

        1. Firstly, just because you disagree doesn’t mean that banning grid girls is a minority opinion. Where is your evidence? I would expect most people either don’t care or think it should be dropped though obviously I don’t have a survey to back this up. Maybe we can have a survey on F1F, what do you think Keith?

          Secondly, if the podium isn’t exciting to you because of the race you just watched, why do you watch F1? If it is for the grid girls, then I believe there are other websites that might interest you more…

          Thirdly, saying it has ‘nothing to do with sexuality or objectification’ then saying ‘women are pretty. It adds to the show’ is contradictory. This is the sexist problem!

          Watching F1 is about watching the racing. Having attractive women wearing revealing clothes is nothing to do with F1. Plenty of people think it is sexist, so I think it should be dropped.

        2. this is part of racing and F1 culture. It shouldn’t be changed.

          The same argument was used when the likes of Jackie Stewart pointed out it would be good if F1 could go a month without a driver being horribly killed.

          It was wrong for that then and it’s wrong for this now.

          1. did you seriously just try to relate people being killed to grid girls? disappointed.

          2. @avl0

            He equated the entirely stupid reaction against change. Because, it’s the same.

            The fact that it’s the same sort of backwards looking rubbish for both death and sexism should tell you something about the sorts making it.

          3. i think if it means people who exploit other people who take risks, then I would agree. I think if it means it’s wrong for people who choose freely to risk their own lives, then I would have to disagree.

            Political correctness is killing the small teams in F1, and I don’t see how it should be limiting the opportunities of women who want to advertise themselves. All WEC had to do is enforce some sort of dress code, and apply it to everyone at the circuit/stands. Then at least it wouldn’t seem so much like discrimination.

          4. Bloody hell Keith, what a load of utter PC nonsense gone mad!!!

            For a start, I suggest everyone who is calling for grid girls to be banned because it ‘objectifies’ women, go and do a little research about what Feminism actually is and how the feminist movement started.

            It was all about women deciding what they wanted to do and being able to do whatever they wanted to do without a man’s approval or permission. Being sexually suggestive and promiscuous is EXACTLY what the feminist movement was all about.

            Loud mouthed, do gooder PC men saying that women shouldn’t be doing this is EXACTLY what the feminist movement was trying to stop.

            Get a clue people! It’s 2015 – does anyone really think these women are doing this because they are forced to or because they have no self esteem? Give me a break!

            Sex DOES sell and these girls, and every decent salesman in the world, know’s it. It’s human nature so why not stop trying to be PC warriors and just get on with it and let other adult people do what they want!

        3. Podium ceremonies are BORING as crap now ! And will remain BORING as crap regardless of girls ,

          Girls on display are not part of or essential to racing . What a caveman attitude , racing is about cars / bikes / boats whatever but doing it fast ,

        4. “This has nothing to do with sexuality or objectification. Women are pretty.”

          That is exactly what sexualisation and objectification is. Women are only there to look pretty for the men.

          1. No, it is not. Women are pretty, ergo, that is all that needs to be said. That is the simplest, thruthiest explanation I can offer. Men like the way women look. Getting rid of grid girls will NOT make a male-dominated sport suddenly something women are interested in. Look how pathetic the grid is right now. 20 cars on a good day. There’s no room for women. There’s the “Feeder” series and there are some women there. There’s only so many spots available on an F1 team and surprise surprise, most of the people who get hired happen to be males with huge sponsorship packages.

            “Sexualization” and “objectification” are EVERYWHERE. It will never go away. Grid girls are no different than cheerleaders or even the attractive hostess at the local restaurant you like going to. Pay attention to 99% of the TV shows you probably watch and take a note of how many ugly people there are or even how the women look. Take note of how nearly any female “professional” looks stunningly attractive and then compare that to the situation at the office. You might even notice the same thing at your office because …surprise – pretty and attractive people get the jobs nearly 100% of the time. That’s an absurdity all by itself simply because I have to deal with the reality every day that the company I work for has intentionally hired or chosen pretty girls over much more competent, adequately qualified people. That right there is something that I think is worth fighting. Grid girls? not so much.

            But I shouldn’t go too far off topic here, this isn’t about tossing aside competent professionals for a pretty face, this is specifically about having pretty faces and I cannot fathom why that is a problem.

        5. Funny how you say it has nothing to do with objectification, then in the next two sentences go on to objectify women by saying that they “add to the show” simply by being pretty. There are many things in the world that are pretty. Maybe they should put some fine art behind the podium so that you have something to look at that will save you from your own boredom.

        6. Marvin Jones
          3rd April 2015, 18:25

          I will no longer watch or support the WEC because of this policy. There is nothing wrong with the concept and use of grid girls.

        7. If you don’t like grid girls then that’s fine, but this is absolutely a minority opinion.

          It’s hardly a minority opinion.

          This has nothing to do with sexuality or objectification. Women are pretty. It adds to the show.

          Women are pretty. it adds to the show? I think you’ve contradicted yourself.

          F1 should 100% follow suit

        8. This is so completely backwards I’m not even sure where to begin.

          That you can turn around from saying “This has nothing to do with sexuality or objectification” and immediately say, “Women are pretty. It adds to the show.” is truly incredible, and displays such a lack of awareness and thought it just made me laugh.

          As long as you are describing women as something that “adds to the show,” you are marginalizing them, sexualizing them, and dehumanizing them. You’re essentially saying they’re as functional as some tinsel on a tree. Pretty to look at, so why complain?

          How do you think that makes female fans, let alone female racers, feel? Like things, not people. And if you see no problem with that, you’re part of the problem.

          1. Don’t the drivers add to the show as well? Don’t the teams? If we take away Ferrari won’t the value of the show lessen? I don’t think that’s marginalizing them as just a thing.

            “How do you think that makes female fans, let alone female racers, feel? Like things, not people.”

            Isn’t that how everyone is treated in F1? If you perform, you’re a star. If you don’t. Bye bye. And don’t let the door hit you on the way out…
            Unless you bring big bags of money of course. Than you can stay on as long as you like.

            And it’s the same in the world outside F1. You really think your boss cares about you? No, he cares about whether you can get the job done he is paying you for. As soon as you can’t or as soon as you’re no longer needed, you’re out.

            Also, if this is such a pressing concern for aspiring female racers, then why haven’t we heard Wolff, Jorda or others talk about this?
            Claire Williams is a teamboss, surely she can make herself heard?

            Maybe, just maybe, there aren’t that many women aspiring to become racing drivers because there aren’t that many women who care about motorsports?

            A silly idea, I know.

      3. The fact that you called pit babed just took away so much from a pro grid girl argument

    3. Sean (@spaceman1861)
      3rd April 2015, 13:07

      It doesn’t matter if its a big or small issue its an issue with a simple solution.

    4. This may seem as a small thing to you but it also only takes someone at the fia 10 minutes of there time to draft and sign something that would solve this across all fia sanctioned events..

      1. It only takes 10min for bill Gates to sign me a check for $1000000000
        Doesnt mean its gonna happen.

        1. I +1 you sir, I multiple +1 you

    5. @jonesracing82 what do you mean more important issues than womens place in the world? The dull nuances of engine technology? Listen to what you’ve just said! You sound like you’re a teenager,am I right?

  2. 100% agree Keith, great points all.

    Do you think it’s equally damaging to the ‘women in F1’ cause for teams to hire women racing drivers like Carmen Jorda, who’s racing achievements can be listed on the back of a stamp? How is it that she’s more worthy of a development role than the likes of Alice Powell, who’s posted some really solid results?

    Also worth pointing out – Michele Mouton isn’t a World Rally Champion, her best finish was 2nd in the championship in 1982

    1. Silly of me – I meant to write ‘World Rally Championship round winner’ but it’s an annoyingly cumbersome phrase. Have revised it.

    2. @celicadion23

      Too bad Keith is afraid to answer your question.

      I definitely think women like Carmen Jorda are far more damaging to the female role in F1 than grid girls. What’s the first reaction people had when she was announced? Exactly, she’s just there because she’s a good looking girl. None of her past achievements are enough to even consider her as an F1 test driver. There are hundreds of drivers out there who are much more capable of taking on that role.
      F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport with the very best drivers competing with each other.
      In stead of Jorda a promising junior driver (female or male) could have been in that position. But unfortunately Lotus went for looks instead of talent.

  3. Things that are complementary to each other in nature can’t be treated as equal.

    1. @marciare-o-marcire I don’t agree that theoretical distinction applies on a practical level here. Can you explain how it should?

      1. Why the need to separate the theoretical from the practical? Practice is just the application of the theory, it is subordinate and inferior to the theory, not distinct from it. Why does the practice have to violate the rules of theory?

        1. In theory, theory and practice are almost completely the same. In practice, they are almost completely different.

          1. touché.

            @marciare-o-marcire, thing is, you failed to show how the theory of things being complemental can’t be treated as equal applies to motorsport, or F1

        2. @marciare-o-marcire This is the Aristotleian, Cartesian flaw, that somehow theory is superior to practice. Theory can be idealized, frequently beyond reason and justification, and to base ends. Practice must prove itself, day in and day out. Practice is where theory meets the REAL world, and either succeeds or fails in the real world. The real world is what IS. Practice can be improved by better theory, but practice is what IS. Theory without practice is just thoughts in a head.

  4. Agree with the sentiment but it would be good to retain the national culture aspect that most of not all countries use this for. Would be nice to see kids involved as a replacement like we have in football.
    I would be interested to hear a Texan reaction to grid girls as “show girls” really seem to be intrinsic to all their sporting spectacles and they seem to have a lot of fun!

    1. Would be nice to see kids involved as a replacement like we have in football.

      I absolutely agree with this.

      1. But how could Verstappen hold the brolly AND drive the car?

        1. Sean (@spaceman1861)
          3rd April 2015, 13:21


        2. Very good :-)

        3. @thedonz – you gave me a solid 30sec of laughter with that. Thanks!!

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        3rd April 2015, 22:02

        Would be nice to see kids involved as a replacement like we have in football.

        Problem here is that this will be banned in the future as well.
        In my country it is already (proposed to be) forbidden taking pictures of children on the beach, at school, and at sporting events. The reasons are clear (stop the few perverts) but I often wonder if we go too far and inconveniate (just made up a word here) many by trying to stop a few.

        PS – I agree with most of the article though; just struggle sometimes to find a pragmatic middle ground.

    2. yes, something like that Dave. It would be a nice tie in with promoting local motorsport if the top ranks in some national events would be allowed a chance on the grid, for example. Or just

    3. I absolutely agree, involving kids like they do at football matches plus men would be great, but banning grid girls sends out the wrong message, it’s just another politically driven decision, where there are enough politics already in F1, I regulary attend btcc races and I can honestly say grid girls are always seen by large groups of people, family’s, younger women and older women and I’ve never herd anyone complaining, it’s just part of the support, plus I must add I regulary attend rugby games and I find plenty of women commenting on how attactive the players are! Where the political correctness there? Women objectify men just as much, what we should be talking about is Bernies plans for a formula women series, which I think is a great idea

  5. I get the reasoning behind the ban and i do agree with it, but to be honest i don’t really get what the fuss is about. To me it’s just one of those non-issues where it makes no difference whether these girls are there on the grid or not…

  6. There is something very ill about Western society – and it is political correctness of the highest order. Racism, sexism, feminism, genderism, sexualism, atheism…they just feel completely wrong in the current guise and are being driven by people who have no job other than to seek offence in anything done by somebody else.

    Honestly Keith, I actually know INTELLIGENT people who have gone and auditioned to be grid girls at Sepang. These mind you are well-educated females who earn a decent living, but they still want to experience the thrill of being in all that glitz and glamour.

    There is no such thing as force here. Every single one of the grid girls are there on their own volition. We should respect that. I personally do not see them as eye candy, but if they add to the glitz and glamour, and are more than happy to be a part of it, why not?

    The one thing I can get behind is getting them dressed “decently” in a non-sexualized manner. Yes, this is something I can get behind. The rule of thumb should also be that the grid girls ought to wear the local traditional clothing, so that at least there is some heritage there. I think Austria did it well last year with their local costumes. Even Sepang has done it decently a few times with the Kebaya and Baju Kurung.

    To ask F1 to remove grid girls serves no purpose whatsoever to me. Some aspects can be improved to present them in a non-sexualized manner, but otherwise there is no harm in them being there. As long as females are prepared to be there knowing that it’s only to add glitz and glamour, well then so be it.

    1. Also, yes that column of girls standing to the drivers room at the end of the race has to be done away with. That is very primitive and as a guy myself, I am offended every time I see them clapping as the drivers walk in. I’m sure even the drivers these days are embarresed by that.

    2. no-one is stalking about force, or jobs, or no harm, its about how they promote a very stereotypical world view, men are heroes woman are decoration.

      If you don’t mind an old fashioned worldview fine thats your right, but don’t derail the discussion

    3. Himmat, what exactly do you think is their purpose in the grid? Glitz/Glamor is just another name for eye-candy.

      The show should be about F1 cars, drivers, teams etc. Not about showing women in objectifying manner.

      1. @evered7

        The show should be about F1 cars, drivers, teams etc.

        That’s really interesting. Perhaps we should ban rock stars and movie stars, etc from the grid as well? They’re just eye candy too.

        I also notice that the wives and girlfriends of drivers are pretty much glitz and glamour too. Have you seen Alonso’s gf? She’s hotter than the Saharan desert on a summer’s day at noon :)

        Anyway, if we do away with grid girls, we should do away with all of that other glamour/glitzy stuff :) . We should probably get rid of Monaco as well – it’s only on the calendar because of the glitz and glamour.

        Personally, I like the glitz and glamour, and the big Quantas 747 flying overhead in Melbourne, or the jet fighters. And the Yachts of Monaco and all the beautiful people and everything being bigger than life, well, except for Arnold who was disappointingly barely taller than the drivers lol.

      2. @uan They are not paid to be there I suppose? I can’t help if Alonso found a woman who is easy on the eyes. But at least we can stop paying to get such women just to stand there dressed skimpily and be an eye candy without serving any other purpose?

        The issue is treatment of people as sexual objects. If it doesn’t need a ban, it needs to undergo a sea change. Include boys as well and dress appropriately to showcase the national culture.

    4. Paul (@frankjaeger)
      3rd April 2015, 13:22

      I think the issue is that the job role exists, regardless of intelligence, people are still going to apply for the position. It is objectifying in the costumes they wear, it is sexist. I agree with you on the point of donning local, traditional outfits and I’d use both men and woman for the grid model roles.

    5. There is no such thing as force here. Every single one of the grid girls are there on their own volition. We should respect that. I personally do not see them as eye candy, but if they add to the glitz and glamour, and are more than happy to be a part of it, why not?

      okay, let’s make one thing clear: maybe in the case you’ve come across with they were not forced, but you cannot assume that’s always the case. personally, I’ve me someone who worked as grid girl in F1 [she thought it was a good way to do a bit of travelling on the cheap] and SHE WAS FORCED to stand in the Bahrain sun, wearing nothing but a bra from the waist up [she was originally from Austria and didn’t know anyone there: who would she complain to???]. she quit after 2 rounds…

      and as @evered7 already mentioned your ‘glitz and glamour’ is just a pretty word for eye candy…

      1. *I’ve met someone

      2. She wasn’t forced. She went for the job in your words ‘as travelling on the cheap’ if she didn’t realise that being a grid girl for F1 meant standing in the sun in hot countries she should of done a bit more research into the job role.

        I couldn’t care less if they were there or not and at it can be tacky. But no one should forget they are paid to do it and they do it out of choice. They aren’t slaves taken there by force. Its their job. If they don’t stand in front of a car they will be modelling somewhere else. Which again is totally their choice. I think it should be up to the tracks and teams to decide if they wish to pay the expense of someone standing with an umbrella. Eventually most probably wouldn’t, it doesn’t make the car go faster.

      3. How was she forced? Is she a slave?

    6. Honestly Keith, I actually know INTELLIGENT people who have gone and auditioned to be grid girls at Sepang. These mind you are well-educated females who earn a decent living, but they still want to experience the thrill of being in all that glitz and glamour.

      That’s not the matterbeing discussed.

      Although they really should try to make grid boy-girls work well.

    7. I tend to agree on the too-much-pc angle, but when my 8 year old niece asked me why the boys drive and the girls have to hold up signs, I couldn’t give her 1 good answer that avoided stereotypes.
      If they’d mix it up with male and female models then it would be easier but keeping the grid girls just for eye candy, even if it’s less sexualized, just sends the wrong message.

  7. What a load of pointless words, with a sole purpose of making Keith feel better about himself. This is just non-issue. Let women do the modeling if they want to.
    Keith, go fight for human rights in Middle East and Africa, if you really want to do something meaningful. Don’t limit your hypocrisy to just spouting flavor-of-the-day nonsense over the keyboard.

    1. typical whenever anyone talks about any social subject instead of responding to the topic, the writer motives are cast in doubt. pretty sad tactic

    2. Sean (@spaceman1861)
      3rd April 2015, 12:52

      He is entitled to his opinion on his own website.

    3. Paul (@frankjaeger)
      3rd April 2015, 13:25

      I really don’t think that was his motivation. It’s an issue that needs debating.

    4. It is an issue, and indicative of a number of other issues (most of which are referred to in the article).

    5. I have no idea who you are IRL but you’ve just let slip, to a bunch of random people on the internet, that you’re an inferior person. Fortunately, you’re the only one of us who has to live with it. Fell free to take this personally, and think before you speak in future.

    6. It’s simple: as F1’s popularity continues to fall, it’s only natural that Keith should write about non-F1 related topics such as this one.

    7. Also never give a penny top charity unless you want to devote your life to the cause. Don’t learn a new language unless you want to move to its country of origin. And please, please don’t watch F1 unless you work for a team.

    8. 100% AGREED.

  8. Then, we should ban girls from every businesses show. Sex appeal is there, whether someone likes it or not. Restricting it, or prohibiting it would not help the cause. These girls are not showing themselves by force, they do see an opportunity and they chose to grab it. The day the will see no benefit, then there will be no more grid girls.
    Am I against it? It’s not up to my taste to decide about it, it is about every one. Myself, if I see that a show is all about sex appeal I just don’t follow it.

    1. @caci99 : Too much importance is given to WEC in this blog…

      1. It’s a blog, Keith can write about whatever he wants. And the WEC has a lot of positives that F1 could learn from (including this particular aspect) so it is relevant to this blog.

        1. Sean (@spaceman1861)
          3rd April 2015, 13:09

          +1 its also free …

      2. “Too much importance is given to WEC in this blog…”

        No I don’t think it is ,

        I think it’s important to keep an eye on other top level motorsports,

        I find it hard to believe that the same body runs both series !

    2. Each sphere of activity has to make its own decision as to how to approach the growing insistence of parity of esteem and opportunity for everyone (which is essentially what this is about).

      It makes no sense for F1 to be doing it, not just because of the outdated views on gender it presents, but because it reinforces the impression that F1 needs cheap tricks to be watchable. It shouldn’t.

      1. @alianora-la-canta Totally agree with you that every branch of human activity needs to take actions on their own. But it wasn’t my point. While every activity can stand on its own, it is also related to the others. The individual nowadays is driven by huge marketing toward sex appeal. Practically almost every show on TV includes some crap dance by girls just to show them off, you have loads of music videos with girls showing off, you have a lot of man product advertised with girls involved claiming that that is what attracts women while very very rarely any female product involves males. And funny enough, there are woman who promote this kind of activities and participate in those. If I was going to argue against such involvement I would have been labeled as anachronistic and patriarchal. It is up to the women to decide what they want to do with their body and with their life.
        My point is, that you can not enforce it by restriction or prohibition, it has never worked in human history.

        1. Plenty of diet coke, famine hygiene, beauty coffee and other ads targeting women featuring males the women would consider as garnish.
          Men and women are different and respond differently to what we see. Many strait women would be very at ease seeing beautiful women adorning beautiful objects.

        2. In the first instance, it’s up to the employer to decide:

          a) what a job is going to involve
          b) whether that job is helpful to the enterprise
          c) if they need someone to do it other than the people the employer already employs

          Only if all three can be answered with “yes” does a candidate employee (of either gender) get to choose if they do it or not. WEC has decided the answer to b) is “no”, so the matter of whether people choose to do the job is irrelevant. And, looking at how motorsport is doing, it is reasonable for F1 to answer b) with “no”. At which point, “enforcing by restriction or prohibition”, at least in that sphere of activity, becomes trivially easy. It’s not like trying to ban things from the internet, which is basically impossible…

    3. if I see that a show is all about sex appeal I just don’t follow it.

      That’s the point- some will look at F1, see that, and not watch. If you remove the sex appeal from a sport which doesn’t require it, are you realistically going to increase or decrease the viewership?

      1. @matt90 But it does not bother me at all. And I don’t follow F1 just because of the grid girls, and I firmly doubt that anyone is turned on or off because of the girls. Heck, in my broadcast I don’t even have a chance to see them, because it starts exactly 10min before the race starts. To quote something from “Rush” movie, man do love women but more they do love fast cars.
        Man will always love beautiful women and their beautiful lines, there’s nothing you can do about it and there is nothing wrong with it. Trying to ignore it, will only make things worse. Trust me, I come from a country where for decades the woman was represented and pictured stripped of her sex appeal. It didn’t help, at all. It made things worse.
        I couldn’t care less if grid girls are there or not, but it is up to themselves to decide about it. If you’re closing an avenue, they will find another one to do it.

        1. I think you make some good points.

        2. But it does not bother me at all.

          I never said it did. I said it might bother others.

    4. this, it’s pretty retarded, sex sells, human nature isn’t about to change

      1. “this, it’s pretty retarded, sex sells, human nature isn’t about to change”

        It’s not human nature and it will change , it’s marketing ,

        F1 says ugly as sin men with money are welcome ,
        Women must be stunningly beautiful to even hold an umbrella ,

        That’s not human nature
        That’s stooopid culture !

  9. As a gay boy, I did not really care about grid girls for a long time. They did not attract me but I saw nothing wrong about it either. I mean, men and women have always been selling their bodies, one way or another. Having a few beautiful people on the screens before / after the race to attract more spectators is certainly healthier for the sport than having double points.

    But the discussions on F1 Fanatic made me realise that this is only one part of the story. Grid girls and male race drivers imply that women have no choice – boys drive, girls look good and smile, period. So I agree with Keith – we have to get rid of this cliché to let women know that they do have a choice. And saying goodbye to grid girls would be a good starting point.

    1. Wow man, that’s a stretch. How did you reach such a conclusion that this male driver-female grid girl thing has led to women having no choice in racing?

      1. Sean (@spaceman1861)
        3rd April 2015, 13:15

        If you think about it, to an outsider looking in looking at the grid you could think that.

      2. Because if people with money think that “men drive, women decorate”, then they will spend their sponsorship money reinforcing that impression – or spend the money on something that more closely matches their worldview. This leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy that in 2015 is basically fulfilled.

      3. Himmat, it’s called cultural stereotyping. And it is a very damaging and limiting problem.

    2. @girtsI think you are trying to made simple an issue that’s not simple.

      And while we are at it do you think that by getting ride of the grid girls you are telling women “look you can be whatever you want” is kind of silly.

      There has been so much sexism in this blog this past couple of day that’s getting very uncomfortable.

      The thing is you are hidding the grid girls because mothers/fathers don’t want to talk with their sons/daughter about gender stereotype. And before we go into “the grid girls are cementing this stereotypes “, then change the way they are being broadcasted as a piece of meat, not just erase them because in doing so you feel so right about yourself.

      I’m by no means a feminist, but I believe that women should be able to choose what they do, if a woman wants to be a model let her be, if a woman wants to be a engineer let her be, if a woman wants to be a race driver let her be. Don’t took away her options just because it’s mades you feel right with yourself.

      1. @celeste I absolutely agree with you that if someone wants to earn money by looking good or being attractive, then let them do it. However, then you would also need to employ grid boys because the current system is not fair to men, who want to be grid boys.

        It is an option but I tend to believe that it is not the best solution because of the other reason that Keith mentions in the article – namely, F1 does not need “glamorous ladies” to be attractive, just like the drivers do not have to take their shirts off during the drivers parade to make female fans and guys like me happier.

        After all, “grid girl” is not a profession – the grid girls normally do something else to earn their living as F1 comes to town only once a year. So I do not think that this would really take away their options, there are a lot of other ways to sell one’s body (as you say, there is nothing wrong about being a model).

        For sure, this would not mean the end of stereotyping but I believe that Keith’s suggestion would be a small step in the right direction.

        1. @girts that’s the situation here WEC took a one sided decision. No time for arguing ways to improve the roll. No debate. And they say there are “beautiful women in others side of WEC” why a way to justify a decision and why should it matter if this women are beautiful? WEC is being as sexism as F1.

          Let’s argue about having grid boys, let’s argue about how the grid girls can be embassadors for the culture of a country. India did it right, they used men and women in traditional attire from the country and it looked gorgeous; same as Austria.

        2. WEC was finding that having the grid girls closed doors for women wanting to work in other roles in the series, and this was something they didn’t want to have happen. And the “beautiful women in other sides of WEC” was because that was the only reason any series had grid girls in the first place.

    3. @girts – This is it exactly!

      Grid girls and male race drivers imply that women have no choice – boys drive, girls look good and smile, period.

      The people here saying that no one is being forced to be a grid girl and everyone has a choice and it’s tradition and part of the show. What it is, is just another reinforcement of stereotypes that girls and women are forced to live with. Sure, it doesn’t affect close-minded men on here because it simply reinforces their world view. There is a reason that girls used to only want to be nurses and boys doctors, because that is all they saw and all they thought was available to them.

      But what if, in some hypothetical world, some girl wanted to be a driver but all she sees are grid girls and male drivers? Yes, as adults we can rationalize that just because something is a certain way now does not mean that it has to remain that way [aside, even though that is exactly what some people are saying, i.e. ‘grid girls are tradition’]. But if we actually want the best drivers on the grid, that means male or female, then we have to create an environment that is open to all. Notice that I did NOT say that we must let everyone do what they want and everyone gets a shot at being a driver. Rather, the sport needs to be open to it. And it currently isn’t.

      @keithcollantine – I’m sure you would say that everyone on here has the right to share their opinion, even those that disagree with you. But in this case, F the naysayers. You are on the right side of history here. And regardless of my agreement or disagreement with your commentary posts, keep writing them.

      1. @hobo Exactly, people usually look at the world and try to adapt to its rules (written or unwritten). There are always rebels, who go against the tide but it is a small minority. If you want to make the majority “open mind for a different view” then a leader needs to act. Nothing will happen “naturally”. Like Keith is saying, “the FIA – regulator of F1 and the WEC – has to take the lead.”

    4. @girts I think saying hello to grid boys would be a better solution

      Problem is, how should that be done?

  10. These are no normal woman, they are beauties, standing alongside the beauties of motorsports (the cars)… I think they complement each other… Having the best of motor designs alongwith the best of human beauty, is a good thing. If we keep nitpicking, then there a whole lot of issues to be dealt with, women lingerie shows must be viewed only by women then, else they might become a source of gratification of men.

    Keith, please don’t act like FIA.

    1. Sean (@spaceman1861)
      3rd April 2015, 12:53

      There are such a thing as male “beauties”.

      Anyways i don’t know about you but i watch f1 for the racing not for the pretty things….

      1. @spaceman1861

        What about us male ” beauties” they can’t get accepted as grid “folk”

        Check my picture ,

        I’m beautiful somewhere , :)

    2. woman lingerie shows only exist to promote woman lingerie, what’s your point?

      in F1 woman are used as eye candy, only there to attract straight males

      1. “in F1 woman are used as eye candy, only there to attract straight males”
        So shouldn’t men be offended then for having their sexuality exploited? They are baited into watching sth they perhaps otherwise wouldn’t want to watch!!

      2. But then the biggest part of your audience are straight males, probably followed by bi/gay males and only then any sort of females. I guess they could throw in some grid boys, but if you want eye candy grid girls appeals to the largest audience.

    3. OmarR-Pepper - Vettel 40 victories!!! (@)
      3rd April 2015, 13:10

      So you are implying “normal” women are not beautiful? I know not all women could compete for a beauty contest but what you said sounds odd.
      However, and before you or others reply in anger, your second point seems valid. And if WEC are about to lose half their customers for this, why do they insist on having car-show girls with (sometimes) far more revealing clothes? That’s double standard.
      In the last couple of years the F1 girls are looking more modestly dressed than in the 90s. And regarding Lotus, their choice of Jorda seems more insulting to women than the issue of grid girls itself.

      1. As far as I can tell, WEC has not done a car-show in the three years it’s existed.

        1. OmarR-Pepper - Vettel 40 victories!!! (@)
          4th April 2015, 12:51

          @Alianora-la-canta wec companies (Audi, toyota…) and the girls they hire for road car shows

          1. The FIA does not run Audi, Toyota et al and is rather limited in the influence it can have on them. With this decision, it is using one of the few tools of influence it has over their employment practices.

  11. Not onboard with this at all. What’s with the prohibition culture all of a sudden? Let the people do as they please, male or female. There is no forceful recruitment into some ‘grid girl corps’. If a girl feels that being a grid girl is offensive to her as a human being, she simply won’t do it. What gives you the right to decide for this girls how they feel on the subject? Imho, this ‘we know better how you should feel’ attitude actually does more harm to the gender equality and personal self esteem than the presence of the girls on the grid.

    1. Grid girls are recruited by men who want them there. They don’t just turn up because they want to.

      1. 1. How do you know they are recruited by men, not women? Isn’t it sexist from you to assume that a woman can’t be in a position to hire anyone?
        2. And once again, to appear on the grid, have they been torn from their families by some kind of stormtrooper squads pillaging their villages, or did they make a legitimate career choice?

        1. It’s not that women can’t hire people. It’s that in the sort of company that does this hiring, the people in charge of the hiring tend to be men.

          And it’s not that women can’t work away from the track. It’s that they’ve been given the impression that if they want to get close to the F1 racing, they must be grid girls (because of the constant impression that only men get to be closer to the racing than a grid girl gets).

      2. Yeah, I saw them last night kick in the door across the hall and drag out some girl by the hair. It’s rumored around the neighborhood that it was Bernie’s GridGirlRecruitment Squad. Now she will be forced to stand around F1 cars holding a sign.

      3. Duncan Snowden
        4th April 2015, 15:03

        Really? So these men go round the streets, abducting these women against their will, and forcing them onto the grid, do they?

        Of course they turn up because they want to. What a ridiculous argument.

    2. Paul (@frankjaeger)
      3rd April 2015, 13:27

      Don’t be so naive. People may partake in things eventhough it goes against their ideologies. The existence of such a role is the issue, not the people who do it.

    3. This isn’t about the individual grid girls themselves and their choice to do it. It’s about the perception of women from the viewer and the “need” to objectify women to promote a sport that at the end of the day isn’t about women at all. It’s about racing.

      If you need a grid girl to enjoy racing, you don’t understand racing.

  12. NEW IDEA!: Grid People. Both men and women, holding the “77” and “5” etc poles, or fanboost or whatever poles the series has. They wouldn’t be wearing the revealing outfits of today, they would be nicely dressed normal people, they could be models I don’t care, just as long as they don’t go and stick the awful clothes they make them wear now. The men would be the same, stylishly dressed and not revealing. Child mascots or competition winners could make up the gird people as well. I think we could end the old fashioned grid girls and replace them with a much more updated version with both men and women. I do feel they are important as it informs people of where the drivers are etc. I doubt F1 will follow suit.

  13. Utter nonsense.
    Leave the grid girls there. I enjoy watching beautiful women. Until a woman enters F1 on MERIT then we are merely stating a clear fact. Women can’t compete evenly with men in motorsport. I doubt that i’ll be proven wrong. Leave things as they are. Political correctness gone mad.
    Sometimes people have to accept that biological differences mean different performance levels in different sports.
    Women still have the option to compete. If anything, grid girls would give women ammunition to prove me wrong.

    1. @drone – Medical research by the US military and various sporting institutes tells us that the “biological differences” are nowhere near significant enough to stop women being successful F1 drivers.
      There are women combat pilots who can pull 9+ Gs, there are female astronauts. Most female bodybuilders are much, much stronger than me.
      Face it – some motor sport, including F1, is culturally unattractive to women – made so by us, the men.

      1. Nicely put

      2. Nah, it’s not all about the Gs, it’s about the ms, lighting fast reaction is a must for great car control, in this regard women are vastly disadvantaged compared to men, that’s why Women can’t compete evenly with men in motor sport. That’s also why racing drivers are usually shorter than average, shorter people have faster reaction time because of shorter nerve path.

        Some people should have more understanding of motor sport.

      3. Well said.

        I logged back into my account on here for the first time in well over a year just to comment on this article. Surprise, surprise – it’s got nearly 300 comments (compared to far fewer on other posts), the majority of which are male fans making fools of themselves by moaning that this outdated, cringe-worthy, sexist practice “shouldn’t be changed” because it’s “part of F1” (along with plenty of other problems about which we could say the same, but those are a different matter and should be changed!).

        And people wonder why it’s still such a tough sell for female fans to come into forums for this sport and discuss it as something we’re all passionate about. We’re still viewed by many as decoration first, fans/racers second as far as a huge chunk of the F1 world is concerned. And that is a problem that even the smallest steps, like this one, could help to slowly fix, if people would be reasonable about it. Great article, Keith, and I agree wholeheartedly.

    2. Women can’t compete evenly with men in motorsport. I doubt that i’ll be proven wrong.

      And there goes any semblance of an argument. It’s interesting that on the topic of sexism in motorsport you brought up an entirely unrelated topic (women competing in motorsport) and elected to show your sexism on that.

    3. I completely agree.

      Grid girls are awesome, why take them away? F1 is a sport for men, not women.

      1. How’s that sexism working out for you IRL? :-)

        1. Actually, very well, thank you :) Men and women are not the same – neither emotionally nor the obvious. If you desire to live in a world where you force attempt to ignore that fact, it’s a free world, go ahead – but I choose another path. And I find it a shame you want to prevent some girls from earning a buck for a days work and prevent them having a bit of fun appearing in TV all for the sake of political correctness. While out shopping today the girls were dressed decidedly sexier, and it was their own free choice. There’s a Daesh in this world. We have real evils to fight.

          1. Saying men and women are different and treating women in a sexist manner are two completely different things, If women want to go to the F1 scantly clad so be it but when you pay them to stand there it is completely different and sends out the wrong signal to women & men in society as to what a woman is and how she should expect to be treated in life.

    4. Just because something hasn’t happend yet or, more accurately often, doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. It also doesn’t make your statement a fact.

      There are biological differences, yes, but not restrictive ones across the board. The fact that women don’t race in F1 regularly isnt related to physiology (opinion) but related to social factors. The IDEA that women can’t race competitively with men is the biggest reason that support from bottom to top isn’t available. Men have more opportunity and that is the main reason I believe that we don’t have more women in F1.

      What your post or mine has to do with grid girls…I have no idea

  14. I’d like to think that the kind of person who sees appeal in grid girls isn’t the kind of fan that F1, WEC or any top level motorsport would want to attract. Personally I’d prefer it if people watched the sport for, you know, cars and stuff.
    Now that my two cents are in, time to whip out the popcorn because this comments section is gonna be good…

    1. Well, I have a huge interest in hybrid systems, turbocharging, engine management systems, suspension and damping designs, aerodynamics, wheel to wheel racing, electronics and I’m also in the market for a new car in the next couple of years so I guess I’m probably EXACTLY the type of fan that F1 and WEC are looking to attract. Guess what….? I like looking at hot grid girls too.

      1. I don’t see the big deal with grid girls either. I bet if you asked the girls who do it, every one would say that they enjoy it. Besides, if grid girls are sexist, I guess all the beautiful runway models should stop too. It is a natural fact of life that males like to see pretty females. I don’t see it as sexist, I see it as “normal”. Sexy women (and men) are used to sell/ promote everything from cars to hamburgers to chewing gum. Lets worry about real problems instead of made up silly ones. :) (just my opinion, and I respect that others think the opposite)

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      3rd April 2015, 22:12

      I’d like to think that the kind of person who sees appeal in grid girls isn’t the kind of fan that F1 (…) would want to attract.

      Unfortunately I think you are wrong there. FOM has proven over and over again that is does not care where the money comes from.

  15. The political correctness has gone way too far, and we are forgetting that F1 has 10 billion other issues.

    My friend’sd girlfriend was a grid girl at Sochi and she enjoyed every second.

    They aren’t slaves, they are paid models. What’s the problem? Why drive them out of the job on the grounds of “OMG TUMBLR FEMININISM AHHA”

    1. So much this. I’m amazed how people in this comments are making it sound like they are slaves forced into that work.

    2. Did your friend enjoy every second of men ogling her whilst she enjoyed it and got paid for it? Hope she didn’t meet a better package whilst mingling with all the f1 crowd. Good luck to both of them, and you shouldn’t look at your friend’s girlfriend that way or think those things about her either ;-)

  16. I’m going to have to disagree. These girls are more important than ever, now that the FIA sucks the joy out of the sport. Fast cars and nice girls go hand in hand. It’s like a law of the universe. There used to be a time when F1 drivers used to be the ultimate playboys. Risking their lives in each race and beating their opponents to the finishing line just to inflate their ego. Not anymore, obviously. No actually, the drivers are as selfish as ever but everyone is afraid to show it. F1 needs its glamour back. Having those girls there shows that at least they are trying. I don’t see the point of grid girls, but only because the don’t get enough coverage. Those girls are professional models anyway, so what’s the problem. I’m sure it’s a great experience for them. Why not ban the champagne celebrations as well, if we ‘re at it?
    Don’t think of it as eye-candy for the viewers; think of it as eye-candy for the drivers!

    1. There used to be a time when F1 drivers used to be called jockeys and feed their vehicles hay as well. The days of yore that you’re pining for really weren’t around for that long. The idea that drivers as chauvinistic demigods is some age-old irreplaceable ideal is just laughable.

  17. This was “For”. Now let me have the “Against”
    Unemployed girls.

    1. I’d be astonished if any of these girls’ only source of income was earned through standing by a fast car a couple of times a year. It’s not exactly a full-time job.

      1. Modelling may well be their full-time job. And modelling is, as they call it, eye candy, so presumably these people want to ban modelling altogether. No girls in F1 or in any other racing category, no cheerleaders in any sport, no beauty contests, etc. Not to mention things like the adult entertainment business, which I’m sure they also oppose.

        1. That was what I was getting to – if modelling is their job then presumably being a grid girl is one of just many things they do. I don’t see anything wrong with modelling. And I have nothing against the women who choose to be grid girls. But I think it is wrong that there is a demand for it. I don’t think it should have a place in F1, particularly if F1 wants to see increased involvement of women in the sport itself. F1 is probably the biggest mixed sport on the planet, but you wouldn’t know it from the way that the stars of the show are all clearly men. It’s 2015 for goodness sake — there are women running countries at the moment, meanwhile most women involved in F1 seem to be there for visual reasons.

          1. If you object to F1 grid girls believing that they objectivize women or perpetuate some sort of male dominance, then surely you also object to grid girls in any other racing series, to cheerleaders jumping around in miniskirts while men are playing American football or basketball, to the girls in sexy outfits at events like auto shows and expos, to beauty contests like Miss Universe, and obviously to things like strippers and adult actresses. Basically anything where women succeed due to their beauty. That’s a lot of things to ban because they somehow offend you.

    2. This seems like a nice distillation of the toxic attitudes that F1 chooses to perpetuate by persisting with grid girls.

      “Unemployed girls” is only a problem if you subscribe to the idea that these girls (and by extension all “attractive” girls or all girls at all) lack the potential for any other sort of gainful employment. Otherwise, they are, like everyone else, totally fit to be equal players in the job market that they should be. In such a market, just because a job once exists does not mean it justifies itself for all time.

      In employment terms, there is no way the impact of a handful of trackside hires compensates for F1’s cultural role in perpetuating the disadvantagement of women in the employment market worldwide. In business terms, while F1 may have no moral obligation to right this wrong, the sensibilities of those like myself and Keith who find it offputting and insulting should be of no less interest to the commercial rights holders than those of the people who still see the appeal in it.

      They need a strategy which plays to the long-term commercial appeal of the sport, and grid girls as a brand statement are becoming increasingly dated, not a quality that meshes well with F1’s other selling points.

      1. Why is being a grid girl a disadvantagement? They do what they like, and they get paid for it. That you think less of a grid girl than of a female engineer is your prejudice, not a fact.

        1. If you think “disadvantagement of women in the employment market worldwide” refers to the employment of grid girls then your perspective of even the current role of women in society may be more than a little warped.

          I haven’t expressed any disapproval, nor do I mean to, of the choices of women who do grid girl work. My objection is to Bernie’s choice of how to use their services, which detracts from my own enjoyment of grands prix and which I am ultimately having to pay for. If I was prejudiced against the grid girls themselves I wouldn’t be so confident in their potential to find, and succeed in, other work.

          1. So you want to ban them just because you don’t like them for whatever reason. Nice. You’re a shining beacon of freedom.

          2. The only bit of what you said that you could reasonably conclude from my posts is that I “don’t like them”.

            A grid girl isn’t something that you “ban” or permit. It’s something that the promoters spend money on, more or less entirely on the understanding that it pleases the fans. If you interpret people voicing their displeasure as a threat to your freedom, you are probably aware as the rest of us of the rapidly-dwindling support for this aspect of the sport you like. I don’t begrudge you enjoying it, but F1 has never much suited those who cannot handle change. I’m sure I could find you some alternative venues to enjoy looking at barely-dressed girls if this one ever does cease to offer it.

  18. I disagree completely. The girls in formula 1 are dressed fairly sensibly, its a bit of showbiz, a bit of Hollywood, there is nothing seedy about it. Its fun, the girls love doing it, its a bit of icing on the cake, I don’t see why everything has to be criminalised and demonised as being sexist or whatever. I don’t believe it puts woman off motorsport, that argument has no evidence whatsoever, its a false assumption displayed as fact.

    However somebody did suggest about having children mascots, that would be a good ideas too. Give some real fans a chance to be on the grid right?

    The sport has bigger problems though, the main one being the driver helmet colours.

    1. I agree @jre_f1 , I am a woman, I have watched F1 since 1992 (when I was 12), I can’t say that I really notice the grid girls much except if they are wearing something striking – they are just there – and yes these days they dress quite modestly!

      Grid girls certainly do not put me off watching F1 – that’s just a silly idea to me – attractive women in marketing/advertising are everywhere these days – we would have to ban many, many, many things if this view was the norm.

  19. Sean (@spaceman1861)
    3rd April 2015, 13:06

    It might just be me but what is the point of them?

    Female or Male i don’t care about them i just want to watch some of the best races in the world drive in the best cars in the world. I think it objectifies the models and is pointless. Although i can see the argument for traditional garb to advertise the country but i don’t see the Aussie grid girls in bikinis / Drizabones with thongs (shoes) and beer holding a pie…

    Also to the people hating on Keith seriously it’s his website which he doubtlessly put hundreds of hours into to produce a mad free product. If you don’t like the FREE product sod of or be more constructive with your criticisms rather than attacking him.


  20. It could save a little cost of the circuits, perhaps half million?

    1. Half a million on grid girls ?

      20 grid girls ,

      No way

      My guess $10 k

      1. But I guess we’re both way off :)

      2. The dress design fee could be significant.

      3. As Park mentions, the biggest cost probably is the cost for the costumes. I am not even sure these girls get more than the hope to show themselves and get noticed and picked up by a modelling agency, apart from access to the paddock and possibly free drinks/food for the weekend.

        But I don’t think tracks would really save much, and certainly not a significant portion of their budgets

  21. I won’t comment on the bit about the FIA encouraging teams to reserve slots for pretty girls on their invite list, but it is always interesting to see famous/recognizable faces walking around on the grid. I don’t see anyone having a problem with interviewing a famous male football player or Kilye Minogue by the BBC/Sky staff…
    The other issue I’d like to approach from a different angle. The grid girls employed by the tracks are most likely professional models. They get paid because they look good.

    So, we should ban all people get paid for their looks. Close all modeling agencies, forbid clothes stores to advertise their products on people, forbid all beauty contests (and not just human ones too, animals as well, as it is a very similar concept), forbid all fashion shows, close all cosmetics shops, as they all advertise beauty. We should only reward people for their knowledge and skills. That will solve the whole problem.

    The fact is, our society and the human race is essentially built on the fact that man and women will find specimens of one or more other gender attractive, and we people generally like it when we see other attractive people. This won’t ever go away. Gender stereotypes still exist and I don’t really see them go away unless we all get neutered. People should instead try RESPECT and TREAT EACH OTHER WELL, independent of gender. I hope you see the difference.

    Narrowing down this discussion to the grid girls is a short sighted and completely pointless exercise. I would call for more action on the fact that F1 happily visits countries where women are not objectified but are ACTUALLY OBJECTS.

    1. …ignore the grammatical errors :)

    2. Sean (@spaceman1861)
      3rd April 2015, 13:12

      I don’t agree completely but you make a damn good point with the countries f1 visits.

  22. I honestly never gave this a second thought over the 50 or so years I’ve been in and around motorsport, but I am definitely against positive discrimination. Let matters happen organically I say. If it’s in poor taste, then the practice will disappear. Surel if the practice objectifies women, then women themselves should be the driving force in ‘educating’ the general public and if men become the driving force in removing grid girls then it would seem like an act of hypocrisy to me. But what do I know? The brave young things of the New World would probably have me put down in a heartbeat if they could, as a reactionary old fool with a tainted ‘worldview’.
    Ye Gods! Where do they learn this stuff?

    1. Except that it hasn’t happened in most series. Bad taste hasn’t resulted in the practice reducing let alone disappearing, because sex supposedly sells (I say supposedly because the areas growing in viewership are the ones that place less emphasis on women as decoration).

  23. I find the column of girls standing applauding slightly disturbing I must admit. However I dont think having grid girls is offensive to the point of removing them altogether. The article is slightly on the self serving side but I can’t begrudge a guy expressing his “opinion” on his own blog. And it stirs up discussion and that alone is a good thing.

  24. As a young boy, I am sometimes distracted by them, which I dislike.

    1. Sean (@spaceman1861)
      3rd April 2015, 13:18

      Could it be that you wanted to watch f1? not pretty people. Your comment pretty much spells out why they exists. That being sex appeal. For what ever reason you dislike it, I for one sit in the same boat.

  25. There has never been a problem with getting women involved in motorsport… namely in marketing, PR, PA and modelling. In other words: women’s jobs have been to stand there and just look pretty, darlin’, and let the men do the clever stuff. You can see this demonstrated here with comments reflecting women’s ‘biological nature’.

    I mean, what would happen if there was this outpouring of concern for the careers of women motorsport drivers?

  26. You’re absolutely correct Keith, thank you for writing this. Many comments here jump to the defense of the practice, or try to dismiss it, but you’re spot on about the message the sport is sending to the half of the world. It’s a deplorable aspect in a sport that has many other issues, and is worth fighting for.

  27. I agree with Keith.

    The grid girls are there to promote the sport, but it sends out the wrong message, and therefore is not good promotion. Personally I find the columns of applauding girls particularly cringeworthy.

    As for the argument that the grid girls are not forced into this, and that it is a job to them; well, if the race organizer (though I suspect it’s a FOM requirement) wishes to spend money to promote the sport, then it can spend that in other ways. There is no obligation for Formula 1 to sponsor aspiring models.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      3rd April 2015, 22:39

      Personally I find the columns of applauding girls particularly cringeworthy.

      Agree @adrianmorse, that feels way worse than the umbrella person.

      On the umbrella person. That should probably be both genders rather than just women. But next it will be required to be ‘all racial backgrounds’ (of course), ‘all ages’ (nah), ‘all (dis)-abilities’ (maybe), ‘all levels of attractiveness’ (hmmm), ‘all BMI levels’ (???).

      The question is not if it is ‘political correctness’, but when does it become ‘political correctness gone mad’

  28. last time i checked no one was pointing a gun to these girls heads.
    actually, i think they get paid to be there which i assume helps them in their lives?

    i don’t understand this sudden concern about morality without even asking these girls if they actually mind doing it.


    1. If you’d read the article you’d probably realise the issue is not to do with these women themselves, rather the impression that their employment gives to people watching.

  29. The columns of girls applauding looks awkward, only because the drivers ignore them by keeping their head down. They don’t enjoy it like they should. They need to do their part as well.

    1. Hmm, that may be a valid observation. Drivers ignoring them like that makes it look like the females are objects.

      But still, it’d be better to just remove that, but keep all other instances of grid girls intact.

    2. damn those drivers, showing respect to their partners by not perving……Geez what a low bunch of guys………… cmon, really?

  30. Just wanted to add my support for Keith’s proposed grid girl ban. I mean, in this day and age, what is the point? So the shows looks a bit prettier? I cringe every time the winning drivers walk along that corridor of identically-dressed applauding women. Surely the problems of sex inequality in the sport outweigh the need to catch a few more eyes with curves and bare flesh. Like Miss World and Benny Hill, let’s move on.

  31. I cringe at the wall of girls clapping as a sweaty driver heads for the podium,

  32. Keith, to be honest I am disappointed that you’ve fallen for the “feel good” news piece from Neveu that is intended to hide the highly controversial changes to the LMP2 class that are being forced through by the ACO that are designed to undo the very “innovation” that you claim is going on in sportscar racing.

    For a start, the ACO has announced that it wants to only permit four chassis manufacturers in the LMP2 category – that effectively halves the number of chassis manufacturers in the field (there are currently seven chassis manufacturers and two who had planned to enter in 2015), and eliminating all third party sellers of spare parts (in other words, giving those for chassis manufacturers a monopoly over supplying spare parts to stop teams shopping around for cheaper spare parts).
    The ACO may reverse their decision and allow greater flexibility on the chassis manufacturers, but only because they have all banded together and threatened legal action against the ACO.

    They’ve also announced that they will be enforcing a single engine specification on all teams, and that specification has been written to explicitly exclude independent engine tuners like Judd or Oreca from competing. You are also not allowed to provide both an engine and a chassis, a move which seems to have been written to specifically target the business models of HPD and Oreca.

    Asides from that, they’ve also announced swinging cuts on development work – tyre development for the LMP2 and GT classes would be completely forbidden and only have one tyre supplier, a move that has massively angered Michelin. Bodywork specifications will be frozen for four years (only one upgrade package will be permitted from 2017-2021) and performance standardisation would also be enforced, along with standardised electronics systems and software packages.

    As mentioned, the above moves are alienating manufacturers and suppliers because they are aiming to suppress, rather than encourage, innovation. Nissan have already stated that they are thinking of leaving the LMP2 class because of the ACO’s removal of competition and Michelin have already protested to the ACO about the plans to eliminate tyre competition from that category, whilst Dunlop and Pirelli (Pirelli wanted to return to that category, but won’t be able to if the decision goes ahead) are also annoyed at the decision.

    However, what are you reporting about instead? A small scale symbolic gesture by Neveu that does nothing to actually address the reasons for limited female involvement in motorsport.
    Yes, it is a gesture that is noble and positive, don’t get me wrong, but frankly the real reason it is being made is because it is a useful way of distracting the press away from the critical complaints of those competing in the WEC over the ACO’s planned reforms.

    1. those are all interesting points anon, but they have little to do with F1 – we are already there with a lot of those measures …

    2. The changes to LMP2 and GT that have been proposed are bad… …but the GT ones in particular are still under discussion. Even the LMP2 ones are likely to change a bit because TUSCC has indicated it’s not happy either, and WEC and TUSCC are supposed to have compatible LMP2 cars.

      F1 already has spec tyres, massive development restrictions, engine sorbet and appears to be attempting to reduce its constructor count. As such, there isn’t a whole lot WEC can teach F1 about how (or how not) to restrict things. Mostly it’s the other way round.

  33. Look this isn’t about political correctness or seeing men and women as equal. This is a question of values at a conscious and sub-conscious level. The question we all have to answer is how are F1 grid girls under the current set up, contributing to the ‘objectification’ of women? Personally they need a shake up and I’d be more than willing to help shake them up.
    Lest not forget that Political Correctness is in reality a prison for freedom of expression. We all have a right to offend, a right to be offended and a right to speak out for what we believe is right.
    Whatever happens to the GG’s, I want to see values of respect, honour and togetherness. The current format is simply old school and not relevant for today’s fast changing societies and roles.

  34. It’s a paying job. These young women chose to be models and are doing thsir job. It provides exposure for them to be seen by other modelling agencies and potential employers.
    If a young woman decides that she wants to use her beauty to make money as a model, then no one has a right to stand in their way. Everyone talks about women’s rights and equality, and yet they turn around and want to take away a women’s right to work as a model. It sounds to me that people are just jealous.

    1. Models generally model something (etc clothes,accessories,makeup,hair). Grid girls aren’t models, they are grid girls.

  35. The world is becoming a boring place. I agree with the point that F1 (and motorsports in general) have more importante matters atm.

    If only we could ask James Hunt’s opinion on this grid girls ban… LOL

  36. Their job is unnecessary, they cost money to employ, they clutter the grid and block the view of the cars. Best get rid of them.

    Political correctness; phooey. It’s a pointless job unless you specifically feel that you need to spend money on getting average-to-goodlooking people to stand about the place. We have the internet and nights-out to see that. Let’s stick to the motorsport.

  37. Look this isn’t about political correctness or seeing men and women as equal. This is a question of values at a conscious and sub-conscious level. The question we all have to answer is how are F1 grid girls under the current set up, contributing to the ‘objectification’ of women? Personally I think they, like the way F1 is run, need a shake up and I’d be more than willing to help shake them up.
    Lest not forget that Political Correctness is in reality a prison for freedom of expression. We all have a right to offend, a right to be offended and a right to speak out for what we believe is right.
    Whatever happens to the GG’s, I want to see values of respect, honour and togetherness. The current format is simply old school and not relevant for today’s fast changing societies and roles.

  38. I’m about as far away from a militant ‘Tumblr Feminist’ as one can get, but even I always disliked the image of the race winner walking through a tunnel of applauding, onlooking women. It just sat wrong with me.

    The thing is I also quite liked seeing people in traditional dress that reflected the country of the race they were at, but it doesn’t have to only be women giving the drivers their microphones on the podium, does it?

    Just because I don’t like something isn’t grounds enough for me to be in favour of its abolition. Nor do I find anything inherently wrong with looking at beautiful women, or that I should be ashamed of enjoying doing so.

    Still, having said all that, it would appear to me that having grid girls, lines of beautiful women clapping, and more beautiful women on the podium sends out the wrong message if F1 is serious about women entering the sport or having a legitimate place in Motorsport whether as a team chief, driver, mechanic ect. I don’t find the role of a model, grid girl or whatever inherently sexist. These women are after all exercising a choice to be there. I do think that the way F1 uses women for decoration is.

    Grid girls add nothing much to F1 in my view. I won’t miss them when they’re gone.

      1. Agree, well said

  39. Steph (@stephanief1990)
    3rd April 2015, 14:17

    Have to admit, I’m really disappointed by this article. If you want true equality then argue that there should be grid people of all genders and of all shapes and sizes. If you want it about pure sport then just say there should be no grid people at all.

    by treating them as sex objects

    This, in itself, is actually treating women as sex objects because the language is totally dehumanising. Would you say the same of models? This is an argument often used against women who do sex work or page 3 but for them it’s just another job and one which they fully give their consent to. To just ban practices achieves nothing but putting women out of work and overriding their consent to do a job that they have applied for and want to partake in.
    Yeah, there’s loads of sexist comments at grid girls which isn’t pleasant at all but come on, there’s sexist comments against women who do F1 journalism, women who race cars, women who are engineers because sexism is everywhere. Tackling this culture is far more important than telling women what they should and shouldn’t do.
    This just comes off as having good intentions but like the actual details of the argument haven’t been addressed at all. It would be yet another headline grabbing, quick fix which would actually upset a lot of women and cause them a loss of income (which would be really unfortunate given the financial mess right now).

    1. RealityCheck
      3rd April 2015, 14:49

      A-MEN!!! Well said!

    2. @stephanief1990

      If you want true equality then argue that there should be grid people of all genders and of all shapes and sizes.

      I don’t object to that – I have no problem with someone being employed to hold up a sign showing which driver goes where. But as I wrote, I don’t believe motor sport needs to rely on the sex appeal of an attractive person holding an umbrella to sell it. Grid girls are there to do that, which I think is wrong, and it is being done because of an underlying assumption that men should be more interested in motor racing than women, and I think that’s wrong too.

      Yeah, there’s loads of sexist comments at grid girls which isn’t pleasant at all but come on, there’s sexist comments against women who do F1 journalism, women who race cars, women who are engineers because sexism is everywhere. Tackling this culture is far more important than telling women what they should and shouldn’t do.

      @Skylab posted a comment in the round-up today saying his son had pointed out the grid girls at a race and asked what they were doing. I think this shows how grid girls gives a message about what is expected from women which feeds into the very culture of sexism you are concerned about. And that’s why it should be tackled in this way.

  40. RealityCheck
    3rd April 2015, 14:23

    I’m a woman and this is my view: Why don’t let the grid girls decide if they want to be grid girls? And maybe add grid boys if they want too!! Why not some kids from karting to inspire them to follow the sport?!
    And totally agree with this statement I saw in twitter: @GrandPrixDiary “No, you can’t be a grid girl, because I say so, it’s called equality, now deal with it and go find another job”. Yeah, equality -.-

    There are far more problems in F1 that grid girls and other stuff. Like in Malaysia the grid girls were more well dressed that many people! So, FIA should concentrate with more important things and maybe just transform “grid girls exclusivity” in “grid people”!

    1. So any girl wanting to be on the grid can just pop in and have a go, is it? They are selected based on their attractiveness. In some countries are made to wear skimpy clothing which projects a very sexual image. F1 shouldn’t be about it at all.

      There is no need for them on the grid and the practice should be discontinued. If they are serious into modeling, they knew where to go and get the jobs as well.

      There are various means to satisfy one’s hunger for hot looking women. F1 shouldn’t be one.

      1. RealityCheck
        3rd April 2015, 14:40

        I agree with you in your first sentence! But I think there is a problem that people don’t understand… There are girls who want to be sexy and don’t mind doing stuff like that, why should they be judged and criticized if they want to do it! They aren’t bitches or anything more than other women who don’t do it!!

        Like I said I agree that F1 should be more open about who wants to do it and not just restrict to beautiful women and everything! There should be kids from low racing series, boys, women that love race and aren’t models, etc. But if there are beautiful womens who want to do it, let them do it, that’s what freedom of choice is all about!

        1. it has nothing to do with whether they want to do the job or not, it is about whether F1 should offer a job that comes down to stand around and look pretty

          it’s about how f1 chooses to represent woman
          nothing more nothing less

          1. RealityCheck
            3rd April 2015, 16:34

            Ok, I understand and agree with the part of “is this job really necessary?!”. But I think it’s easier to have someone there (female, man, kid, old, gay, ugly, pretty…) with the number of the car because some times there are just so much people around the car that you can’t see who’s the driver!

            The rest like in the final where they are just there clapping and everything I think is unnecessary. But I really think and other female F1 fans may agree with me that this isn’t the biggest problem about the sport right now!

          2. RealityCheck
            3rd April 2015, 16:53

            Just one more little thing. This problem isn’t a F1 problem to solve it but society! It has to start from the beginning, with education of parents, and families to see big improvements overall!

    2. Exactly, it is not equality to tell a whole group of people that they can not do something, because “I think it is not good for them”.

      It is the exact opposite of equality.

    3. I’m a woman and this is my view

      The dirty little secret is that this sort of cultural Marxism, while it claims to be acting on the behalf of the prolitar… err, of women, does not give a d___ about what actual women think. It’s about telling people, including women, what they SHOULD think.

      1. RealityCheck
        3rd April 2015, 16:40

        I just gave my opinion and only that. If you want to believe or agree, it’s with you… I didn’t point a gun to anyone saying they should agree or that I’m speaking for every woman out there…
        Like I said “this is my view”!! And I said my gender just so people knew it was a woman’s opinion! One in a million of opinions.

  41. I watch F1 for the cars, the technology, drivers driving the cars and racing each other. So I don’t think I would notice if the grid girls/guys went, but I don’t think more rules are needed. It’s up to the promoters of how they wan’t to operate.

    I would be also very interested in the opinions of the grid people themselves, their nuanced opinions and their wishes.

    And I think I spot a fallacy in your own argument Keith and it’s to do with the objectification. That, that women exist only for the gratification of men, is fallacious, yes. But so is the suggestion that a person employed to do a certain job, facilitates the public opinion that that is all there is to his/hers personality and they only exist to accomplish what they are voluntarily employed to do.

    By this line of thought we should ban male drivers, because it objectifies men and serves to facilitate gender the stereotype that only men are to operate machinery and serve for women to drive them around. Anyone can be claimed to be objectified, if they are employed or do anything at all, but to actually be objectified means a lot more and this case does not qualify.

    It’s a part of a ceremony, as is the anthem playing, the podium, the stupid champagne spraying etc. We could do without all of it as far as I care, and they are not needed, but I also see that people like ceremonies, because it adds to the atmosphere and it serves to make an event feel like more of an event. I would support changes to the ceremony, like allowing the driver to choose which gender he/she want’s the sign holder to be. And I think it is an exaggeration to say that the grid boys did not “catch on”, it was a weak, one time, little discussed, attempt if even that.

    You made a good case, but I remain unconvinced. Especially on the need for a ban. When you think there ought to be a law, then there probably shouldn’t.

    Changes can be made to the proceedings, but I don’t think people should be deprived of the ceremonies they like, the fans and the drivers and the official ceremonial people alike.

    But there is one thing related to this topic that does infuriate and annoy me, and I would plead to F1 to stop it. That is, the showing of celebs, moms, dads, girlfriends, mechanics etc. during live sessions. I want to see the bloody cars! And no, not even a split screen would satisfy me, I want all the live beauty I can get, and to me, that is the cars, and I want it full screen!

    And also they should make proper race and end of season video edits without bloody 60% time spent showing celebs, family or some jiggling feet and things of that “not-racing” nature!

  42. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
    3rd April 2015, 14:38

    James Hunt disapprove this

    1. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
      3rd April 2015, 15:29

      In all seriousness though, I agree with the idea of writer, although practically what F1 do currently is not as harmful as other category like, let’s say, MotoGP who really really expose women for men’s eyes pleasure. However, it’s not how we should solve things. We could remove the grid girls, but anyway they would seek any way to life what they want to, and there is every possibilities that they can turns to the lesser and worse opportunities.
      What we need is broader range of exposure to everyone on positive matter. When I say everyone, I mean everyone. Better school, better self-responsibility control of media, better understanding of each other which basically end wars and regain peace, better governing of countries, religions, or whatever.
      In terms of racing and technology, it’s better to encourage a brilliant mind girl to engage with physics and engineering (if she likes it of course) to be a future car designers; or into economics and management to be a next principals of teams or even the sports itself, invest a fortune in women kartings and junior categories (as previous COTD suggested) to obtain the very good talents, and so on….
      We can apply that to civilized Western and few others developed countries, step by step. But if we talking about the third world like Africa, war-affected Middle East, and others; boy, we had a long way to go to make this world better. And don’t forget that every time a good man want to shape the world better, there is a bad man trying to do otherwise!

  43. So we’re ranting about wanting more women in the sport but also want women that already in the sport (grid girls is as much part of the sport as team personnel, catering, circuit and media staffs) to go?

    Personally, as long as the girls is happy and don’t get forced to be grid girls I don’t mind having them. Banning them is actually just another form of sexism that telling women what they can’t do.

  44. I don’t really care either way. The same with the helmet issue.

    Although that post-race walk past rows of girls and their insipid robot clapping is always cringe.

    I wouldn’t miss them, but then again i dont really notice them apart from the above nonsense.

  45. digitalrurouni
    3rd April 2015, 15:00

    All this political correctness is getting on my nerves. So while we are at it how about having “grid guys” since we have “grid girls”? That should sort this out no?

  46. “From a pure business point of view it’s not hard to see why those same manufacturers, who want to sell cars to women as well as men, would not want to be seen as demeaning half of their potential market by treating them as sex objects.”

    While I agree that grid girls serve no purpose I have to disagree with the above statement. Clearly you’ve never been to an auto show or dealer showcase where they drape attractive models all over their new cars. Yet they’re still selling to women! Most of the more risqué girls are brought in by the actual sponsors and not the race tracks or promoters. FIA could get rid of grid girls all they want but the eye candy is still going to be there regardless.

  47. I’ve been taking about a ban for quite some time and I’m happy that the WEC has gone ahead with it.

    The problem with liberalism is that people tend to think that nothing must be prohibited under it. But it’s not that simple. Liberalism includes free thought and open-mindedness, using the powers of reasoning and logic to think out merits of a situation, rather than stooping to prevalent dogma and sticking to the status quo.

    Men and women are different, biologically. It’s true. The average man has a higher metabolic rate which leads to increased anabolic effects than is the case for a woman, on an average. The last three letters are key, and I think the gap nowadays is now longer as large as it was once. Why? Because once upon a time, the very existence of human beings was a question mark. People fought wars over land every day, everywhere, they fought against nature and wild animals. In that case, it was much more cost-effective for a man, who was anyway on an average physically stronger than a woman, to further develop his strength so as to ward off the dangers. War and fighting were the watchwords of people.

    But this is the 21st century. War is no longer as prevalent as it used to be. Even if it is, it is still not as physically grinding as it used to be. No marathon forced marches. The world has become a more cerebral place. It is still largely a dog-eat-dog world, but the variables have drastically altered. Due to this, the physical demands on men are not as high as they were before, and even if there is, it’s either cosmetic, or in sport, like weightlifting and wrestling mainly. In other sports, like motorsports, anabolic build-up may be important, but not to such an extent so as to create a huge gulf between men and women. There may be some genetic or evolutionary aspects that have been incorporated by natural selection, or by a Lamarckian use/disuse theory, but I’m not exactly aware of any concrete material on that.

    Women have proved themselves in motorsport. Yes, there may be some bad examples, but we’re seeing quite a revolution in 2015 itself. A considerable number of girls have signed up to drive in the various FIA-accredited F4 series that have come up this year. How they’ll fare is anybody’s guess, but the fact is, they are coming. Which means we’re having more and more girls in karting, many of whom are getting strong results as well. In single seaters at the moment, Beitske Visser has been faring very well against her male counterparts. This suggests to me, that all it needs is to make it a more suitable option for girls today, so that it’s not just the girls who have deep pockets but may or may not have the requisite talent, who come forward.

    Now we need to take into account why the grid girls are there in the first place. They’re there for the recreation of heterosexual men. Period. There’s nothing else to it. At one point of time, F1 was the domain of men, with only a smattering of female racers occasionally, almost none of whom made their way to F1 by dint of having shown any real pace anywhere. That may or may not have been because of the physical demands of what was seen as a dangerous sport in the earlier days. More likely, it was because of the largely patriarchal makeup of society in particular. What were women good at? They were good at acting as recreation for men, so throw them in on the grid as an embellishment et voila, you have a successful championship that has glitz and glamour. As Keith said, the biggest exhibition of this patriarchy is when we see the ‘pretty, frail’ girls with a painted smile on their faces, applauding the ‘heroes’ who have conquered the track with all their ‘testosterone’.

    But things have changed. The society in many places, has become far less patriarchal than it used to be. F1 now has two teams with women in very influential positions. A female driver drove in a practice session last year, and to be fair she didn’t embarrass herself. Yes, it’s tough to draw conclusions on the basis of one practice session alone, but I think she was at least able to show that she’s not miles off men in terms of pace.

    So is F1 is no longer the domain of men, why do we still have grid girls? Aren’t we here to see a sport? This isn’t the Oscars. In a motor race, there’s no point of logical reasoning that supports the idea of having scantily-clad girls present alongside race drivers on the grid, or en route to the podium. F1 is also not watched on TV by men only. More and more women are watching motorsports these days. If the major proportion of the demographic is heterosexual (an assumption supported by studies, though I am by no means marginalising the homosexual community), the concept of grid girls should be totally done away with. If not, there’s no logical basis for not having grid boys as well.

    Now I can understand the hue and cry regarding this. Some people believe that many girls will be left jobless after this. This is only applicable for those who work as full-time grid girls. I believe there should be a few proactive steps taken, either for compensation of for promotion of alternative means of livelihood which may or may not be related to this. That may or may not be possible, but the fact is, most people used to go for this job in the first place, because it was there. Although it closes down (for WEC) now, I’m sure many prospective grid girls will take the effort to find other means of occupation, means which may or may not involve showing off of one’s feminine physicality.

    Another point of contention is that it is a trivial issue which F1 should not bother itself with. Frankly, no it’s not, due to the many reasons I’ve stated. Doing nothing on this regard is basically a way of siding with the sexist and dogmatic patriarchal mindset which has no place in the 21st century, in a sport where, it does seem that the gap between men and women, is fast closing.

    I’m also depressed to see several sexist and misogynistic views espoused by many users. I guess a total evolution of the mindset still has a long way to go, in not just underdeveloped and developing nations, but developed countries as well.

    Finally, big kudos to @keithcollantine for taking up this issue as an opinion piece.

    1. I think the gap nowadays is now longer as large as it was once.

      *no longer

    2. @wsrgo Good comment +1.

      Regarding your point

      Some people believe that many girls will be left jobless after this.

      20 Minutes jobs once in a year is not a full time job and that will never take the bread away out of anybody’s table !!!!

  48. They’re hardly treated as ‘sex objects’ unless women dressed in modest clothing is a major turn on for you.

    I don’t think the laws of attraction are anything to be ashamed of and I find this sort of ‘outrage’ at our physical bodies utterly baffling.

    I say long live the grid girls and down with this pernicious new puritanism!

    1. It’s about the roles more than the amount of skin @f1bobby

      1. I don’t believe that being a model is an illegitimate way to earn a living. It’s smacks me as patronising to say that a woman only has a place in the sport if she’s Adrian Newey or Lewis Hamilton.

        1. That’s a different issue @f1bobby. In the context of fashion being a model is a different role from being a grid girl in motorsport.

          In F1 the men have the power roles, barring a few exceptions, and the grid girl role consigns females to the role of being the prize, where her value and status is a function of the male she can hypothetically attract in only one dimension. She is passive and subordinate, exercises no skills, has no knowledge or judgment.

          It is this inferior role for women that is damaging. They just stand there. They could be a bovine species, mentally.

          1. Well, we disagree with one another but it was nice to have an argument without resorting to insults. A rare thing on the internet.

          2. That was mean! But really true.

  49. I think I feel the need to support Keith here. This is a great website and he raises relevant issues frequently and this one certainly merits being raised and discussed. I agree with him but it’s clear that we have quite a few people who seem to support an alternate view – shame!

  50. It’s a simple matter of principle, and I would suggest sport in general has a wider sexism problem, which F1 is part of.

    Just because something has always happened, does not mean it should continue to. Some golf clubs still ban women for no good reason. Football still has a racism problem, but just because it’s part of the furniture doesn’t make it right. Would changing those things be a sign of a sniffy politically correct society, or is it progress?

    If I wanted my daughter to watch F1, I would want her to think she had a shot at driving the car. By having women as grid ornaments and then in the horrendous tunnel of clap after it F1 presents women as an object to admire, not people. If you keep ramming that home across a weekend, views become formed that such behaviour is normal, when in 2015 it shouldn’t be. I can only imagine a woman watching an F1 race will turn off the moment it demeans her entire sex as any right minded person would.

    Sexism is now on a par with bullying, racism and any forms of demoting other people for no reason other than how they were born. We are all the same, we are equals. Yes F1 has bigger fish at the moment, but the removal of grid girls when it comes will be about 30 years too late.

  51. Instead of banning grid girls why do they not encourage more men to be grid boys? As a motorsport fan, I for one wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to get closer to the cars (or bikes) and get an idea of what it’s like being on the grid preparing for a race. What I mean is, these women are presumably motorsport fans and have this chance to get closer to the action (and get paid for it), they aren’t going to turn down that kind of opportunity. Why stop them just because a few PC people see it as sexist?

    1. RealityCheck
      3rd April 2015, 16:44

      Agree! Don’t get rid of the grid signs, but yes, open the door for more people to be on the grid, women or men, ugly or pretty!

  52. I always cringe a bit when I see grid girls.. I would have done away with them a long time ago. However, I get the whole sex sells argument so I would be willing to tolerate it if they would introduce grid boys too (just to balance things out). If men get eye candy, women should get it too.

    1. Really, it’s just astounding to me that some people cannot grasp the reality that grid girls ARE eye candy for women.

      By far the biggest selling issue of Sports Illustrated is the (ahem) swimsuit issue. If you’re under the impression that it’s the biggest selling issue because of men and boys then allow me to disabuse you – it’s the biggest selling issue because, unlike the issues of SI which focus exclusively on sports, millions of women buy it to ogle the pretty girls in scanty outfits.

  53. I applied once. But they didn’t need a 20 year old with chest hair in a bikini.

    1. FlyingLobster27
      3rd April 2015, 18:14

      Nice one, @xtwl ! The irony is that taking you on would have been even more PC than scrapping grid girls!

  54. As a heterosexual guy, I do believe that women with half of their flesh showing has a time and a place, in exactly the same way that men with half of their flesh on show has a time and a place too, but that time and place is not at a motorsport event. I understand that 40 years ago in the eras of James Hunt and Barry Sheene that motorsport was seen as a ‘sexy’ thing, but I’m not one for wearing rose-tinted glasses.

    Unsurprisingly, I watch motor racing for, well, motor racing. Having your eyes glued to attractive people of the opposite gender/same gender/whatever takes your fancy has a place, but that place should be behind closed doors, and not on show. I could not care less about whether grid girls are there or not, but looking at it from a neutral perspective, motorsport should either cater for all or for none in this respect. It is not as if women do not take an interest in motorsport, I am sure that there are plenty of women who read this site and I have many followers on Twitter who are women. I don’t see why motorsport has to be targeted at men only.

    Ultimately I am all for more women in motorsport, but I would like to see them in proper roles such as the one Claire Williams or Leena Gade (Audi’s race engineer, won Le Mans) is in, as oppose to stand there and please the needs of men.

    WEC has taken absolutely the right decision here, and I agree with all of Keith’s points in the post above, but I would take it even further and debate whether motor racing needs to even be ‘glamorous’ at all in this era. I don’t even consider Monaco to be all that glamorous now despite its claim as the most glamorous motor racing event of them all, as it is just a street circuit with a usually processional race to me.

  55. Ban grid girls, scratch out historic tracks lika Spa and Monza, add batteries, choke noise… whal will remain? The holly crap! :-(

  56. I fail to see what the grid girls are adding to F1. They hold a number on a pole. Surely it’s cheaper easier just to get a stand to do that job.

    Every race that goes by with the grid girls is another race where the FIA and FOM demonstrate that they’re dinosaurs stuck in the past.

    For those who insists that staring at beautiful women is an essential part of motor racing, I’d like to point out there are plenty of free or cheap ways of staring at beautiful women. Although I’m pretty sure you’re aware of that already…

    1. @fluxsource – absolutely agree. But it’s worse than “fail to see what the grid girls are adding to F1”, it’s what they take away.
      My young daughter quickly spotted that F1 is “just for boys”. It was hard to argue with that observation when all the drivers are male.
      I’m taking her to watch drag racing and banger racing this summer in the hope that she will see that ladies also drive. Fast.

  57. Political correctness is the process whereby a tiny minority imposes their view of the world on the great majority under the self-congratulatory pose of “protecting minorities”.

    What next, a rule mandating that each team must have one male and one female driver?

    For those of you who have managed to live their lives as human beings while remaining completely oblivious to to human nature, people have an inate urge to show off. This urge manifests itself differently in men and women. Men like to show off by doing difficult, dangerous, sometimes stupid things which demonstrate skill and bravery, while women like to be admired for their grace and beauty. And men like to watch other men doing difficult, dangerous, sometimes stupid things which demonstrate skill and bravery, while women prefer to watch other women looking pretty in skimpy costumes. It’s no coincidence that the sports most popular with the female audience are womens gymnastics and womens ice skating.

    1. Political correctness is the process where unjustifiable and unfair practises, rules and modes of speech are replaced by ones that try everyone fairly.

      I’m not sure this grid girl argument comes under the guise of political correctness anyway. It’s just crass, antiquated and pointless, and it’s time for it to go.

      1. @fluxsource – agreed. The phrase “political correctness” has gained the same sort of negative vibe as “drugs”.
        I was recently asked if I had taken “drugs” at a security check. Of course I said yes… but then I was accused of wasting their time when it transpired that I had taken legal, prescription drugs.

      2. Who died and appointed you to decide what’s “fair” and impose it on the the rest of the world?

        1. I think pretty much everyone who’s opinion is worth listening to has come to the conclusion that sexism is a bad thing. Make of that what you will.

    2. @rm, you dont understand the concept of “Sexism” at all, you are basically brainwashed, but it is ok, that is how you were brought up- billions in the world weretoo. Feminism is something that has been addressing these equality issues, and many men like you can not come to terms with it as you feel it is stupdid “PC” when infact it is just making the world right. Luckily many men are listening and understand, and are taking on feminist thinking to right the wrongs of the world so that our children male or female can have the freedom to choose what they will become.

    3. Not everyone has an innate urge to show off, not everyone who does is limited to the ways you describe, and there are no gender restrictions on any given form of showing-off (though in some cases there is cultural encouragement for some people – sometimes but not always separated by gender lines – to do some forms of showing-off at the expense of others).

  58. Nobody forced these girls to be “pit babes” and i dont see a need for it to be banned just like the helmet issue. It should be up to the respective organizers if they want these attractive women on camera or not.

  59. Why stop at grid girls?
    I am in the US, I look at the NBA, I look at the NFL, I look at the NCAA . Why should individuals be allowed to dress in cheer uniforms making a career of energizing the crowd? Or help pay for ones University by way of a scholarship in cheer?
    These individuals should only make a career from doing something that is acceptable to whom?
    Who is going to determine when something is not what we want to see? I don’t need that help, thank you very much.

    1. you know there are many male cheerleaders, but notice how these sports choses the girls to do it, and not wearing much clothes. the cheerleaders thing it also dated and misogynist, that can be cleaned up too to get with the times.

    2. While I am not a supporter of Cheer Girls, I believe that Cheer Girls concept is a bit better than grid girls. The cheer girls at least get involved in acrobatics and group dancing, cheering logistics while the gird girls stand in the hot Sun (Mostly) half dressed with a simple number board pole in their hands. They put up an huge artificial smile when the camera zoom in on them.

      Personally i believe that the Cheer girls should be replaced by middle or elementary school kids who can provide the same cheering to the kids crowds for these games.

      1. I’m not sure if you have been to an NBA game or not, but here in Oklahoma City the Thunder Girls line the aisle in the stands going up into the crowd during game play. They don’t really do much “cheering” during the play. They stand and smile in the aisle.
        Your point is taken, as they are on the floor doing routines during time outs and at half time and after the game.
        I just fail to see where an outside party should have a say in what an individual chooses to do. It would be a different story if these girls were being forced to be grid girls….

    3. Sorry dbHenry, but acceptable in the US is not necessarily acceptable everywhere else!
      A family dining establishment called “Hooters” sums it up!

      So, justifying Grid Girls on the basis of normal NBA or football cheer leading doesn’t fly with me.

      That said, I personally don’t find anything wrong with the Grid Girls holding the boards
      on the Grid. Somebody has to, and they might as well be easy on the eyes. If marketing dictates we get Tom Daley, David Beckham, or even someone interesting instead, who cares?

      However, the simpering line up post race, like they are the prize or something,
      is just offensive.

      Also, the fact that Ecclestone obviously arranges a bus load with matching uniforms
      means there is no room for marketing to dictate that we bring in some alternative,
      such as oiled up Chippendales to bring in the female viewers.

      My problem is that this is all simply Bernie’s antiquated opinion and prejudice.

      Let the teams and their marketing sponsors place their own Pit Board Holders (no
      gender specified) and not have FOM choosing the lot. Would be fun to see who
      gets chosen. McLaren might have Mr Bean, but Arnie isn’t tall enough for Mercedes!

      I also wouldn’t mind seeing Ferrari and Torro Rosso competing for the cutest Grid Girl,
      so long as any team can choose a really cute Grid Guy if they want. I do hope none of them are compelled to simper after the race.

  60. Anyone asked the grid girls if they want to be there?

    1. That’s not the point at all

      1. It’s absolutely the point. Do you get to impose your world-view on everybody else or do individuals get to choose their own world-view. That’s what this whole thread is about. Righteous do-gooders imposing their view on others or individual choice.

        1. I couldn’t have said it better!

        2. It’s not about the individual grid girls @ceevee, it’s about the roles F1 assigns to women and broadcasts around the world as aspirational.

          And this kind of debate is how culture evolves and advances.

          1. It is about the individual grid girls ! If they like to do it, and if they want to do it there is no reason why they should not be able to do it. If you and others have a world view that a grid whom is there on there own free will is symbolising some kind of oppression or something then simply do not look at them.

          2. It’s not about the individual girls JDD it’s about gridgirl as a role for women – passive and decorative only.

          3. No, it’s about YOUR view of how F1 assigns roles. Which is correct the way you see things or the way other people see things. Do we have to all see things YOUR way or can we each have a different viewpoint and are any of the differing viewpoints either best or correct.

          4. You can explain why the issue is not the projection of women’s roles @ceevee

            For my part I absolutely agree that if the opportunity is there then the girls who go for it are not to be blamed or thought less of in any way.

        3. No one here is imposing their world view on anyone, they are just stating opinions. For my part I would be very glad not to have to explain the grid girls phenomenon to my daughter as she becomes old enough to take an interest in what I am watching.

        4. @ceevee If your world view is a sexist one that is demeaning to women, then I absolutely reserve the right to impose my view on you. Right is right – that you want to live in the past has no value here.

          1. Adam Hardwick you are superimposing your views on what I said. Nothing in my comments could be taken as sexist unless you see sexism everywhere and anywhere. Your ‘right’ to impose your views on me is the refuge of all who lead the charge to war in the name of ‘doing the right thing’

          2. Right is right

            And smug, arrogant, self-righteous prigs are smug, arrogant, self-righteous prigs.

          3. There’s a difference between recognising unfairness or inequality in a society and helping to remedy that, and deciding what you personally think is right and demanding others bow to your opinion.

            You have absolutely no right whatsoever in trying to impose your view on anyone else, regardless of what it is. Choose your words more carefully.

        5. Do you get to impose your world-view on everybody else

          Waste of time asking these people that question, because they’re 100% certain that the answer is “Yes”.

  61. I’ve been to quite a few BTCC races now, have spoken to many of the grid girls (they’re mostly my age) and have become acquainted with some of them. All of them have been very intelligent, and the majority have been university students. They often have a passion for racing themselves, and they spend the weekend working for the teams and interacting with their sponsors representatives and fans. They all love doing it – if they didn’t, they wouldn’t do it – and far from it being something that shuts females out of the sport, it’s seen as a way for a lot to get involved for them.

    1. Duncan Snowden
      4th April 2015, 18:16

      Gosh, an informed, reasoned argument on the subject that treats the people involved as rational, thinking individuals. You won’t get very far.

      (Well said, by the way.)

  62. f1 still using pit babes continues the sexualisation of women, the western world has come far to make life for women more fair, this is a nobrainer, get rid of this misogynist rubbish and lets make the world more equal, imagine how an 8 year old girl doing gokarting against young boys feels when she watches major racing championships and sees no females racing, and the only females in the show standing around as sex objects. f1 has other issues to fix, but this issue would take no time to fix. the men that want them to stay, how would you feel if there were scantily clad men as the pit babes, i bet you would not like it.

  63. Keith’s just pulled up the F1Fanatic floorboards, a lot of death rot beetle present.

  64. I want to point out that saying grid girls are bad because the women should “cover up” implies some amount of policing what women can and can’t do with their own bodies. This is less about whatever your standards of decency might be and more about the objectification of women.

  65. hauspanzer (@)
    3rd April 2015, 17:50

    Good, brave article, Keith. Somebody had to say this, and I completely agree with you. The embarrassing way the majority of women are treated by F1 is one part of its problem.

  66. I have no opinion on this matter but I will say that a lot of people seem to forget this is a “comment” article where Keith gives his personal views on a particular topic.

    And unfortunately some take it too seriously but at least it opens a debate on the situation.

    1. It certainty has created heated discussion and must have driven the site traffic up which must be good for Keith and the site, even though, I’m pleased to see, large number of people disagree with him. I do hope it was not done with this purpose, but was just an honest opinion, seems that way at least.

      @mantresx I don’t agree with you that some take it too seriously. It’s an opinion put up in public space, so it’s fair game, it’s open for public scrutiny and discussion.

      I have contempt for this “It’s just an opinion..” mind set, as some have done here, taking offence and trying to silence a counter argument. It stifles discussion, progress and change. I don’t see how a heated discussion is bad, as long as it remains constructive.

  67. FlyingLobster27
    3rd April 2015, 18:09

    In all of this superficial fracas, Gérard Neveu’s best sentence in his declaration is going unnoticed.
    “The stars are the sportscars and the drivers.”
    It sounds incredibly simple, daft almost, but it shows how positive, confident and sane the spirit of mind in the WEC is at the moment, and why it’s getting so many calls right compared to F1, including this one IMO.
    Obviously, no-one can imagine Bernie Ecclestone saying “I hereforth ban glamorous ladies from the grid”, but seriously, I can’t imagine him repeating that basic, yet excellent quote from Neveu either.

  68. I have no opinion on grid girls. Banning or no banning, it does not bother me. There are more important things that F1 needs to focus on, like getting rid of Bernie and CVC for example.

  69. Some of the loudest boos I’ve ever heard were at one particularly hot Canadian GP where they redirected the flag hoisting grid girls on a shortcut away from turns one and two. The boos and angry curses rained down as the grandstands missed their chance to catcall and hoot at these gals. Personally I have no issue with or without them, but I have heard some pretty horrific/funny/filthy things shouted at these women from a family filled stand over the years as they parade past.

  70. Reading the comments here, it would seem that people watch Formula One more for the grid girls than for the racing itself.

  71. The females on the grid, whom I refer to as ‘dolly birds’ do not offend me. I regard them as something that just happens, like it does in boxing.

    What amuses me is the gorgeous gals who are waiting in the wings as girlfriends of the racers – they almost all have long blond hair, even Bernie’s bit of stuff. Do the fellas think these women really love them? To me they are gold diggers or just tasty titbits for the men.

  72. I never really paid attention to the grid girls. I don’t mind see them gone just as I would not mind seeing them there. I think the claim that pit girls degrade women is pretty nonsensical. First of all most of those women like to be models. For some of them it was a childhood dream. For others being in the f1 race can be a big deal too. And let’s say this too. Some of those women like the attention. Do we still live in the 1650 where women are objects we need to protect so they are not spoiled or misused? Should we pity these women for what they (have to) do?

    In the grand scheme of things there are reasons why some things exist and in huge majority of the cases the motive is not some ideological suffering of some group of people. Pit girls at the time brought visibility to their team. It is marketing. Sure it is aimed mostly at men but that alone does not make it bad. As a man I certainly don’t feel bad about liking women. If the audience is mostly men then having pitgirls may be a part of viable marketing strategy. It is the same thing with expos where mostly beautiful women present the products. Is that horrible too?

    To me it seems that this is just yet another issue where mostly small group of vocal men and extreme feminists refuse to see these models as nothing more than victims who are in need of saving. From themselves? You seem to think these women are there almost against their will. Having them there does some kind of damage. You only seem to be able to see the sexual reasons why those pit girls are there.

    I don’t know if having pit girls is a viable marketing strategy anymore. They are not seen in the broadcasts and as such their existence seems to only serve the people in the starting grid. But like I said I don’t really mind either way. I’d like to live in a world which is based on meritocracy instead of how you look being more important. But even in meritocracy nation there are people who do modelling for their livelyhood. I don’t see these people just as sex objects. They are professionals in their field and as such the only sexism or “sex-objecting” happens between the brains of the onlookers.

  73. I whole heartily Congratulate the management of WEC for doing this. In a time where we could possible see full time lady drivers are in F1, it is high time that F1 must do away with the concept of glamour girls be on the grids and the podium. I believe it is an insult to the female gender in general and shows a Male chauvinistic attitude in the sport which is is trying to equalize itself between all genders.

    A Simple Portable LCD Name Board with the Driver information like name , nationality along with his/her Qualifying Position, Qualifying time etc can be put on the front of the car when the Grid is being made ready for the race. This can be the responsibility of the teams and the Teams can use this to advertise their Sponsor information. Teams can push this cost to the sponsors to make it creative and display the details in the best possible manner. I am sure the teams and the marketing divisions of the Sponsors can get pretty creative over this. (Look How Creative Red Bull got with Seb’s helmets !!! )TV cameras can zoom in around them. It is a win win for all the parties.

    If F1 can waste its time in creating silly rules like Helmet design ban, then this can be more noble attempt.

  74. @keithcollantine I couldn’t agree more with this article. It’s depressing to see how much vitriol expressing a view like this has attracted.

    My wife only started watching F1 in 2007 and, without fail, at every Grand Prix since she has commented on the cringe-worthy spectacle of having the podium-placed drivers clapped exclusively by women.

    Some of the arguments in favour of retaining grid girls on here are completely illogical. I’ve read “But it’s traditional” – well traditionally, we’d have continued to race even if a competitor died – I don’t think that is a traditional that would continue today. Another argument was “Well no-one is forcing them to be there, it’s their choice”. Again, this is nonsensical – I’m sure you could probably find people who you could pay to “black up” or wear Nazi uniforms at Grands Prix, it doesn’t mean that it would be appropriate.

    This is yet another image we have that encourages women to be seen as inferior to men; the grid girls who’s only job is to look pretty and fawn over the male drivers. It’s completely inappropriate.

  75. 100% agree!

  76. F1 should ditch artificial glamour altogether, grid girls included, and focus on racing/sport/financial issues. Fia/Bernie should take a look at Finnish folk racing for proper glamour adjustment.
    There was a interview recently where Finnish racing driver Emma Kimiläinen and she said “Glamour in F1 is as real as hardwood steering wheel on a Lada”.She have also been asked to be a grid girl but refused. I can understand that might feel like an insult when you are a real racing driver.

    Fun fact: Kevin magnussen who was her team mate at the time(2008 adac formula masters) crashed into the rear of her car resulting in retirement.

  77. @keithcollantine I just wanted to thank you for this article. I fully agree with the idea, the wec new rule was an excellent occasion to talk about that and reaffirm an opinion about gender equality.

  78. Keith, social issues of this nature are way beyond your field of expertise.
    You presented an immature PC-driven and slogan-oriented view that fails miserably short at presenting the issue in a fair light, which deserves harsh condemnation. Quite frankly, I’m disgusted to witness such a low level of journalism on this website.

    My view point has been perfectly worded a number of times already in this comment section so I’ll restrain from that.

    Please don’t go that way ever again and please don’t tell any woman she can’t be a grid girl if that is what she pleases (!).

    1. @damon
      Unfortunately, he has a poor record when it comes to self-righteous texts. Great race analysis and statistics can be found on this site, photos as well, but texts dealing with social issues have always been incredibly shallow and/or biased (ironically, since he is always trying so hard to present himself as being impartial).

  79. I think Bernie is actually working on this. He has succeeded to reduce the number of grid girls from 24 to 20 in recent years and probably we will see even less this season. But honestly speaking I don’t think grid girls will be gone before Bernie. He has to put up show for his wealthy friends and organizers and grid girls are just a part of it. And they don’t give a damn about political correctness.

  80. In full transparency, I did NOT read all of the previous comments, but I second all of those who responded about this issue being so minor in the priority list of worng things to be fixed list in F1.

    Expanding the circus and maintaining races in countries with ATROCIOUS human rights records is FAR more pressing than banning sexy girls from the grid.

    While we even talk about this, we fail to talk about REAL problems.

    But, based on the number and speed of comments, we do know it touched a nerve.

  81. It’s impossible to read something more pathetic than this. YOU are the one spreading falacies! There’s nothing logical about having beautiful girls around ONLY for gratification of man. You lefties know nothing at all, it’s ridiculous.

  82. Personally, I don’t think the grid homo should simply be removed.

    A better solution would be to someway, somehow, make grid boys work as well.

  83. There’s one major, mightily important question that is getting ignored when we start saying we should get rid of Grid Girls for whatever reason and that’s ‘who’s going to hold up the boards to show which driver’s where on the grid?’. Why isn’t anyone thinking of spectator convenience?

    1. Free-standing stands and a number of alternative categories of people to hold the numbers have already been proposed. This is less of an issue in WEC than F1, because WEC has minimum race number size rules, and one of the compulsory places to put the number is on the side of the car.

  84. While for now it continues to be used as only girls instead of the mix of grid girls and grid men, yes I can agree the practice isn’t working. But I take one phrase of yours as a bit misinformed and short sighted.

    And as fans of motor racing that we should reject the latter: ‘sex sells’, but our sport should not stoop to that and does not need to. Few others have anything similar.

    American football, basketball and now even baseball all have cheerleaders. Do you really think other sports are above sex appeal? I’d argue that F1 is pretty well in line with most sports in that regard. But why is the idea of using sex appeal seem like it’s “beneath” sport? For racing in particular, it already is appealing to it’s audience on a very base level: adrenaline, loud noise and physical fortitude. Saying that sex is beneath us is like saying any other of the most human of urges and desires is beneath us. Of course it’s not. It’s simply a widely shared experience of humanity, hence why it’s so effective. And as you pointed out: F1’s sex appeal of it’s grid girls is actually pretty on the modest side. So it’s definitely not taking it in a crass direction that would be inappropriate for children. Those same kids could probably find more revealing outfits in commercials and on magazine covers in the grocery check out line.

    Like I said: right now the way it’s being used is not okay and it may be for the better to do away for now until we can be inclusive enough to use both men and women (or even some non-binary genders). But I definitely disagree with the assessment that it is wrong simply because it is using attractive people and appealing to the enjoyment of those people’s physical appearance. When we can have a mix of both holding the driver’s numbers, I would be absolutely in favor of bringing back “grid people.”

  85. This is the stupidest / weakest article I have ever read on this website. What a waste of time.

  86. I don’t really have an opinion about this. I don’t mind if they stay, but if they’re gone I wouldn’t miss them.

    But looking at it in a traditional way, imagine what James Hunt would’ve said about the suggestion to remove grid girls. Traditions are somethings F1 needs to cling on, especially in the state it’s in at the moment. The question is, are grid girls an F1 tradition or are they not?

    1. There were no grid girls in any part of motorsport before about 1967, and it took several years for them to be imported into F1 from Japan. James Hunt was lucky to be born when he was because if he’d been born 6 years earlier, he’d barely have seen a grid girl in his driving career.

  87. OOOOH, poppycock, I am so glad that I will be having my 75th birthday this year and while not expecting anything in particular in the way of sex after life on this planet, however, while I am spend eternity in heaven (now that I think about it I Wonder what we do up there to pass the time) If F1 (not sure who this really is) wants to appeal to the universal market maybe they could have one grid person of each race, each on the genders (no longer sure how many that is), each of the dress preference group, and so on………… This may be a problem as there will not be enough cars on the grid to cover the plethora of potential grid persons. Just sort of wondering or ambling via my keyboard. Thanks, Norris PS No I am not anti anything or anyone!

  88. Grid girls are part of the show, why remove them? And they are hot, so leave them !

  89. Fully agree.
    Also think F1 would be wise to consider adopting WEC engine regs to allow crossover between the two for manufacturers. Set the fuel limit for the race at 100 litres and let all of the tech already built spill in WEC spill into F1. The two series’ should be far closer and allow crossover for powertrains.

    1. F1 engines are allowed in WEC, so crossover is already possible. The trouble is that an engine primed for F1 would be useless in WEC, and an engine that would perform well in WEC would either struggle in F1 or break some restriction in F1’s ruleset.

  90. @keithcollantine Thank you for writing this article. Not only has it served to yet again highlight an area where the FIA and FOM don’t seem to have realised that the world has grown up a little bit in the past 20 years, it’s also served as a reminding that you can’t assume all F1 fans get it either.

    For believing, and stating, that the use of grid girls is pointless, out of date and sexist I’ve been called a “smug, arrogant, self-righteous prig”, been told that because someone else holds a different point of view I have no right to interfere and seen countless examples of people defending a practise using arguments that are chauvinistic at best.

    Sometimes it’s easy to think that we’re nearly there when it comes to sexism. Thanks for exposing the rot, and reminding us to keep on fighting.

  91. I’m pretty sure my points have already been brought up, but five pages of comments full of heated debate is just too much for me to read through (and I won’t hold any grudges against anyone who skips my comment on the same ground).

    For what it’s worth, I’ll offer my view.

    I think there is a number of, well, not problems, but, shall we say, one-sided views presented in this article and despite it being a comment itself, I’m terribly disappointed that, as one on a fairly well-visited site, it didn’t care to incorporate some counter-arguments to give it some much-needed balance and depth. (The article would have lured this many people anyway, I would say. Maybe even more, if both sides arguments would have had seeds in it.)

    1) It doesn’t say anything about why the girls originally got there in the first place – the glamorous past of GP racing, when driving was dangerous and hence immensely lured ladies who adored the winners as brave heros (which they were). This is the heritage of this habit and the reason why girls went down the grid to meet the James Hunts and went celebrating their wins on the podium with them.
    2) I’m sure a lot of the grid girls still have some of this affection and are happy to do the job – in fact, I know one who did it and liked it very much, as far as I know. Thus, one of the most important thing in my view is that these grid girls gave their consent to this kind of jobs. The promoter wanted it, the girls wanted it, done deal. Period. That’s one argument a liberal opinion should not miss in any case.

    +1) Not strictly on-topic, but seeing this line, “lack of gimmickry” made WEC a pioneer… well, I’m sure no F1 fan would want to hear the unimaginable public upheaval about the balance of performance (BOP) mechanisms, if F1 took over the WEC approach. (WEC doesn’t need to strite for equalisation or spice-up “gimmicks”, because its BOP scheme can ensure a level playing field with good battles – but as BOP is decidedly and openly makes it its aim to destroy any kind of pace advantage, it would have no place in F1 in the first place. That’s probably the worst gimmick of all – one that’s not even brave enough to step into the light, it operates in the shadows instead…)

    The bottom line on the grid girl thing is, if some women want to do it, then simply let them. If someone doesn’t want to do it, then no problem, we should respect these decisions. Live and let live.

    1. The bottom line is not freedom of choice @atticus-2 but how F1 presents women’s role in life.

      There isn’t really the opportunity for Keith’s piece to present the argument that a few individual girls should have the opportunity to be on the grid, because it’s beside the point. We’d all go and stand there, I expect :)

  92. I really enjoyed this article Keith. You articulated something that has bothered me for quite some time.
    It adds nothing. Would any one enjoy the show less or actively switch off purely due to the lack of grid girls?
    Would anyone notice or care? I suspect not.
    But my toes wouldn’t have to curl every time I see a corridor of clapping women or a lady in a bikini holding a sign which is ultimately a distraction from the actual event. And I find it a little hard to explain to my young daughter.

  93. Invite some local karters and their parents. Have the kids wear their racing suits and hold the damn sign….
    These can be girls and boys 12-14 or so….

    1. I think that is a great idea. And the kids would have an absolutely unforgettable day.

  94. Looking at this from a complete different perspective, I don’t think the issue is whether or not it’s degrading etc, but it’s probably more the word “ban”.

    If the numbers of grid girls were reduced and slowly phased out, no one would care – but because the word “ban” has been used, people are complaining because it’s being forced upon them.

  95. @keithcollantine
    I wholeheartedly agree with your opinion and absolutely <3 your defense of political correctness.

    1. Would have loved to see a line-up of half-naked grid guys in Bahrain, Russia and Azerbaijan (and maybe other venues), though. It’d send a message that could raise F1’s reputation into the stratosphere. With the exception of said countries, of course.

  96. It works both ways here. Banning grid girls is a form of sexism in itself. Who are we to decide whether a girl chooses to be a grid girl or not? Hey, why not open it up to both sexes instead? Each team gets to choose if they want grid boy or girl or even the let the organizers decide?

    A good analogy here is pro wrestling. When I was young, I always wondered how come nobody was complaining about the skimpily dressed divas? Then I realised – hey aren’t the male wrestlers themselves dressed in underwear too? I then realised that there is nothing wrong for both sexes to want to, if they choose so, do what they want or show off themselves, as long as its not illegal.

    If we are talking about female empowerment, then let the girls choose for themselves. That is true empowerment. Us males deciding what they should do brings it back to square one. And by letting them choose I don’t mean listening to a few ultra feminists decide whats right. Its what each individual woman wants.

    1. I think Keith’s point is ban the position altogether. Women (and man) can’t choose something that doesn’t exist. That would be F1 empowering itself by showing forward thinking.

    2. Yes but how much should be ban and when is it over censorship? Should we start banning beauty pageants, girl sports, mens magazines, female magazines, pro women or pro men organization’s. Hey just about anything can be spun into a sexist issue if you really wanted to.

  97. I think this web site will change to WEC Fanatic as WEC do everything so great.

    I go to WEC races but F1 somehow will out last it. Group C was great then died as did British Touring cars and many others, F1 is always in crisis and keeps going and will be here at the top in 20 years time. Grid girls will not change anything and they have them in bike racing if anything showing even more. I think it’s great. They are not from poor families being forced into it…more likely aspiring models showing their natural looks off. People that put this down may see themselves as fat or ugly and don’t want to be reminded of it by seeing these nice ladies. They are like Nissan Micra owners who hate supercars.

    1. The reason Group C failed was because of the engines becoming too expensive because they were sourced from F1. F1 itself is now at risk of the same phenomenon. And it has failed before – it collapsed at the end of 1951 due to too few teams being able to afford it. The powers-that-be got round this by labelling F2 “F1” for two years until a cheaper top tier could be established that an improving world economy allowed the manufacturers to afford.

  98. I tend to fall on the side of getting rid of the grid girls, partially because I think it’s an opportunity for something new and cool. Auction off those positions publicly and give the money to a local charity. I’d love to stand on the grid and be a part of the atmosphere (though I don’t exactly have the funds to win that auction…). Maybe some local celebrities, as I’m sure many of the fans in the stands would prefer that to anonymous girls. Any other ideas?

  99. Yes, thank god this was finally brought up as an issue or the world was going to fall apart. Now off to solving world hunger and we can finally sleep at night.

  100. “If F1 is serious about encouraging women to participate as competitors it should do the same.”
    Next step – in order to get women participating in F1 – will be to make gender quotes, or have a woman and a male driver in each team. And to make the women competitive the males need to have a weight penalty in the car or a power deficit.
    If women had equal biological opportunity to reach the podium in F1 as men, then I guess they would already have been there. It would probably be the same as mixing genders in Handball, Football, icehockey or biathlon. It won’t happen just because gridgirls are banned.
    I would prefer to let local younger racing talents get the chance to be inspired by getting close to the show, but I think we shouldn’t interfere.
    How many of You, who supports Keiths article, watched the F1 race in Bahrain, while the Government was hitting down harshly on protesters in 2013? Keith covered it fully, while I banned it, but I would hate to see the Grid Girls be banned, because of PC.
    If You really care about women, then support our troops* fighting ISIS, because that makes a real difference!
    *: More than 60 nations are fighting ISIS:

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      4th April 2015, 3:28

      Sorry @palle, but supporting ‘our troops’ has nothing to do with caring about women. Especially when those troops include people like Lynndie England.

      You probably support women more if you focus on local issues like violence against women, glass ceiling, or ask them what they think about abortion legislation, etc., etc.

      1. @coldfly: I don’t understand Your comment, clarify please. I don’t know who Lynndie England is. I was refering to the good work done by more than 60 nations/militia to fight ISIS, among those is the British SAS and the Danish Air Force (I live in Denmark). And I can’t see how I can do more to fight violence against women than work for and support those brave soldiers.
        I don’t think it is supportive of womens rights to stand united with puritanists, who thinks they know what is best for women, and who thinks that gridgirls stand in the way of female drivers in F1. Women and girls who are being raped and murdered by ISIS, probably don’t care if F1 ban the gridgirls, and I don’t think the gridgirls will be pleased either. The issue isn’t about womens rights, its about some viewers wants to go back to Victorian times, because they feel embarrased to see beautiful women and either feel jealous or sexually aroused or have been brainwashed that girls participating in such a way are a disgrace to themselves and all women.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          5th April 2015, 0:12

          happy to clarify @palle.

          I don’t know who Lynndie England is.

          click on the link in my original response and it will be clear.

          The rest of your response-comment does not warrant a reply.

  101. @keithcollantine, WEC decides to ban grid girls, good for them! How is that a license to bad mouth F1? You make it sound as if F1 is some sexist organization that refuses to acknowledge women. For goodness sake, F1 is the one that put a female driver in the drivers seat, even if its only testing or practice, that is a big step. You have every right to speak on motorsports other than F1. You have the right to comment on social issues. But its quite clear this article is not really social commentary. Its a nothing more than a jab at F1. Your tone and unfair remarks make it quite clear.

    Take freedom of speech for example. What does it mean? It means we are free to think and say things, even if others find them offensive or vulgar. See where I’m going with this? I’m sure some people find certain comedians, artists, or writers to be offensive. Does that mean we should silence them? Of course not! Because you would be infringing on the rights of their fans. Gender equality is a serious issue and worth discussing. But don’t try to frame this PR move by WEC as human rights or an attempt at gender equality.

    If female drivers were being over looked because of the fact that they are female, we would have a problem. The reason motorsports is a male dominated sport starts when we are just little boys and girls. Just think about the way you grew up and how those experiences have shaped and molded you into a motorsports participant or enthusiast. You imagine a female living that life. Can you see what a challenge it would be for a girl to grow up that way. The social pressure, the stereotypes, the ridicule…etc. In our life times we are seeing more and more women rise to the professional level and challenge social norms. And that is a beautiful thing. Imagine being a male chef before it was cool. The issues you and everyone here are trying to address will not be affected or changed by what happens to grid girls. Whether we are offended, not offended, or indifferent to grid girls being present is irrelevant. It’s a personal choice! It’s a personal choice for a grid girl to participate and its a individuals have personal choice on whether or not they should be present. What’s next? Get rid of strip clubs because its degrading to women? What about male strip clubs?

    The bottom line is people are free to do as they wish as long as there is no force or coercion. Trying to engineer the world to our personal taste is futile. Its never worked. Many have tried and failed miserably. Look at the oppressive Islamic nations that have been trying to engineer societies. It never works!

    1. Yes absolutely people are free to choose. Keith would have F1 simply choose to eliminate the job, so there is no choice for women to make wrt this role in F1. A de-engineering of society in a way.

      Oppressive Islamic nations wouldn’t exist if the oppressors didn’t exist. If only their ‘job’ could simply be eliminated.

    2. Female drivers are subtly being overlooked because they are female. It’s easy to overlook because it tends to happen at the kart-to-car transition (and thus not visible to people who just follow F1), but sponsors in particular are much more reluctant to sponsor women than equally-capable men… …much of which appears to be due to their differing assumptions about what men and women will get the chance to do in racing.

      (And females do, frequently “live that life” as children. 40% of 14-year-old karters in the UK are female. The trouble is that it drops to 2% of 16-year-old car racers. That sort of drop indicates rather more than “choice” going on).

  102. Great comment piece, Keith. Completely agree with you, woman are not objects and this is some very old-school marketing ploy from our good friend Bernie.

    Sad to see some comments not seeing what the problem is. This is the Woman should be appreciated for who they are and what they say/do. Not what they look like. Very beauty pageant. Would be cool to replace them with some children: it’d expose them and their parents to the sport, isn’t that an audience that should be targeted?

  103. I want to see the girls. Who the frack wants to see the engineers and mechanics only on the grid…

    1. @shrieker People who are watching for the motorsport, perhaps?

  104. Wow… nearing 300 comments on such a topic, where I felt @keithcollantine ´s comment was rather self-evident and non-controversial.

  105. Rubbish! Grid Girls should stay. Some of course will always try to be politically correct but I love this tradition and seeing beautiful women. Maybe let’s do another gay parade at the beginning of each race… that would sale nicely in the current media….

    1. +100000
      Hahahah ;)

  106. I’m with Keith while at the same time I hadn’t been objectifying grid girls personally nor did I take their presence to mean women couldn’t do anything in F1. I’ve just always thought of them as pleasant hosts symbolizing the nation and culture of the venue they’re at.

    Women (and men) beautifying themselves for many reasons is a reality, so I would explain grid girls to a young daughter as them being hosts at an event, and include in the discussion the millions of examples now of all other things women in the world are doing fanastically that men also do. That all positions in F1 are available to women if they so desire badly enough. The world is their oyster. Then I’d take her karting.

    I’m not sure grid girls are a huge problem, although symbolically they can be made so. They don’t add anything to the actual purpose of F1, so the elimination of the job certainly would not hurt and could only help in the way Keith describes. Grid girls are certainly there for the show, not the race.

    I think sex will always sell because I think even if you could ever eliminate every outwardly public example of objectivity, men (and women) would still be quietly and to themselves thinking of sex all the time. It’s in us and if we were indifferent to it, we probably wouldn’t exist as a race.

    But this is about objectification of one gender outwardly and in public and what that says. If this actually says F1 thinks women are only useful in F1 in this role, we already have examples within F1 that say otherwise. So is it about education? Will WEC actually gain from this? Or is their very decision meaty enough morally without looking for material gain in audience, or cars sold to women? Was the presence of grid girls preventing women from watching and/or striving to be involved in any and every way? Is the object of selling more cars to more women, objectifying them? Will be interesting to see what difference grid girls or lack thereof makes to WEC’s bottom line. I hope it is really about more than that though, from the WEC.

    I’d just like to think that we can get to a point where it is so engrained in us that women can do all things, that grid girls do not pose a threat to their gender or society. Meanwhile, the elimination of the job certainly removes any need to question it. I’d combine it with promoting the industry to us, showing us the numerous numbers of women that we do not see that I’m assuming do indeed hold jobs back at the factories. FIA could showcase women in all aspects of all the series’ under their umbrella.

  107. As a female Formula One follower I find Grid Girls offensive and insulting. Their presence reminds us that we females of the species are valued, above all else, for our appearance and furthermore that it is perfectly fine for others to judge them on this basis. By retaining the presence of Grid Girls the FIA is endorsing this attitude, regardless of the increasing numbers of women who play important roles in engineering, management, media relations and other areas of motorsport.

    1. Why feel insulted? Most people who feel insulted by these are usually not that great looking themselves, or confident of their looks. Why deprive others an opportunity that you could never have had?

      And yes, men and women judge people of the opposite sex (and heck, I know women themselves who judge other women on appearance!) based on appearance. Have you seen the fans of boy/male bands such as One Direction and Maroon 5? Nothing but endless legions of girls and females swooning over the looks and appearances of metrosexual males.

      1. Niki, you have completely missed the point. F1 culture clearly shows men driving and women standing around smiling. This is not equality of opportunity. It tells us that F1 culture is about valuing men for their skills and women for their looks. Changing this 19th century view is nothing to do with taking away opportunities, rather the opposite.

        1. “This is not equality of opportunity” … how many ‘men’ don’t make it to F1 ? how many women actually try climbing the ropes.

          I think the real problem is people look at a TV screen and believe it has anything to do with reality. I think people who need an authority to protect them and exercise political control over others are dangerous. I also think you miss the point of that form of entertainment. It’s about sponsors and communicating the interests of the promoters/sponsors. Most “females” don’t want to drive in F1 they want to look pretty and be accepted and bla bla bla. That’s what the sponsors see and that’s what they have an interest in expressing to the masses who follow this form of entertainment. They also see guys who want to play sports and be competitive in that respect, so they know they will have that appeal and promote the appeal.

          It’s all about money, it has nothing to do with reality. Political correctness is a disease that ends up being documented in books like Gulag Archipelago. If you want to make life better for others, start by turning off the television and living outside the box.

    2. Please, first off women he selves judge other women based on appearances, let alone med judging women that way. Beautiful women will always be appreciated by members of the opposite sex. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

      If anything, your comment comes across as the insecure type. Are you by any chance jealous that these grid girls look much better than you?

    3. @arki19 While I absolutely appreciate that this is the way you feel, and the way you feel needn’t be argued against as it is simply the way you feel about this topic, you have also pointed out that the presence of grid girls has not prevented ‘the increasing numbers of women who play important roles in engineering, management, media relations and other areas of Motorsport’.

  108. Are there any grid girls on this site?? Since its a “women” issue we should get the views of a few women or else we are just like a bunch of dudes trying to describe what wearing high heels are like lol

  109. GB (@bgp001ruled)
    4th April 2015, 9:07

    I like grid girls! and i want them there! i would also like a girl like de silvestro running (a talented not precisely attractive girl)!!! the whole discission is really really stupid!!! ban the grid girls? ok, but lets make sure the cheerleaders in the nba are also gone! (what an idiotic idea, really!!!)

    1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      4th April 2015, 9:08

      i meant “driving”, not “running”…

  110. Robert McKay
    4th April 2015, 9:31

    Given by the number of responses, you’ve hit a bit of a raw nerve Keith!!

  111. I’m a female engineer and work in the F1 industry. I don’t particularly have a problem with grid girls and I certainly never thought that F1 was not for me because of them. I think what was more important for me growing up is that my family and teachers never tried to push me towards “typically female” roles and instead encouraged my love of Maths and Physics.

    However, I had a friend who used to do promotions for various events (not F1 but along similar lines of being paid to smile and look pretty at a launch party or something or other.) It looked like a lot of fun from the photos I saw. When I asked her about it she said that while the money was good and she needed it as a student they were treated really badly and she stopped doing the events as soon as she could afford to. It was long hours, often with no breaks and they were pretty much treated like meat. She said she had to deal with a lot of crap from guys who thought that as she was the skimpily dressed event babe that entitled them to something…

    If you look at the modelling industry there’s also a huge problem of abuse and with very young vulnerable girls being involved due to the fact that unfortunately a 14 year old is often seen by the fashion industry to have a more ideal female figure than a 24 year old, something that doesn’t happen with men.

    I agree that people should be able to choose what they want to do with their lives and in some ways it’s unfair that an attractive women can do perfectly well being a model or a WAG while men don’t generally have that option. I’m sure some women really enjoy being paid to stand around and look pretty as well and they probably have a lot of fun at some events. However, what concerns me is that modelling and doing promotions is sold as this glamorous party lifestyle while often the reality is often very different.

    So while I don’t have an issue with grid girls per se it’s what they stand for that worries me – you can make a good living as a young attractive woman but you’re certainly not being employed for your brains or personality so don’t expect to be treated like you have either. It’s not about being PC, it’s about how we value people and the roles that we want our children to see as aspirational. It’s for that reason that I think grid girls have had their day. To the men on here who are in favour for keeping them I’d ask this one question, if you have a daughter would you be happy to see her as a grid girl?

    1. you can make a good living as a young attractive woman but you’re certainly not being employed for your brains or personality so don’t expect to be treated like you have either.

      The thing is, some people really don’t have any brains, but have really good looks. So why take away their chance of earning fair living by doing something they are good at, when they don’t have much chance of being too good in other types of work?
      Every job has many positives and negatives. Even the jobs where your ingenuity and creativity are of the utmost importance, often include such stressful situations that many people lose health over it.

      1. Lol, perfect demonstration of the issue: ‘Grid girls are too stupid to do anything else’.

        They’re a bit of an underclass really. Like pets, kinda thing. But a certain type of guy can lust after them, at least. Not on an equal basis, naturally ;)

    2. Wow, thanks for the insight – it’s nice to hear from someone actually working in near proximity to the subjects of our topic here.

      As for your last question, let’s say, I would be willing to support my daughter, if she were to choose this path, although I have to admit, I wouldn’t be entirely happy. I would try to told her all the pros and cons I can come up with regarding the job and then let herself choose. I know I would feel terrible if something happens to her while in this role, but at the same time I would know that deciding on what profession to pursue in her life is probably the most important decision of her life so it’s essential that ultimately it’s she who decides on this particular matter.

  112. Wow! Such passion. Does anyone bother to ask the ‘grid girls’ why they do it. If I was female (which I’m not) and I was good looking (which I’m not) and I actually liked motorsport (which I do) then I would actively seek out the agency that would PAY ME to be on the grid at a Grands Prix. As I think someone said they are not sex slaves they are paid models. A profession of choice. A good looking woman who is aslo a motorsport fan is in a win, win situation until the PC monitors poke their oar in.

    1. Duncan Snowden
      4th April 2015, 18:28

      “Does anyone bother to ask the ‘grid girls’ why they do it.”

      Oh, that doesn’t matter.

      The irony can’t be ignored. Women should be shown that they’re free and equal rational beings by having activities they might want to do banned for their own good. Can none of the outrage-mongers see the problem here?

      A certain type of person can’t stand it if other people are having fun wrong. In mythology, they were embodied in the troll, whose name has sadly been appropriated in the modern world for a rather different phenomenon. Pity. It would be a useful word to have around.

  113. Honestly, I never saw the point in Grid Girls in the first place; like cheerleading in American sports, it’s a useless distraction from the thing I want to watch.

    However, that the removal of them is a blatant move to sate the crowd that takes PC matters much too far, as well as (should F1 do it), papering over the massive cracks in the sport, I have changed my mind. Keep them. The crowd this move would target most, those Thought Policing Social Justice Warrior types, need checked more than a far-overblown issue needs addressed. If F1 wants to take sexism seriously, don’t cherry pick the looks over the talent of the female drivers touted yet denied contracts that allow them laps in anger.

  114. Agreed. The issue of sexism is relevant, but the closer issue is how the sport can maintain a valuable identity. in the current era, having ornamental women hanging around puts F1 more in league with import tuner festivals than an international professional sport supported by major multinational corporations. Bernie thinks that ornamental women, on the grid and in the garages, adds status to the sport. He can’t understand that the aesthetic runs the other way now. It’s old fashioned and lame. It removes status. And F1 is not an old time bloodsport like boxing, defined by machismo and a “playboy” lifestyle. It’s no longer one of Hemmingway’s three “real” sports, and for the better. I know he thinks that the sport needs to focus on the old dudes with Rolexes driving Ferrari 348s with a trophy wife installed in the passenger seat. But that vision of F1’s market needs to be retired as well.

    And one important upside of this change hopefully will be the end of FOM spending many precious minutes during a race zooming in on some random girl in the garages, presumably admitted on Bernie’s order to let in any fit lady at the gate. It’s bad enough how directors are preoccupied with people’s WAGs. (In the U.S. it’s worse, where ABC will even use a split screen in the last laps so we don’t miss some WAG in the pits.)

    1. @dmw Well said.

  115. There’s sufficient interest in this subject to put up a poll @keithcollantine

    How about it?

    1. @baron – What people want and what is good for them often don’t match. It’s a bit like a referendum on whether the UK should be in the EU. Popular feeling doesn’t automatically equate to a good decision.

      1. You are quite correct. Scrap that idea.. along with Political TV debates..

  116. Duncan Snowden
    4th April 2015, 14:59

    “The practice embodies two damaging fallacies: that women exist only for the gratification of men, and that motor racing needs the allure of attractive women as part of its appeal.”

    Baloney. It embodies two unavoidable truths: men like looking at attractive women, and women are happy to exploit that. Where does this “exist only for…” exaggeration come from? Is anyone preventing grid girls from going to college? From holding day jobs through the week? No. F1 is not a 19th Century workhouse. They’re free and equal human beings. Nobody has a gun to their heads.

    You need this absurd hyperbole to make your case for preventing women who want to profit from their appearance from doing so seem reasonable.

  117. Keith, please stop with the clickbait! Crap. Got me after 400 other comments. Well played master, well played.

  118. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    4th April 2015, 15:51

    I disagree – I think F1 is meant to portray beauty and the perfect embodiment of that are beautiful women for the vast majority of the population – women included. The sport is international and it’s nice to see each country give people a taste of its natural beauty. Plus seeing the girls being chased away from the champagne at the podium ceremony is akin to a movie scene. You can make the same case for all of modeling…

    1. You can make the same case for all of modeling…

      @freelittlebirds Absolutely! When human beings stop putting on a pedestal those who have done nothing except have the good fortune to be born with a pretty face or body (men or women), we will truly be enlightened and our society will be much more fair and productive.

      1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
        5th April 2015, 2:57

        when human beings stop being attracted to people of the ooposite sex because of their attractiveness, that is when humans are no longer attracted sexually, that will be the end of humanity! well thought, @slowhands

  119. Grid girls are a vestige of a time when manly men went out to do big brave things and pretty obedient girls waited at home to pleasure them when they returned. If you can’t see what’s wrong with continuing that worldview than you’re simply being thick. It’s got nothing to do with political correctness, or appreciating beauty, or supposed job opportunities – no matter the arguments you can trot out about what’s ‘natural’ or ‘traditional’ it’s really all about whether you think that men and women are fundamentally equal. If you don’t, then someone raised you wrong and you haven’t made an effort to be a kinder human being since then.

    1. @maciek: And I think that You haven’t matured above the level of “If women are working in traditional womens jobs and wearing traditional womens clothing, then they are suppressed and it is indignifying for them”. What the heck, if some girls can get close to the F1 stars and earn a buck by having spend time and effort on exercise, and maybe even developed the ability to say “No” to unhealthy food, then why not. They are not necessarily stupid, because they are good looking, but most people do like to get compliments for their good looks, and all girls spend time in front of the mirror – much more so than boys.

      1. @palle I seriously have no clue what you’re on about or how anything you say relates to my comment.

        As far I can tell you’re telling me that being a grid girl will provide women with the opportunity to:
        -get close to famous men
        -exercise more
        -eat healthy
        -make money
        -spend time in front of the mirror.

        Is that the gist of your pro-grid girls argument? Congratulations, my logic lays in ruins before you.

        1. As a master of Science I don’t need to go into a debate about logic with You, but as a father I can tell You that lots of teenage girls spend time exercising, eating healthy, making money, time in front of the mirror and they study hard to be able to control their own future. Nothing contradictory in that – more so in the heads of the stereotypes, who sees the pretty girls and concludes that they are pretty, ergo they are dumb and being suppressed. And act

          1. Look, oh master of science, I never said anything about grid girls’ intelligence, potential benefits of the job, etc, ok? That’s apparently your own fixation. If you can’t see how pretty girls parading in front of men about to go into battle fills girls’ and boys’ heads with the wrong ideas about gender roles then I can’t help you.

  120. @keithcollantine Courageous post, Keith. The right thing to do is frequently not the popular thing to do, due to human beings’ enslavement to “tradition” and “culture” due to the discomfort of change and the effort it requires to ask yourself to see things differently than you always have. I admire you for having the courage to lead on this issue.

    1. That’s a bit patronising….

  121. This world has gotten too soft for me.

  122. If I thought I couldn’t despise WEC and all it represents any more, I was wrong. It’s the racing series I despise most of all others I happened to watch during over 2 decades of being a motorsport fan(actually it is the sporting enterprise I detest most in over 2 decades of being a sports fan)

    It’s not enough for them to be a poster child for endurance “racing” which is really just a high speed engineering exercise, extremely boring and definitely not what the word’s true meaning is. They have taken it now upon themselves to be the disease spreading host for the virus of political correctness in motorsport. That virus has been ravaging the Western society for decades, destroying any possibility of freedom of speech and expression , substituting it with the thought dictatorship of leftist liberals who forgot what the true meaning of the words “liberal” and “democracy” really is. If you don’t agree with them, you’re worthless. And now thanks to WEC this thought dictatorship and mindless war on anything related to the word “tradition” is threatening to destroy motorsport from within like everything else it touches

    To suggest that the grid girls tradition is somehow in any way responsible for lack of female drivers in motorsport is laughable, and just a fig leaf for failing to act on the real reasons for it, but just be seen doing something instead. The Toyota Prius WEC edition

    Tradition beats PC any day of the year for me. And WEC would be wise to go after fans like me instead of trying to appease the anti-democratic leftist radicals and feminists. Those groups are mostly tree-huggers as well, don’t care in anyway about motorsport except the very idea of motorsport is abhorrent to them.
    Appeasement never works. You hear that WEC, the Neville Chamberlains of motorsport?

    Now I’d like to exercise my right to free speech and wish the WEC the very worst both in sportive and commercial terms. Long may their profit lines be written in red and their grids dwindle so that the very thing about WEC grid girls becomes a moot point. Would so like to see that…

    1. the virus of political correctness in motorsport. That virus has been ravaging the Western society for decades, destroying any possibility of freedom of speech and expression , substituting it with the thought dictatorship of leftist liberals

      What a bunch of hogwash @montreal95. Yup, being told that you’re wrong about some things is a total impediment to your freedom of speech, because of political correctness. Malarky. What I love about opinions of this sort is that I’m sure you’re the first on the barricades of internet warfare when it comes to deriding others for blurring divides between right and wrong.

      Grid girls are a leftover of a dying mentality, where women are pretty and men are brave – because that’s tradition, don’t you know. Or wait, I guess I shouldn’t be making fun because I’m probably limiting your freedom right now, seeing as I’m a pawn of the leftist thought police.

      So what are all these things you really think that the nasty leftists prevent you from saying?

      I just don’t get it man. I mean if in the age of basically unlimited online content to suit all tastes you really need motorsport to provide your eye candy jollies, you seriously need to google around a bit more.

      1. “Grid girls are a leftover of a dying mentality, where women are pretty and men are brave”

        Aside from being enmeshed in contemporary leftist deconstructionism, you’re also wrong.

        Grid girls are pretty, and that will never be a dying mentality.

        1. Ha, yes I suppose that saying that F1 ought to drag its sorry carcass into the 21st century already definitely has to be an expression of some insidious postmodernism rather than simple common sense – aaaaah help I’m in a leftist matrix and I can’t get out.

          I of course nowhere said that grid girls aren’t good to look at, just that it’s a pathetic way for grown men to get their jollies.

    2. While I generally agree with your rant :-) I do think that WEC is a truer and more interesting form of motorsport than F1 is becoming (or, has become).

      However it is under the purview of the FIA, which is the touch of death from several different perspectives, with political correctness being second only to fickle yet obsessive/compulsive rule-making.

  123. I wholeheartedly disagree with Keith’s view but I am not a good enough writer to explain why with well reasoned facts and examples.


  124. Grid girls are incorrect? Then by the same token they should ban cheerleaders in High School, College and NFL football in the USA? Wait a minute… those cheerleaders perfom physical excercises so it’s correct to have them.. ok, then the solution is to replace the grid girls with cheerleaders. And lets be honest, for sure the crowd loves de Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders because of their skills don’t they? Common people, this ‘ban the grid girls’ nonsense is going too far!

  125. Yes, great idea. Next stop is introducing 50% quota for women on the F1 grid. So if there are some good male drivers who’re about to enter F1, we won’t let them do this, because there will be too much men on the grid, which hurts all the women watching races sooooooooo much and disrupt the gender equality. Instead, let’s put some talentless girls like Carmen Jorda. Yes, racing will get worse, bUT no problem, because we care more about the minorities. Oh, didn’t I mention the upcoming rule about compulsory 30% quota for people with non-traditional sexual orientation? Very important, isn’t it?

    Seriously, you talk about it like about something progressive. But it’s just another way of finding compromises so that noone’s feelings would be hurt. I can’t imagine a person who looks at the grid girl and thinks “oh, she’s just a decoration, and all the drivers are men, so women are men’s sex toys, that’s for sure”.

    No offense at the good female drivers like Suzie Wolff or Simona de Silvestro. But I don’t think any woman in this world will get something good if this rule will be introduced in F1.

  126. Is there any reference to support the claim that F1 (or any other motorsport series) “demeaning half of their potential market by treating them as sex objects.” has affected the automobile purchasing decisions of the greater female population worldwide? Sounds like an assumption unless it can be shown to be based on factual evidence.

  127. What a vast number of bigoted, reactionary comments – more than you normally see for a post devoted to, you know, racing. Very, very depressing. Perhaps this is why most women just aren’t that bothered about motorsport and F1.

    I do not want my baby daughter to grow up absorbing the unbalanced stereotypes that F1 promotes. What with the new quieter engines, I could be taking her to GPs in the next couple of years, but the way I feel after reading some of these comments I’m more likely to cancel the Sky subscription and stop watching altogether.

    1. Totally agree. These comments have been pretty shocking to read. I suppose it’s instructive to know what such a large fraction of F1 fans thinks of women, but it also makes me feel like I want little more to do with any of it.

    2. I also agree. I come to F1Fanatic to get relevant news and read the considered opinions of real F1 fans. This thread, more than any other I remember, has shown how so many of these fans can completely miss the point when you bring in some politics.

    3. I agree.

      F1Fanatic should not be permitting incendiary, politically-correct screeds to be offered as feature posts. Unless they’re looking for incendiary, “reactionary” comments in response.

    4. What? You mean you don’t think that being a grid girl is a great future opportunity for your daughter? Well, you must be a politically correct, anti-tradition, extreme leftist feminist.

      But seriously, I’d like to know what a lot of the men here would think if the only way for their sons to get close to an F1 grid position were to strap on tights and strike a pose.

  128. Spot on Keith. I yield to no one in my admiration of the female form, but the grid girls are an embarrassment – pure, pointless, sexism. There are very few instances in world sport or public life where this kind of thing can still happen without criticism (can you imagine “golf girls” at the Open?), and even in cases where it does (like in American football or Indian cricket), it is clear that the end is nigh. Even page three is over.

    We should have women in the cars, not draped over them.

  129. I’m not sure I would miss the GG if they went, but the PC arguments about why they should be banned is somehow revolting.

  130. You elevate an innocuous, nothing, yawner of an “issue” to an alleged symbol of grand importance. Actually it’s unadulterated political correctness, not to mention trivial.

    Even though I personally find the grid girls superfluous and maybe even a little distasteful, I think they are a manifestation of a much, much larger problem within the F1 circle. Time and time again, if not even weekly, we hear drivers (Hamilton, Button, others), directors, principals, TV commentators, and engineers talking about F1 as “the show” and “entertainment.”

    I can’t think of any other type of motorsport – except NASCAR – where there is such an emphasis on the stage performance. Which is no surprise because (a) viewers (not fans anymore) want “a show”, (b) viewers (not fans) sell advertising, and (c) advertising is money. And within the F1 circle it’s almost nakedly about money. So yes, “the show” makes a great deal of sense to them.

    The problem with F1? Fans come for the sport and for the racing, and not for the perverse and twisted idea of “the show.”

    I agree that WEC is becoming a much better expression of racing than F1. So too is rally car, BTCC, Blancplain, DTM, and several other forms. Maybe even IMSA.

  131. 383 comments so far, this is great! i read many misogenist comments stating political incorectness (it you are a misogenist, dont worry, you will never know you are!) it is great to see comments allowed about this topic – common sense about women being treated equaly to men will conquer, but we need men to vent their fears before common sense wins! i am glad f1fanatic is open to equality between men and women by starting a topic like this, many many other racing forums would not dare.

  132. Somewhat late to the discussion but as both a woman and an F1 fan, I have a few things to say in response. Firstly, the idea of grid girls is anachronistic and sexist in the extreme. As a woman, it distresses me that my sex is seen as having little to offer F1 other than prancing around in a short skirt cooing over the blokes. It does nothing to add to my enjoyment of the series to see some girl in a skimpy outfit holding up a flag. Survey the crowd at an F1 race, there is probably a 60/40 split of women there so we although we are in the minority, it is only just. Sure there is the odd woman role model there in Claire Williams, Susie Wolff or Montisha Kalternborn but they are the exception rather than the rule. Look at the mechanics, the pit walls, the drivers. All men. If I had a daughter, I’d be very worried at the message being sent.

    If women want to earn a living displaying their wares, then all well and good to them, I don’t begrudge them that. But they can do so in a variety of ways such as modelling where it is appropriate. In F1, the inclusion of grid girls and ‘face of the race’ is nothing but eye candy for the men. Treating 50% of the population in this manner diminishes us all.

  133. I wonder what’s next on what on the things to ban list for F1 maybe dropping 2 more cylinders so that all the cars sound like vacuum cleaners.

  134. Exposure of the fashion and beauty industry at racing events is a good thing. What kind of person would even suggest puting these hard working ladies and their support staffs out of work?

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