Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has criticised the sport’s new owners for ending the practice of using grid girls at races.
“These girls were part of the show,” Ecclestone told The Sun newspaper. “Fans love the glamour.”
A poll of F1 Fanatic readers conducted in 2015, when the World Endurance Championship stopped using grid girls, found a larger proportion of fans wanted F1 to do the same: 45% agreed “F1 should stop using grid girls” while 36% voted “F1 should not stop using grid girls”.
“You should be allowed to have grid girls because the drivers like them, the audience like them and no one cares,” Ecclestone said. “These girls were part of the show, part of the spectacle.”
Formula One has joined other sports in ceasing the practice of using women as decoration. Last month the Professional Darts Corporation announced it would no longer use ‘walk on girls’ at its events.
But Ecclestone said F1’s sponsors want to be associated with good-looking women.
“I can’t see how a good-looking girl standing with a driver and a number in front of a Formula One car can be offensive to anybody,” he said. “They are all nicely dressed I would think people like Rolex and Heineken wouldn’t have girls there who weren’t presentable.”
Ecclestone was recently named as one of the patrons of the Presidents Club, a charity which closed last week following allegations that hostesses were sexually harassed at men-only fundraising events.
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