Children on the grid, Sepang International Circuit, 2017

F1 introduces new ‘grid kids’ scheme to replace grid girls

2018 F1 season

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Formula One has announced the introduction of a new ‘grid kids’ scheme following the announcement last week that grid girls will no longer be used at races.

Grid, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2017
Goodbye grid girls: Your comments answered
Young fans who compete in junior racing categories or karting will be selected by motor sport clubs to join the drivers on the grid. They will appear at every F1 race and will also be used if possible at F2, GP3 and other support series. The children’s families will also be given paddock access for the race day.

F1 said the proposal will “make the pre-race ceremony more relevant and interesting for fans, especially the younger ones”.

“This will be an extraordinary moment for these youngsters,” said F1 managing director or commercial operations Sean Bratches. “Imagine, standing beside their heroes, watch as they prepare to race, the elite of the elite in motorsport, to be there, alongside them in those precious few minutes just before the start. What an unforgettable experience, for them, and their families.”

“An inspiration to keep driving, training and learning so that they can dream of one day being there themselves. What better way to inspire the next generation of Formula 1 heroes.”

FIA president Jean Todt describe dthe plan as “an excellent initiative that provides additional support to our member ASNs [motor sport clubs] in their efforts to grow motorsport worldwide through a unique reward they can make available to youngsters participating in their national series.”

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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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  • 154 comments on “F1 introduces new ‘grid kids’ scheme to replace grid girls”

    1. They have been reading F1fanatics…
      It will be hard to keep track of the drivers number though, expect them to move a lot when the kids are enjoying their time, but who cares about the numbers anyway.

      Another step in the good direction.

      1. @jeanrien I agree it’s the right thing to do.

        I was wondering whether they’d’ve been better off announcing this at the same time as they announced grid girls wouldn’t be used any more, to reduce the criticism they got.

        However I think there’s something to be said for showing you have the strength of your convictions to take decisions which some people won’t accept.

        Either way, the decision is more important than the PR tactics.

        1. @keithcollantine

          “showing you have the strength of your convictions ” LOL seriously? You think Liberty is doing this because of the strength of their convictions!? They are doing this because they think (wrongly) that they will make more money.

          Go have a look at Liberty’s website and then tell me about their convictions. http://www.libertymedia.com

          What conviction is being served by their “Atlanta Braves Group”?

          1. Of course I’m not making the case that they’re doing it purely out of the goodness of their hearts, I was questioning why they’d chosen to make the announcement the way they did.

            Having thought about it a bit longer it seems fairly obvious now. Announcing it in two stages increases the amount of attention they’ll get. Of course some people will choose to view it negatively but you can’t do anything about that. Conversely, The Sun ran a front-page splash calling them ‘dumb’, which reminded me of the comedian who always puts the Daily Mail’s negative reviews of his shows on his tour posters: Some people you want to criticised by.

            They’re banking that the majority of people they’re trying to sell F1 to will ultimately view it as a step in the right direction and I wouldn’t bet against that. Particularly after today’s follow-up announcement which I think is pretty hard to criticise without resorting to obvious nonsense claims like ‘child labour’.

            1. Well said. Just the exposure to the heat (we’ve seen some girls faint) needs to be addressed and the kids will be fine

            2. @keithcollantine
              That’ll be Stewart Lee who always uses negative tag lines from the likes of the Daily Mail on his posters. You can tell the quality of a man from his enemies!

            3. @keithcollantine

              They’re banking that the majority of people they’re trying to sell F1 to will ultimately view it as a step in the right direction and I wouldn’t bet against that. Particularly after today’s follow-up announcement which I think is pretty hard to criticise without resorting to obvious nonsense claims like ‘child labour’.

              You believe that women who want to be a part of a race weekend and freely choose to be grid girls is a form of exploitation, so you really can’t take the high ground here.

              I actually like the idea of grid kids and I never cared about grid girls, but the arguments you used against grid girls were really bad.

            4. @keithcollantine

              Maybe… Probably… Hopefully this is the wrong time and the wrong place for child labour jokes, but it´s only illegal if you pay them ;-)

            5. so it’s wrong to exploit women, but okay to exploit kids…..got it. hard to keep up with what’s PC these days.

              joking of course :p

            6. I’d appreciate it if “child labour” or “the poor grid girls have lost their job” arguements are not repeated in response to my posts which have never included either of those points.

              The unaddressed question (cause it’s hard to deal with) is why the audience and participation in motorsports is male dominated and how we should maintain and grow the core audience. Here’s a hint: this has nothing to do with safety levels and hot chicks. Making F1 100% safe and getting rid of grid girls will not cause a material change in the participation of females and most millenials. Changing the character of F1 will make it less appealing for the traditional audience (future and past).

              But anyways continue to grab the “low hanging fruit”, insulting the other side of the debate and feeling smug at your “progressiveness”. Good work.

            7. you have repeated the assertion that this is a step in the right direction, presumably because you think that you believe this but which direction is is that this is a step towards?

              Pandering to social justice warriors, sexists and probably racists next?

        2. It’s all PR tactics. Liberty Media doesn’t care about grid girls– if they did, they would have actually talked to the grid girls themselves. While it’s not headline worthy around here, I don’t think there’s any single grid girl who appreciates losing their job “for their own good”. A number of them are professional models who just lost 300 million pairs of eyes.

          The “grid kids” announcement was obviously in response to the unexpected backlash for the one-side patronizing decision that you’re applauding. If the grid girls are complaining, then it’s a legitimate concern… if a bunch of old white guys are making the decision “for the grid girl’s own good” than that’s just the same sexist patronizing @#%$ we’re supposed to be against.

          Personally, as a kid, I was interested in race cars, and things that go vroom– standing around for an hour or so holding a sign and not doing anything while everyone else was talking to drivers and engineers, would have been my 10 year old self’s idea of hell on earth.

      2. Wholly agree @jeanrien, this is the right step forward. It engages fans of motorsport, it helps build up the local racing scene, rewards upcoming talents, as well as giving them a chance at being noticed the first time.

        Now we can look forward to saying “I was there when XYZ held the pitboard for Lewis Hamilton back in the day” when they achieve in motorsport themselves in another decade :-)

      3. Maybe make the posts standalone, so the kids can stand near them and hold them if they want, while also not being made to stay there.

      4. I’m sorry but this only shows how little thought they give things.
        It’s only natural to think of Grid Kids, it’s a lovely idea but I’d say there’s a reason this has not happened sooner, as it’s not without it’s problems.
        F1 is not like football or tennis or any other physical sport, the kids get on the playing area spend some time with the sportspeople and that’s that.
        The kids on the grid are going to be thrown around the chaos, they are going to be exposed to carbon dust, dry ice and other bio-hazards, I’m sure someone is going to over react on these dangers as the responsibility lies with the organisers.
        We can’t say the organisers weren’t thinking of different ways to use the grid girls slot, mexico is one example and as it’s shown above Malaysia was another.

      1. Agree. This is lame.

        1. Yeah it’s pretty pathetic what F1 has become in recent years.

          1. I saw the commercial promoting the race in Melbourne on TV recently. I was totally SHOCKED! They used good looking girls in the ad. Is that allowed anymore?

            1. Ross Trimboli (@)
              7th February 2018, 0:00

              Ugh, I think I’m going to be sick.

      2. Agreed. It’s just so very lame.

    2. Since they don’t want to use girls (who want to do the job) are no longer politically correct to use, let’s exploit kids instead!

      IMO they should just use team employees to hold the whatever they need to hold.. All I see with children is them running around wanting to be with their favourite driver and getting bored!

      1. ‘Since they don’t want to use girls (who want to do the job) are no longer politically correct to use, let’s exploit kids instead!’

        Oh, give me a break. It has been pointed out infinitely many times in these discussions what the issue is and what it is not, and this sort of straw man argument is really getting old. Using women as eye candy in a male dominated sports is quite different than inviting local kids to the best seat in the house, isn’t it? If you truly can’t understand that then you just have a dinosaur mentality and there is nothing to be done.

        ‘All I see with children is them running around wanting to be with their favourite driver and getting bored!’

        How come they don’t do that when they participate in other sports events? http://news.utexas.edu/sites/news.utexas.edu/files/know/images/2014/sports_rituals/players_kids_750_2.jpg

        1. How come they don’t do that when they participate in other sports events?

          Just how long do you think that photo took, with each child having their own minder? Compare and contrast with the F1 pre-amble, which even I can’t be bothered with it’s so tedious. Some of them are going to have a meltdown before it’s half done.

          1. @Frasier I would rather wait and see and give these kids a chance. If there start to be issues, the solution is really simple. But in comparison, you guys are complaining about stuff that is simply not even happening yet!

            1. Fair enough to give them a chance, but I think it’ll end up being the pre-race equivalent of that weird qualification system they introduced a year or two back. Unfortunately, seeing if they can hold a pole still for an interminable [for a child] length of time is unlikely to be the qualification criteria for being chosen.

        2. @gsagostinho

          I’m not bothered by the whole grid girl system, all I want to see is a good racing… All in fact I have done is merely pointed out that many ‘Grid Girls’ enjoyed doing the job and nothing to do with a dinosaur mentality!

          Perhaps what you should do is bin the pseudo-feminist mentality of beleiveing what women want is what women want and perhaps trying talking/listening to them to see what they want in the majority not the minority!

          1. @maddme I’VE been talking/listening to the women around me for years on this and have not heard any support at all. The closest has been that ONE of them liked the idea of grid boys and girls, but generally disproved of modelling mixing with the start of a race.

            Are you talking about listening to the current grid girls? People who made money from it and thus, might be a tad biased in the matter?

            1. Michael Brown (@)
              7th February 2018, 17:44

              @gongtong @gsagostinho So instead of listening to the women who have made their own choices, we should listen to people who really know what is best for women.

          2. Nobody has ever claimed that the grid girls themselves don’t enjoy it or that they were personally exploited. That is not and never has been the issue, as I’m sure you already know, and it’s rather idiotic the number of times in this discussion and regarding darts that people imply it is. The issue is the impact it may have on people watching.

            1. Michael Brown (@)
              7th February 2018, 17:46

              “May.”

              So we don’t even know for sure.

          3. it’s a standard and unimaginative tactic to insult the person asking a question or making a statement when you can’t successfully make an argument against their ideology.

        3. I think they just didn’t really thought this through. It’s a bit hypocritical to make laсkey monkeys from kids to improve F1 image. At least models were, you know, modeling, which was a personal career choice to be eye-candy, so it was their job to just stand there. But ‘just stand there’ for kids??? How’s that progressive at all? Especially in a sport, with a very restricted access, and a very small chance of getting into. And, no, they won’t be engaged in team activities, no matter what Liberty PR team imagines. At best, teams’ press people will be stuck escorting grid kids families around strictly allowed areas. You can argue that even that’s great for many people, but I see this as poorly thought out patch-up job. There is an opportunity to do something really interesting here. Like, I dunno, organize a contest for fans, involve e-sport guys, let teams do something with the position, etc. – make it engaging for those who care. What it is right now is a ‘new logo’ all over again – it’s a quick poorly thought out decision. Speaking of which, why does the Liberty’s own website (http://www.libertymedia.com/) has the old logo for F1? Not important enough of an issue, huh?

        4. Until you cover up with a better arguement than ‘give me a break’, it will continue to be used.

      2. MaddMe (@maddme) – I agree
        maybe kids are cheaper than the GG’s aswell ;)
        apparantly some peeps on here don’t know what ‘straw man’ is …..

      3. Did you even read what they are planning to do before you went on to comment @maddme?

        They will have the local motorsport organisations propose kids (male AND female, as far as they are available) who can then join the grid for the day, and will thus have their first access to the paddock with their families.
        What better opportunity for upcoming talents to get some first contacts with the F1 world than this. And they also get to see their heroes up close. That is not about exploiting kids (I am sure Liberty will be happy if it can show them off), but about introducing something that brings a positive to the sport instead of just costing money.

        There will still be girls all over the paddock and VIP area representing sponsoring brands, for all the models who want to do the job. But this is not about their choice, but about what makes sense for the sport to invest in. Grassroots motorsport makes sense for the future value of F1.

        Helping models build and maintain a career is another line of business, one that Liberty did not buy into as far as I know.

      4. It has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with inherent sexism and misogyny. Motorsport is far behind times with this stuff, thanks to Bernie’s XIXth century world views. It’s really ridiculous and sad that the concept of “grid girls” still exists in some places. It’s so juvenile.

        Giving kids chance to be on the grid is a great idea.

        1. @kub666 Sexism and Misogyny? Do you actually understand what these terms mean? Are suggesting that F1 inherently dislikes women and is sexist?

          Do you also understand that banning Grid Girls, base on their gender alone, is in fact an act of sexism?

          Are you aware that nearly every professional sport has female segregation in place except for motor racing where women are free to compete alongside and with their male counterparts?

          Have you read what Jamie Chadwick says about women in F1 and racing in general? – you can read it here but i’ll leave a few quotes for you to digest

          “there is no ‘glass ceiling’ that makes me think I have limitations”

          “The factors that make a great driver are numerous – hard work, total dedication, physical and mental fitness, communication skills, natural talent, good management, a front-running car – and much more. But, if all of that can be achieved then gender should be irrelevant

          “Although it has yet to be demonstrated, there is no reason why a woman cannot get to the top of this, currently, male dominated sport”

          https://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2018/02/05/separate-championship-women-girls-want-race-guys/

          You see, Jamie Chadwell is one of these girls that everybody is so worried about and she has an opinion on this that matters, why is nobody listening?

          Identity politics achieves nothing but hypocrisy, fear and division. Those that practice ID politics just look and sound and ultimately become exactly what they were trying not to be and in this case, sexists.

          To pretend that replacing grid girls with children is anything other than a cynical attempt to stave off criticism and fill a gap is to misread the situation entirely.

          Personally i never really took any notice of grid girls but the way this has happened and the reasons that have been suggested are appalling and so are the people facilitating it.

        2. Michael Brown (@)
          7th February 2018, 17:56

          @kub666 Feminism is about women being able to make their own choices and not being judged for them.

          Except feminists will judge women for making the “wrong” choices.

      5. I think that the whole ‘encourage the kids to enter motorsport’ aspect of the grid kids is interesting. Because no one ever argued that being a grid girl was a path into motorsport. Ergo, its role was purely decorative. I for one am glad to see the back of it.

    3. So, instead of women who have an interest in the sport but cannot get close to the stars any other way, we’re going to get the kids who can already afford to go motor racing from a very young age. With extra free tickets for the doubtless well-off family members.

      The grid girls will be extra thrilled about this..

      1. ‘women who have an interest in the sport’

        Sorry mate, women who have interest in the sport are the ones fighting their way through other categories of motorsport. Those are models used as eye candy in order to sell Rolex to old dudes, plain and simple.

        1. @gsagostinho try listening to this BBC podcast of Jennie Gow interviewing grid girls

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05r4zpq

          I too thought they were all professional models until this blew up, seems not, this one is actually a tax person during the week, who loves motor racing. Don’t believe all you read in the MSM, sometimes pays to go looking for the wider truth.

          1. Sorry, @Frasier,
            Our modelling agency arranged the women for these events.
            The client primarily focusses on looks.
            When we interviewed candidates there are a few who have an interest in motorsport, but most solely do it for the money and glamour.

            PS – we had mostly good feedback from the models though.
            PPS – don’t feel sorry for us. There is still enough work around these events, and those jobs tend to pay better.

            1. The client primarily focusses on looks

              Of course they do! This is promotion work, the mistake made last year was to field some rather ordinary looking grid ‘boys’. This job isn’t a quick photo with the child mascot, they’re going to be there for at least half an hour. That’s going to tax the self control of the average child.

              Honestly, if there was a mix of adult boys and girls the whole practice might have died a death without all this furore.

            2. As Egonovi points out, @frasier, there are better paid jobs for models to do around the race – they can work as more than just eye candy, really representing a brand, talking with fans/VIPs/potential partners about the products. That is work that is FAR more interesting for anyone who is in the modelling business, because they build a relationship with the brand, often longer term and offer better value for the brand as well.
              That is a route that also works for women who ARE in it for the motorsport – because they still can use it as their route to get contacts, far more than just by standing around with a number.

            3. @bascb I think you’ll find that the girls already do all the other PR work around the event, in fact this Jennie Gow podcast highlights this.

              http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05r4zpq

              The nonsense factor comes in when you realise that the grid isn’t a very safe place for children, who for insurance purposes alone will most probably need to be supervised by a CRB checked person who is in loco parentis.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_supervision

              Yes, lets take the job away from professionals and give it to, heck, lets give it the kids, everyone loves kids, some more than they should.. but lets not go there.

              Genius move, not..

            4. Yeah @frasier, I am glad you found that out too – so there really is nothing to fear for these women of losing their jobs then, is there.

              About the children – as stated in the article above, their parents will also be invited. And really, if you think that kids who are already stepping into motorsport would be too big a risk on the grid, what will you tell these same kids when they are on the grid in their own kars?

              Do you even realize that these are not toddlers but young kids who are aspiring to be the ones sitting in the race cars themselves? That they know about safety in motorsports already, have a racing licence already (be it for karts) and know their way around a racing grid?

            5. @bascb yes I realise that they are aspiring racers but an F1 grid with crowds of people, mechanics rushing around, rigs for keeping the cars happy while they wait for the start? Not to mention the fully charged energy sources within the cars themselves. It doesn’t compare with being within their kart or car, with a crash helmet and crucially having signed a disclaimer against any consequences of an accident.

              Doubtless they will be asked to sign a disclaimer on the grid, but that I suspect [not a lawyer] won’t absolve the organisers of their duty of care. Like I’ve said elsewhere, make it adult boys and girls, in the main they already dress smartly and many [I couldn’t give you a proportion because I always fast forward all the boring bits before the start] have abandoned the tacky gear.

              This isn’t really about grid girls, it’s a much wider social struggle and I fear it’s taking us to a place few of us will be happy with.

          2. @Frasier Whether grid girls enjoy or not motorsport is absolutely irrelevant. So even if we could extrapolate a couple of these anecdotal stories to ‘absolutely all these women love F1’, they are hired only due to their physical appearance and for a secondary role to the event, period. Boys drive, girls are pretty and wave for the winners — is that really the F1 message to the 21st century? Bringing 20 interested women to an event just because of their looks while none can participate is patronizing to say the least.

            1. Bringing 20 interested women to an event just because of their looks while none can participate is patronizing to say the least

              They choose to be there! They are participating, don’t you get this?

              Where does it end? Are you going to insist that all films should feature ‘ordinary’ people so it doesn’t body shame those not in the star looks category? This isn’t about this little microcosm of society, it’s a wider debate about who gets to choose what is acceptable.

    4. If they would have announced this last week, and leave the grid girl discontinuation as a byline, it would have been very well accepted.

      What a geniuses! (non-sarcastic). FOM was able to create a full week of free press during down season, and walk away taking the high road.

      1. Yeah, I think it worked out for them nicely. They had a good week of people debating, bringing up the “ooh you want to take these poor girl’s jobs away” vs. “come on, this is 2017, let’s stop just oggling women” debate.

        And now that has sunk away they can score another nice couple of days with this great idea that actually connects with the ideal of having F1 help grow grassroot motorsport, especially where there is not yet much in place.

        And then we can get the stories about the local kids who will be invited to be there in Australia (and every event of the year), I actually think it would be great to fill at least a couple of hours of that mid week “rerun show” on Sky with interviews or at least a short bio of those kids! Or have it on youtube – each one of them can introduce themselves on the FOM channel

    5. Didn’t mind it until I read that it was restricted to kids who are already doing karting.

      Nice to know the ‘focus on the wealthy ones’ approach from Bernie’s era hasn’t entirely gone away.

      1. Exactly. Only children of parents willing and able to spend $50,000 per year on a karting program for junior are eligible.

      2. I know what you are saying but that’s just the way it is sadly. There are lots of sports where you can show up with a pair of shoes and compete but motorsports require a large amount of equipment and it isn’t cheap.

        I’m glad that they aren’t just turning this into a thing about kids though. I don’t want to see random kids on the grid because that’s as pointless as grid girls were. I want to see kids who have won Championships and are the best in the country. They can talk to them and create a bit of awareness – perhaps it’ll help them with sponsors and will give a talented kid with a small budget an opportunity they wouldn’t have otherwise had.

        This needs to be about “future F1 drivers”, not “kids” and “family friendliness.”

        1. I’m willing to bet that half the time it’s not going to be just the best karting achievers, but best-paying parents club on the grid. The equivalent of pay drivers, but for grid kids. Ugh. And in places like Russia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, China, etc., half the kids won’t be even into karting at all.

          1. Well FOM make those rules about how you have to do PR at the track, they can just make it a requirement for the grid kids to have motorsports credentials, so that’s not a problem @zimkazimka that will really happen. Unless they are stupid, which this announcement shows they are not.

          2. Each country holds one Grand Prix, so in this case “local” or “regional” means “nationwide”, and therefore we’re talking about notable karting “success stories” from across the USA or across the UK or France or Italy. We aren’t talking about some local schmoe winning Briggs & Stratton fun kart races around a parking lot full of traffic cones. Being a national karting winner takes serious funding, at least $50,000 per season and as much as $100,000 is possible. I’m sure Laurence Stroll spent $250,000 per year making junior a karting champion.
            The “grid kids” are going to be, in the vast majority of cases, the children of the wealthy willing to part with serious money to watch junior race.

            1. @Gary You seem to know a lot about what has so recently been announced. You already know Liberty’s plan that it will only be the elite of the elite karting kids whose parents have money to burn. You know how much they spend and you’re sure Stroll’s Dad spent 250,000 on him in karting.

              I guess we’re supposed to take this bitterness you have about the money it takes to go racing, and rebel? revolt? boycott?

              Yup racing takes money…more than ever…at all levels. All sports take more money than ever for parents to put their kids in. That’s a given. Perhaps better that the grid sign holders be kids interested in the sport and who will be totally enthralled by the ‘experience of a lifetime’ because they were already enthralled enough about racing to have advanced in karting such that their parents are nurturing that. So of all people perhaps karting grid kids will be the ones who will take the most from the experience. Less advantaged kids whose parents cannot afford to put them through karting would perhaps find the experience cool, but they wouldn’t be as invested in it as kids who may already know something about F1 and the drivers and love racing.

    6. Good move. Also, by making it open to “fans who compete in junior racing categories or karting” this adds something for them to aspire to and a bit of a reward mechanism, the chance to be close to their stars. Better than something like a random lottery, which might be won by a kid disinterested in motorsport.

      Do all the countries that F1 runs in have an active and competitive racing/karting scene?

      1. They all have an active scene. Not sure how competitive some of them are.

        1. Yeah, i am sure there are significant differences in the level when comparing places like Australia, Bahrain, Austin and Monza or Germany. But at least this is something of a welcome step towards growing them @alianora-la-canta, @phylyp.

    7. Child labour
      F1 lowers them selfs to swetshop level.

    8. If the grid kids are going to be selected from the ranks of youngsters who are competing in junior racing categories, I guess that means that nearly all of them will be boys?

      1. Ssshhhh. You’re not allowed to point out the elephants hulking in the corner!

    9. What a disgusting joke.

      It’s becoming painfully obvious now that the plan is to sanitize F1 so that it is “fun for families”. Nothing dangerous, nothing too loud, nothing controversial. So very precious. F1 has become the gruel of motorsports. Male interests are no longer acceptable (everyone has to be included!) and either are adult spaces.

      Of course I understand that this plan is more a cynical attempt to maximize F1 revenues than a real culture war battle (Liberty owns the Atlanta Braves LOL). It will fail…women will not flock to F1 and neither will our dear little millenials. Neither group gives a crap about motorsports. What is more likely to happen is that the core F1 audience (that Liberty treats with such disdain) leaves taking most of the female audience and kids with them leaving Liberty with nothing. That will put a smile on my face.

      1. the core F1 audience (that Liberty treats with such disdain) leaves

        And you lead the way.
        All happy ;)

        1. I’ll be happy anyways….watching MotoGP, SBK, IOM etc. … at least until the likes of you come for those series as well….

          1. PK, and coming across as an increasingly embittered and isolated figure trying to lull himself into a false sense of security by running to the safety blanket of a childish interpretation of machismo and lashing out at the world whilst falsely trying to portray himself as some sort of victim.

            1. I think the phrase you were looking for is “toxic maculinity” my precious little snowflake…

            2. I have to update my bookmark, I could swear it was pointing to http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk, not f1fanatic.tumblr.com.

      2. nothing controversial

        Replacing grid girls hasn’t been controversial?

        1. Of course I meant the end state not the transition. And anyways it’s only controversial with respect to the fans Liberty doesn’t care about.

          Looking forward to hearing about the Disney World GP and how that’s the “right thing to do”

      3. @PK Perhaps ‘painfully obvious’ to someone who wishes to see it that way. Nothing dangerous? Yeah F1 is still dangerous although hasn’t been nearly as dangerous as previous generations, particularly since Senna’s passing, so nothing really new here. They are making the cars faster if that helps you feel more danger. Nothing too loud? Well it was BE’s era that moved the cars to be this quiet, and now Liberty is talking about making them louder again. Nothing controversial? I think there will still be the same amount of controversy amongst the drivers and teams as the action heats up throughout the season, and that’s the only kind of ‘controversy’ that really matters anyway. Must you get your controversy exclusively from issues around sexism? Male interests are no longer acceptable? Ridiculous. Of course they are.

        The real cynic here is you, not Liberty. I highly doubt they expect women to ‘flock’ to F1, nor are they treating their core audience with disdain. You seem to think they are changing the character of F1 away from the core audience which I disagree with, and that core audience has been diminishing in all racing series btw. If anything Liberty and Brawn are talking about more of a return to an F1 we would prefer to have…loud fast cars that look amazing, with closer racing and the teams closer to each other with the smaller teams having more of a fighting chance and the larger teams with a little less weight than they have had particularly in the last decade under BE/CVC.

        You choose to think of the glass half empty, and while you don’t want to be insulted for having your opinion, you are fine calling others snowflakes when you think they are just buying into some dire direction Liberty is taking. So far what have they actually done to harm F1? The halo was already in the works before they came on board and will only change the appearance of the cars but not the performance. Grid girls being gone will not affect the product on the track either. The new F1 logo is just them putting their face on their brand. All other serious changes are being well discussed, thought out, and planned for in a proper manner unlike the BE era. It is the low hanging fruit that has been what Liberty has been able to affect in these early days. Otherwise, the big decisions have to be well orchestrated, and in many cases contracts have to run out, and teams are being given ample time to adapt to reg changes rather than having knee-jerk decisions that end up always favouring the teams that have the most resources with which to react to said sudden changes.

        It’s onward and upward for F1 and Liberty. Such a shame you can only see it so negatively. You can’t do anything but picture Liberty as Disney, while everything they’ve actually talked about wrt the real stuff, the actual product on the track, is exactly what should excite the core audience.

        1. I appreciate the response.

          To your points:

          1. Name calling. I feel your side fired first with stuff like “bloodthirsty”, “knuckle draggers’, “pervert”, “go back to your cave” etc. In that context calling people “snowflake” is rather measured.

          2. Danger. It is fundamental for motorsports that drivers are heroes who perform in the face of real danger. We respect people who can do things we can’t (or won’t) do. Intellectually I’ve know for years F1 is safer than my commute to work on my motorbike but I was able to maintain the illusion. The Halo just crosses a line. It’s hard to imagine people being heroic behind that cage.

          3. Liberty. They are just trying to make a buck or a few billion of them. They are not trying to make the world a better place (otherwise they would be changing the Braves). That’s not a criticism it’s just a statement of their mandate.

          4. Loud cars. I actually don’t care about this. I’m looking forward to electric as it is the superior tech. You do lose some of the edge with reduced noise however.

          5. Logo. Don’t hate it.

          6. Diminishing audience. I agree something needs to be done. How about an analysis of why the audience is the way it is hitorically and try to maintain and build a new core before simply trying to be all things to all people. Once the core is understood then work to expand it. The problem with the low hanging fruit is that what they are picking at isn’t fruit at all.

          7. Grid Girls. I like to see pretty chicks as much as the next guy (if they are being honest about that which is rare these days) but I only really care about this as a symbol of the sanitization of the sport. F1 should be brutal, dangerous, heroic, glamorous, technically deep and aspirational… not a day out for the kiddies. It’s a male dominated sport in terms of participation and audience (like most) and there is nothing wrong with that as long as females (or anyone else) are not actively being discriminated against. I would like to see a female driver succeed but it is not something that needs to be engineered.

          F1 had an edge that people (mostly males) enjoyed as a part of living vicariously through the participants in F1. That edge has been dulled for no good reason. That’s the source of the reaction on these issues.

    10. New F1 value. From hetero to pedo.

      1. GtisBetter (@passingisoverrated)
        5th February 2018, 15:58

        Hyperbole much?

      2. Me wants pretty women before sport grrrrrwwwww

      3. Yup, that is how it goes. Darren Heath once wrote this about a famous F1 driver: “Our Spanish hero is not only quick on track but swift with the ladies too, reputedly having bedded the majority of the more attractive female TV presenting dollies that flounce up and down Formula 1’s expensive catwalk.”

        Now the kids are obviously next in line.

        (Sarcasm.)

        1. “We don’t get to choose who we love.” – Lannister

    11. For those who must have a female dangled somewhere within vision during a sport event, attend a US Football game. http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/cheerleaders/

      1. Way too old. Luckily F1 is bringing in the younger grid girls now.

    12. It’s all fun and games until the temperature on the grid is over 100, or it’s raining etc. I’m sure there will be a number of restrictions put in place by the different countries in regards to when and if the children can be on the grid so it seems like this isn’t a very good decision.

    13. This is a great solution. Now if all the complainers will stand by their convictions and actually leave off following the sport, it would be even better.

    14. Remove women as it’s a sexualised job, replace them with children? So in a sport with mainly heterosexual male fans we are alienating them for a small majority of people who like young children….?

      Football use child mascots? Yes they do and look at all the naughty things being uncovered in Football.

    15. So Vettel will be on the Grid in both capacities then.

    16. Perhaps they should have announced this at the same time as the removal of grid girls rather than allowing the mindless vacuum of thinly-veiled sexism to turn stale…

    17. Liberty may think doing this will increase revenue, but just wait until they receive the renewal contract for their comprehensive corporate liability umbrella policy.

    18. Positive move.

      Let’s get the counter arguments out of the way:

      – Yes, you’re right, competitive motorsport is expensive and generally restricted to a lucky few
      – Yes, you’re right, there are likely to be more boys than girls if the recent karting figures are representative of participation levels across the globe
      – Yes, you’re right, a group of models have one less job to do

      But, I’d argue that at least two of those issues are not the responsibility of Formula 1 or FOM (point those fingers at the FIA and WMSC), and whilst the removal of ‘grid girls’ has been portrayed as a loss for some people, I can’t say I’ve ever spent time looking at anyone stood next to a Formula 1 car unless it is the TV presenter or the driver. Someone holding a number up has zero interest to me when I can examine and admire the cars that I love to watch race.

      Offering the number holding role to kids does the following:

      – Those kids (and their families) will go home and tell their friends about their experience, in turn driving new interest in Formula 1
      – Kids watching at home with their parents will aspire to be a ‘grid kid’, which will help to introduce the next generation of drivers to karting etc
      – Both of those things will drive the uptake of grassroots motorsport, and in turn help focus the light on funding and support for [s]normal[/s] non-privileged families
      – Young girls sitting at home will see other girls who are already involved in motorsport, instead of a group of models who do not race… it’s the type of role model we all keep saying that young girls need if they’re to get involved in motorsport

    19. I do hope all the kids will be dressed like the classic ghost fancy dress (white bedsheet with eyes cut out. This way no one can get offended by any tightly fitted or revealing garments & rally together for them to be banned. Plus it will help keep the sun off and stop dirty old mem taking snaps of them. We have to cover all bases in our new era of social paranoia. Que the comments from all offended . . . .

    20. What a circus. It is obvious that they are running out of publicity by this time.
      Use kids as eye-candy, what on earth are they thinking of??

    21. It’s a great initiative, well done. I think they could make it better and try to also gather kids who aspire to be a driver but that don’t have the means to race karts for example. Back then I dreamt to race karts but never had the chance due to the huge amount of costs needed to start a career; but I loved so much this sport that I would do anything to have a chance to be close to my heroes. Maybe they could pick the kids that loves f1 regardless if they race karts or not.

      1. Lewisham Milton
        5th February 2018, 22:34

        Shouldn’t they be racing karts somewhere at 2 o’clock – sorry, ten past two – on a Sunday?

    22. This will be labelled by Mr Bratches as a “Formula One Experience” and it will cost the parents of the aspiring child a fortune! They will need to be outfitted correctly, Probably in a custom made race suit, at the parents expense, and there will be an appearance fee to be paid to Liberty, nothing is for free from Liberty under Mr Bratches.

      This will be just another way to milk the fans for everything they can. The example above, showing kids at a football match, that costs the parents, of each child, about £700, including the full playing kit.

      I really DO want to be proved wrong on this. I would be a total departure from the new ‘norm’ if it was a genuine treat for the youngsters.

    23. Give it few seasons and this will also be banned as child exploitation. They would not want the kids to stand for long durations in front of the car under the different weather conditions only jus coz they felt having girls are a bad thing.

      Still can’t comprehend how not having gird girls will encourage more girls to be drivers or will acheive whatever they wanted to by banning it.

      If F1 thought having gird girls doesn’t serve much purpose then they could have given them some purpose. Asked them to assist during autograph session with drivers, as them to conduct games and contest so winners can meet drivers or assign them to team so they can help them out to reach fans on race weekend. But no, ban those girls coz they can only look good but are not smart enough.

      Seriously, banning girls because they don’t serve any purpose but replace them with kids so they will be with their heroes?? So is F1 gonna have all the kids stand next to Lewis, Alonso, Vettel and the top drivers? Or do they know of any kid who think Marcus Ericsson is their hero?

      1. @1abe

        Still can’t comprehend how not having gird girls will encourage more girls to be drivers or will acheive whatever they wanted to by banning it.

        The argument is the other way around, that seeing grid girls discourages girls to be drivers because it suggests they’re just there to look pretty.

        I do agree with most of the rest of your comment, although if these kids are karters I would expect them to see any F1 driver as a hero, they should know how hard it is to make it that far.

    24. Complete full yawn. I can’t stand all this pre race nonsense. Give the mechanics a stand with the drivers name and number to place in front of the car. Scrap the stupid driver lineup for national anthems. There is no need for all this nonsense.

    25. Mascots as in 10ft furry animal types, solves everything. Grid girls re-employed to where these suits, their offensive beauty will be covered and they still get paid.

    26. I would rather have nothing on the grid if it has to be children…..and what happens if some child gets knocked over…it gets a little hectic out there…..they should find another way of letting the drivers meet up with the wannabe racers….Still waiting for Liberty to do something momentous for the sport!!!

    27. Wow, lots of straw-clutching in these comments. Obviously there may be issues with implementation, but it’s a good move.

      My only slight reservation is the sanitisation of F1 as PK alluded to above, but if you view it less as a day out and more as work experience then it’s not an issue for me. I do wonder how those children will be chosen though, hopefully it’s a transparent process.

    28. This is a great idea. Some of the comments on here I simply can’t believe the stance taken, there’s no point even arguing a point as it’s basically futile.

      1. Haha, please join us, we just trying to be funny in desperation.
        In the new age of sport that promote soft-spoken engine, champion that getting offended by slow tyre bump, steward that demand gentler takeover, organization that force car chassis to wear panties, commercial body that spend money on stolen ‘chick’ logo, of course, some of us need to vent it a bit when the last politically incorrect thing of the sport striped down.

        1. The last couple of years has been both ways actually. True Halo and run off areas I cannot defend, but wider and faster cars is actually in the right direction… but this does not suit your narrative. Anyway, why do you care so much about grid girls, just go watch porn before the F1, please yourself and then join us for the race. Amen.

          1. I rarely have seen F1 grid girls on TV and there’s no motorsport media I follow expose them either. Maybe a few glimpse when Brundle walk the grid but that’s it. I don’t see it as exploitation what so ever especially in F1 that they always wear decent clothing.
            It just a stupid and unnecessary policy. If F1 really want to cut all kind of gimmick from the sport why not banned DRS instead? I hope this is a part of your daily praying too.

          2. This issue is not about getting your rocks off you pervert

            1. @Mick LOL I was about to flame you but just got the sarcasm :)

    29. I don’t mind this idea all and I actually like it. However, I have to laugh at all the so-called progressives who think that grid girls were being exploited, now think that grid kids is a great idea.

      What exactly are the people who wanted grid girls replaced with grid kids trying to tell us? That women have less agency than children?

    30. I prefer ladies in Lycra to kids.

    31. Young fans who compete in junior racing categories or karting will be selected by motor sport clubs to join the drivers on the grid.

      So this is going to be 99% male then?

      1. It’s going to be 100% whoever is a karting kid.

        1. @damon

          It’s going to be 100% whoever is a karting kid.

          In other words, 99% male

      2. Nah, they will make sure that there is a suitable PC diverse group of kids, over represented genders, every race and color that they can rustle up on the day and most likely plenty of disabled kids too.

        1. How many quadriplegic, black, Muslim girls with 1 eye can they find?

    32. Let me tell you a little story. Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy recently tweeted a picture of the USA men’s bobsled team in their tight suits saying he was looking forward to ‘meeting the other athletes’ at the Olympics (Kenworthy is openly gay). The post got thousands of reactions, more than 200 replies and a few websites reposted the pic. It is just that the picture is from the 2016/17 season and the then-leader of the team, Steven Holcomb, is now dead. But literally no one cares because the Olympics are coming and we have a picture with hot Olympic athletes – GREAT!

      The grid girls story is exactly the same. No one cares what their names are, no one gives a damn about their lives outside F1. In fact, no one even cares if tomorrow they will be dead or alive. All the stories about lost jobs and intelligent women who love being grid girls are just poor excuses. Previous comments from drivers, who did not want to ‘park behind Dave’, and sexualization of the ‘grid kids’ witnessed today only show that the current practice is unhealthy, all about flesh and should have been stopped already some time ago.

      That is just one of the reasons why I welcome grid kids – I will probably wake up 30 minutes earlier on March 25 to witness their ‘inauguration’!

    33. Anyone who thinks getting a bunch of kids to stand still for an hour or so holding a sign has never had kids.

      It’s a bit different from football matches; esp with the close contact of equipment, cars & hordes of people moving around. Anyone care to venture how much this is going to save the race promoters?

      Would have been better to put them on the driver parade lap float.

      1. Oh come-on , watch tennis sometime and see how kids can not only stand still but actually perform a useful, disciplined function, you and the rest making similar comments need to widen your interests.

        1. Rather a bad example. Tennis ball girls/boys go through training to do the job and are taught to always be concentrating and focused on the match. Getting untrained children to stand still with nothing else to do other than hold a sign will be a altogether different task. I would guess that each child will end up with at least two extra adults on the grid to look after them. 60 people on the grid just to hold up signs that could otherwise be free standing.

          1. See @the-last-pope, but that is exactly why it is a great comparison with the tennis kids that @hohum brought up.

            Because these will not just be some random kids, but young drivers. Who are sure to know protocol around a starting grid (be it one with less going on off course), they will know about motorsport safety measures, they understand them and will be quite disciplined, because they would aspire to be the ones sitting IN the cars in a few years down the line.

    34. Here is the grid person solution. I am a 67 year old male and would love to stand on the grid and hold a number…
      F1 should have a lottery. On line, for each country have people log in for a grid person position lottery…

    35. We’ve been saying this on here for ages. Good decision. Still think there would be a capacity for grid girls to. Another thing to think about is having selected fans (maybe from the crowd), being able to walk the grid and get amongst the build up, similar to what Supercars do here in Australia. Just a thought

    36. As some have said it’s a shame it seems to be restricted to young people who already compete in junior motorsport. I think they’ve missed an opportunity for fan engagement by not opening it up to any fans (of any age and gender) to be able to apply and get the chance to stand on the grid. But then again, maybe I’m just jealous of not getting the chance myself.

      1. @dave-m, The young persons chosen need to know about the sport to understand why it is an honor rather than a punishment and appreciate the opportunity.

    37. Though, as I’ve mentioned in the comments in earlier posts, I don’t agree with the argument being made against grid girls, this move is a good one. With kids dressed in bright costumes, as the picture above shows, the F1 pre-race grid will hopefully continue to be colourful, vibrant and attractive.

    38. This the most pathetic f1 has ever been.

      Let’s not exploit gridgirls but children for marketing to make f1 look good.
      And than in the tv ad they use good looking girls to promote f1.ridiculous.
      The children will get bored quickly and get tired.

      Btw.
      Naomy Campbell who is a feminist is shocked they banned the ggirls.

    39. Grid fans would have been better. I am sure you will get some kids there who really don’t want to do it.

      1. Kids there who are already participating in motor sport but don’t want to come to an F1 race to stand on the grid?

        I can’t imagine there’ll be a great number of them…

        1. Isn’t that another problem though? These kids are interested in the cars and what’s going on in the team. The want to be part of it. They are not likely to be interested in the media side of F1, smiling at people, cameras, while holding a sign and ignoring the teams actions (but still remaining aware of it).

    40. So Liberty Media fires (grid) girls and employs underages. Is this the good direction?????
      I don’t think. Fans need grid girls.
      Could we vote about grid girls?

    41. Pedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children. I prefer to experience sexual attraction to sexy 18+ grid girls.

      1. Speaking as a professional (I am a psychologist) your description of pedophilia is close enough to the mark.

        However, it has no relevance.

        It is perfectly possible to be positive towards involving children in motorsports without this having any sexual connotations what so ever. To suggest differently is, sorry to be blunt, downright silly, offensive and inappropriate.

        1. Were grid girls had sexual connotations what so ever? To suggest differently is, sorry to be blunt, downright silly, offensive and inappropriate.

    42. Thank your lucky stars that the BBC is no longer showing F1. Any ‘child’ on the grid would only be shown, by the BBC, out of focus from the knees down. They may even use stock footage from outside a school. Just in case any perverts are watching.

      1. I would have thought that an organisation that has been ran by and has protected kiddy fiddlers would love the opportunity to exploit children in some way.

    43. I await to hear what Liberty Media replaces their Atlanta Braves baseball team cheerleaders with.

      1. Shows they are not only spineless but moraless.

    44. So having women on the grid is exploitative and that´s not ok but having children on the grid in the same circumstances, promoting products, presumably for free this time, is fine and not exploitative at all?

      The mind boggles.

    45. That should draw in the Paedophile audience.

      1. Of course there are no paedophiles involved with kids in entertainment or sports so stop worrying!!

    46. Can someone please explain to me why: this subject has garnered more responses on every single F1 website than any other subject? Please? Secondly, can someone please explain the connection @gnosticbrian has just made? I really do not want to go down this road any further or engage with him directly but I am infuriated…

      1. My comment was directed at the absurdity of banning grid girls because those adult females (who should be able to think for themselves) are supposedly “exploited” but replacing with children (who are not usually expected to think for themselves) without considering if they are also being exploited.

    47. Providing a program for young drivers from karting exposed to F1 via visits to the tracks with paddock passes (with their families) is a great idea.

      Having “grid kids” standing around holding signs with the name and numbers of the drivers is stupid and looks ridiculous.

      The fact that Liberty can’t tell the difference between the two is pathetic and worrisome.

    48. I can argue this is child exploitation.
      I can argue that there should be 10 boys and 10 girls otherwise…
      I can argue that the kids should not be chosen because they’re cute.
      I can argue that… ah forget it… the ridiculous gang marches on, in the WRONG direction.

    49. its good to bring in kids to the races, make them experience the paddock, interact with their heroes. I 100% agree with this. Just not by doing the job previously done by the Grid models. There is a F1 in Schools programme, related to engineering. Its something I always found cool, but never arrived here in my hometown unfortunately. There are so many things F1 can do with kids. Allow School visits during not the main race day, for example, have drivers speak to the youngsters about being a professional racing driver… I’m sure even with their cramped programmes, if organised well and the Drivers associations and teams agreed, this could be easily done.

      But putting kids with a number board facing cameras standing for 30+ minutes with all the media frenzy going around without allowing them the freedom to enjoy that moment, is simply wrong in my book. It may be a great opportunity for their parents, but as a father of a young kid that could potentially do this, I can only imagine myself standing next to him either trying to control his enthusiasm or looking after if someone just steps on him in any way during those chaotic moments.

      In football (soccer) we do have the players coming in with children on the pitch before the match. It does work well in this scenario because its a very short time, they stay for a picture and immediately leave. And they aren’t necessarily young players, they can be fans or supporters of the club. In Formula 1 they have to be in place, standing still, get to the grid first before the cars arrive, wait 10-15 minutes until the grid is formed, then wait more 20-30 minutes until the race starts. And if old protocol is to be respected, they have to be standing still and facing away from the car and the drivers. Where’s the sense in that?

      Seriously who is planning this? Hope to be proven wrong but this is prone for disaster. And an even worse PR move for Formula 1.

    50. This could make for some great new photos if a grid kid grows up to be an F1 racer and then we can look back and see the whole current field standing next to them when they were tiny. It would be like Vettel with Schumi plus the other 21 drivers!

      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-rVnuIpYT0tA/Tl3VnIStMOI/AAAAAAAAA80/rfKcv9SKwoE/s1600/sebastian+vettel+young.JPG

    51. wow… did my comment get deleted???!!! All I said was I liked F1 as it was before! And listed what I liked! Mods are you serious? keith?

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