They have become an integral part of sexing up the image of motor racing, an army of beautiful models parading up and down the pit lane and starting grid — until now, that is, as Formula 1 bosses have announced they are ditching the so-called Grid girls when the new 2018 season gets underway in Australia in March.
Liberty Media, the sport's American owners, has confirmed they will no longer be employed amid the growing clamour by the sports world not to objectify women following a campaign by snowflakes.
F1 to stop using grid girls— Formula 1 (@F1) 31 January 2018
"Custom does not resonate with our brand values" https://t.co/zKqSwM8EUU
Grid girls will not feature in Formula 1 from 2018 season
Making the announcement on January 31, Sean Bratches, managing director of commercial operations, said the change would be made "so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport."
"While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 grands prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms," he added. "We don't believe the practice is appropriate or relevant and its fans, old and new, across the world."
The decision comes just weeks after Ross Brawn, F1 managing director of motorsports, revealed the use of female promotion models was "under review."
F1 remove Grid Girls for 2018:
I am all for F1 no longer using grid girls providing every single driver has to have overalls resembling something like this… pic.twitter.com/7ixGl5qkhP
— F1 Banter (@F1_Banter) 31 January 2018
The girls are models used to conduct certain promotional tasks, normally wearing clothing bearing the name of a major F1 sponsor. Their duties largely included holding umbrellas or driver name-boards on the grid as well as guiding the winning drivers onto the podium at the end of the race.
The move has, however, sparked great controversy with the Women's Sport Trust welcoming the decision, while others including British model and actress Kelly Brook has attacked it and accused darts bosses of caving in to snowflakes.
Other sports such as boxing and cycling which have also previously used promotional female models at its major events are believed to be considering their future positions.