For years, Formula 1 has relied on "grid girls," promotional models who hold up signs and are believed to add to the spectacle of a Formula 1 race. But the inexorable march of time has changed public opinion, and F1's not turning a blind eye to it anymore.
The Formula 1 racing series announced today that it will end the practice of "grid girls" starting with the 2018 season, which kicks off on March 25 in Melbourne, Australia.
"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," said Sean Bratches, managing director of F1's commercial operations, in a statement. "We don't believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world."
"Over the last year we have looked at a number of areas which we felt needed updating so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport," Bratches continued.
It's worth noting that the decision to axe "grid girls" will also extend to the feeder series that typically accompany Grand Prix races.
Not every racing series is heading in this direction, though. On our side of the Atlantic Ocean, NASCAR's top racing series recently changed sponsors from Sprint to Monster Energy. With that change came the addition of "Monster Energy girls," ditching Sprint's full fire suit outfit in favor of something more in tune with a Miami nightclub. The response was about as varied as you'd expect.
That isn't to say that reactions haven't been mixed from F1 fans, either. They range from accusations of virtue signaling...
...to perhaps the best idea I've heard in the history of Formula 1: