Last week, Formula 1 announced its intention to end the 'grid girl' practice during the upcoming 2018 season. This week, we know what their replacements will be -- children.
Formula 1 will replace 'grid girls' with a new partnership called Grid Kids. At each Grand Prix, instead of promotional models milling about the grid, it will be a collection of up-and-coming youths who have proven to be racing drivers with a future in motorsport.
"Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and the dream of every young racer competing the junior series that make up the FIA's single-seater pyramid, from karting all the way to F1," said Jean Todt, president of Formula 1, in a statement. "We are therefore delighted to bring that dream a little closer by giving the future champions of our sport the opportunity to stand alongside their heroes on the grid in the build-up to the race start."
Each new group of Grid Kids will be chosen by either merit or lottery. They must be active competitors in either karting or lower Formula series, both of which are stepping-stones on the way to the premier open-wheel series, Formula 1. The kids will have the tough job of hanging out with F1 drivers as they prepare for the upcoming race. Both the kids and their families will have access to the race paddock on the day of the Grand Prix, which is a nice little side benefit.
Prior to the 2018 season, F1 relied on 'grid girls,' promotional models who held up signs and were believed to add to the spectacle of Formula 1 racing. The F1 suits announced the decision to end the practice last week, claiming that public opinion has changed and that grid girls were "clearly... at odds with modern day societal norms."