Formula 1 leadership is following up their decision to stop using Grid Girls in 2018 with an announcement that they will be replaced by Grid Kids.

Grid Girls posing next to Formula 1
Grid Girls are set to be replaced by Grid Kids

( — February 5, 2018) —

A few days ago there was an announcement that Grid Girls will no more be present at Formula 1 races, starting with the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.

This decision has divided the public with some saying the call was great progress forward and that women shouldn’t be treated as objects, while others are thinking it is political correctness taken to the extreme.

Rebecca Cooper, a 5 time F1 grid girl, tweeted that others are “stopping us from doing a job we love and are proud to do,” and also called it “PC gone mad.”

Until now the responsibilities of grid girls were mostly promotional tasks as their clothes usually have sponsor names and logos. The girls also carried boards with driver names and they frequently interacted with the public.

In a public announcement made on their website Formula 1 stated “we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.”

In the wake of the public debate that was sparked by their original decision, on Monday February 5th Formula 1 and FIA jointly announced a new program they have called Grid Kids.

It is intended “to make the pre-race ceremony more relevant and interesting for fans, especially the younger ones.”

Children used in the program will be selected from competitors in karting and junior formulae categories. They will be chosen either by merit or via lottery by their motorsport clubs.

Sean Bratches, F1 Managing Director of Commercial Operations hopes that this move will “inspire the next generation of Formula 1 heroes.”

The new statement has also been met with mixed feelings. Social media comments include: “Formula 1 just fired a bunch of women and are replacing them with child labor,” and “I feel desperately sorry for the women who have lost their jobs only to be replaced by mostly male boys.”

Former Williams F1 test driver Susie Wolff said in an interview for BBC that she thinks F1 could do more for the inclusion of women in the sport: “Let’s take the successful women in the sport and make role models out of them to inspire others. Let’s get school girls around an F1 show car and allow them to dream.”