Formula One to stop using grid girls

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Walk-on grid girls will no longer be used before Formula One races, the sport’s organisers have announced.

In a move which mirrors the Professional Darts Corporation’s decision to end the long-established practice of women escorting male players to the stage, F1 will no longer use grid girls from this coming season.

“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,” Sean Bratches, managing director of Commercial Operations at Formula 1, said in a statement.

“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.

“We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

The changes will also apply to other races which take place on Grand Prix weekends.

Other sports still employ glamorous women under the guise of entertaining the crowd before and during events.

Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko – Wembley Stadium
A ring girl during Anthony Joshua’s fight with Wladimir Klitschko (Nick Potts/PA Wire)

Boxing and UFC both have ‘ring girls’, who let the crowd know which round is coming up by holding up numbered cards, generally while wearing revealing outfits.

Cheerleaders are prevalent in American sports, with teams and franchises having their own professional cheerleading squads.

Cycling is another sport which traditionally uses ‘podium girls’ to pose with race winners and plant a kiss on their cheeks.

2016 Tour de France – Stage 21 – Chantilly to Paris Champs-Elysees
Team Sky’s Chris Froome with two podium girls after winning the Tour de France (John Walton/PA Images)

However, the Tour Down Under scrapped the use of podium girls last year and the Tour de Yorkshire instead chose to celebrate successful local businesswomen.

Cyclist Peter Sagan caused uproar in 2013 when he was pictured pinching the bottom of a podium girl after a Tour de France stage.

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