Formula E: Home of the suspiciously slow electric race cars, and, apparently, suspiciously high levels of hypocrisy. After welcoming Formula One “to the 21st century” for removing grid girls, something Formula E claimed to have already done, the series’ CEO basically just said, “Nah, just kidding, we’re keeping them.”
Grid girls are an outdated concept that starkly defines the difference between men and women in a sporting arena, and in life, a lot of the time—men are the main show, while women are meant to adorn the sidelines and be valued for their physical appearance. It was a good move by F1 to phase the concept out, but it wasn’t met entirely with cheers and kudos.
When F1 officially announced at the end of January that grid girls would be out for the 2018 season, Formula E, which prides itself on being the future of racing as an electric series, took the opportunity for a harsh and public jab.
“We’re glad to welcome F1 to the 21st century,” a spokesperson for Formula E said, as quoted by Motorsport.com. “Formula E stopped using grid girls last year already, but we just didn’t feel the need to shout about it.”
Formula E used grid girls at its season-opening doubleheader in Hong Kong in December because a local promoter demanded it, but Motorsport.com reported that the official series stance was that it wouldn’t happen again. Instead, the spokesperson said, Formula E would work with putting kids in the role—like F1 said it would do after the announcement on grid girls. From Motorsport.com:
“We’re using a new concept and focusing on grid kids, and where possible we involve young and aspiring drivers that race in junior go-kart championships,” the spokesperson continued.
“It’s a great and emotional experience for these kids to be on the starting grid, next to the drivers and cars that they might drive one day, so hopefully it also works as a good motivation for them.
“The concept is working really well.”