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Big backlash to F1’s decision to eliminate popular ‘Grid Girls’ and ‘Podium Girls’

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One of Formula One’s longest-running traditions is over.

F1 officials announced Wednesday that it is eliminating its popular “Grid Girls” and “Podium Girls,” females who are goodwill ambassadors for the sport, particularly in victory lane and on the race grid before and after races.

“We feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms,” said Sean Bratches, F1’s managing director of commercial operations. “We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula One and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

Well, judging from the overwhelming negative reaction on social media, one has to wonder just how much thought F1 officials gave to the decision and the resulting fallout.

The F1 season begins March 25 at the Australian Grand Prix.

Here’s a selection of tweets – including several from now-former “Grid Girls” opposed to F1’s move:

There were some fans in favor of getting rid of “Grid Girls,” but they were few and far between in their support of the new F1 edict.

And then there’s a man who would like to see F1 replace “Grid Girls” with “Grid Guys” (oh, brother).

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.