The FIA World Endurance Championship has confirmed that it will not be using grid girls in the 2015 season, breaking tradition with a number of other racing series all over the world.
Ordinarily, before the start of each race, grid girls – pictured here at the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix – will hold a number board for the drivers to make their starting slot in a move that looks to add some glamour to proceedings.
However, in an era of greater equality and greater female presence within motorsport, many have labelled the tradition outdated and sexist.
In a move that has already split opinion, the WEC confirmed via its official Twitter account on Friday that grid girls would not be featuring at its races this year.
— FIA WEC (@FIAWEC) April 3, 2015
Series CEO Gerard Neveu had also confirmed to Reuters on Thursday in London that the changes would be made for the forthcoming season.
“From Silverstone next week, you will see that for any race we will do, no grid girls like in the past,” Neveu said.
“For me that is the past. The condition of women is a little bit different now.”
The decision quickly became a hot topic on social media channels, with many taking to Twitter to make their thoughts clear. Although some felt that it was an important step to change attitudes within motorsport, others questioned what the true benefit of the change would be.
— Jennie Gow (@JennieGow) April 3, 2015
I see WEC had gone PC and banned grid girls. I’m sure the young ladies will be delighted to have been deprived of their weekend of paid fun!
— Tiff Needell (@tiff_tv) April 3, 2015
How has it taken this long to drop grid girls? Well done @FIAWEC. So outdated. Hopefully might encourage more girls to WORK in motorsport
— Job in f1 (@Work_in_f1) April 3, 2015
I like grid girls. I’m actually bummed WEC is doing away with them. Fast Cars and Beautiful Women has always been racing to me.
— Ashley Parlett (@Just_AP) April 3, 2015
Surely removing grid girls will only make the sport less attractive, there must be better steps towards equality within the industry?!
— Tom Onslow-Cole (@tomonslowcole) April 3, 2015
FIA ban ‘Grid Girls’ from WEC! Not cool! However, Valencia FBMW 2008 I had a ‘Grid Man’, that was even less cool! #EqualityGoneWrong
— Ollie Millroy ™ (@OllieMillroy) April 3, 2015