Russia plans to bring back ‘grid girls’ to F1 race in September

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia wants to bring grid girls back to Formula One, barely two months after the series ended the practice.

Russia wants “beautiful” girls on the grid for September’s race, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, who oversees the Russian Grand Prix, said on Thursday.

“If we can reach an agreement, we will revive this tradition,” Kozak said in comments reported by Russia news agency Interfax. “Moreover, our girls are the most beautiful.”

F1 managing director for commercial operations Sean Bratches said in January the practice of using grid girls – paid models in uniform – wasn’t “appropriate or relevant” anymore. Their role has been given to so-called “grid kids,” young drivers from local motorsport clubs.

Kozak disagreed with the switch, saying, “It’s wrong at races to lead out children, who are frightened of mechanical things. You need grownups. In all kinds of motorsport, girls advertise the cars and it looks harmonious and pretty.”

Until last season, women dressed in uniform walked out onto the grid shortly before the race and stood in front of each driver’s car, holding up the driver’s number. Women also stood with the winner on the podium after the race.

The Russian GP takes place on Sept. 30 in what will be the Sochi circuit’s fifth year on the F1 calendar.