Times caption: Russian grid girls are the most beautiful, the country’s deputy prime minister said
A piece in today’s Times:
Russia wants to bring back the custom of so-called grid girls to Formula One, the organiser of the country’s grand prix this year has said. One reason given was because “our girls are the most beautiful”.
Formula One stopped using female models for promotional purposes at races in January after complaints that it was outdated and sexist. They were replaced by “grid kids”: children, mainly boys, competing in junior categories of motor racing.
Dmitry Kozak, the Russian deputy prime minister who is chairman of the organising committee for the race in Sochi in September, said: “Of course it’s not right to bring out children, who are afraid of machines. There should be adults.
“Girls advertise cars in all motor sport, it looks harmonious and nice. And if we can agree it, then we will revive this tradition.”
The young women previously performed tasks such as holding driver name boards on the grid and lining the corridor through which drivers walked to the podium.
Liberty Media, the American owner of Formula One, decided to end the practice because it was “at odds with modern-day societal norms”. On Thursday Monaco said it also intended to defy the de facto ban at its grand prix next month. Michel Boeri, president of the Automobile Club de Monaco, said that “grid girls” would be on the starting line.
“Our American friends assume that it could hurt feminine feelings when employing young women to carry signs,” he told the newspaper Monaco-Matin. “Our hostesses complete model and PR schools. They perform during the grand prix at events that are in line with their training. And they are paid for it. They look pretty and are part of the Formula One landscape. Why in the world should I stop 30 girls from earning a living?”
Sebastian Vettel, the German four-time world champion, said this week he was “a bit sad that there are no more grid girls”.
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