Formula 1 decided to ban the immensely popular grid girls in January this year and the grid girls blamed the feminists who called the job a morally degrading one. However, it is much more complex matter than that. Truth remains that Formula 1 is quite incomplete without them. Who wants to see some men constantly driving about in loops (well, there may be a substantial population of those who want that). But Formula 1 championship is a package of many things and those many things are all glamorous.
The grid girls performed various promotional duties during the races, but the feminists thought the practice was "at odds with modern day societal norms". But now, Formula 1 has found a way to bring them back.
Despite Liberty Media's ban on grid girls, female models will be back on the grid at this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix. However, instead of holding placards with drivers' names, they'll be taking pictures and posting them on social media for a luxury watch brand.
Both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have dearly appreciated the return of grid girls. "I think women are the most beautiful thing in the world," Hamilton told reporters Wednesday, after organisers confirmed TAG Heuer would continue its longstanding promotional arrangement with the race.
"I think all the women that took part as a grid girl in the past did it because they want to. I'm sure if you ask any grid girl on Sunday if they're happy to stand there, their answer will be yes,” said Vettel.
Besides the girls, the "grid kids", a concept that was introduced this season -- young karters elected by motorsport clubs or "lottery" -- will also be present on the streets of Monte Carlo.
While there has a been a lot of discussion over the matter as to what people think about the grid girls, especially the feminists, a very relevant opinion was overlooked - that of a grid girl herself.
An ex grid girl Penny Sturgess shared her opinion on the news when she heard of the grid girl ban. This is what she had to say and by the time you're done reading, you will agree with Penny - What happened to freedom or choice?
“Not only have I made some incredible friends along the way but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience as a grid and promo girl. I had the pleasure to Grid at the formula1 for a few years in my early 20’s and not once did I feel belittled or objectified. Our outfits were always classy.... one year even a skirt suit... something many women wear to the office.
Yes motorsport is male dominated but I can safely say some of my closest male friends come from the industry, I feel respected and appreciated and hold these people dearly. We are a little family and however dysfunctional it can be at times it’s a place I feel at home, fills me with confidence and I look forward to each year.”
It is true the girls who chose to be a grid girl did it voluntarily, but then fact remains that the absence of grid girls wouldn't make a fundamental change to what Formula 1 as a sport really is all about. Like footballers have had kids and mascots escort them to the field, grid girls did for F1. While it doesn't make a difference to the sport, it has been a tradition for decades. Tell us what you think in the comments below.