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‘Grid girls’ out, ‘grid kids’ in

F1’s replacement for female promotional models are aspirational young racers

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Last week, Formula 1 announced it would stop the use of ‘walk-on grid girls’ for this season. It was a topic that caused quite a debate online. Now, F1 has announced the replacement: a new programme called ‘grid kids’.

From this season, children competing in karting or junior categories would be chosen by their motorsport clubs “on merit or by lottery” to “make the pre-race ceremony more relevant and interesting for fans, especially the younger ones”.

FIA president Jean Todt said: “Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and the dream of every young racer competing in the junior series that make up the FIA’s single-seater pyramid, from karting all the way to F1.

“We are therefore delighted to bring that dream a little closer by giving the future champions of our sport the opportunity to stand alongside their heroes on the grid in the build-up to the race start.

“For the wider FIA, this is an excellent initiative that provides additional support to our member (sporting authorities) in their efforts to grow motorsport worldwide through a unique reward they can make available to youngsters participating in their national series.”

F1 managing director of commercial operations Sean Bratches said he hoped the opportunity to “stand beside their heroes” for those chosen kids would be “an unforgettable experience for them and their families” and “an inspiration to keep driving, training and learning so that they can dream of one day being there themselves”.

Giving young, enthusiastic racers the opportunity to stand side-by-side with their heroes will be the dream of many up-and-coming racers, even if Grid Kids sounds like the name of an after-school Nineties show.

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