F1 chief exec: I liked the grid girls, but F1 will still have glamour
Formula One chief executive Chase Carey has admitted that he would have personally liked to see grid girls remain a presence at races but public opinion was against him.
The American, who took over as successor to Bernie Ecclestone just over a year ago, insisted that F1 would remain a sport with "glamour" and "pretty girls".
The tradition of models lining up on the starting grid at Grand Prixs has been scrapped by F1 and replaced with a "grid kids" scheme. F1 owners Liberty Media said that grid girls were at odds with societal norms and made the call in the wake of the Professional Darts Coporation's decision to shelve the walk-on girls at their events.
Carey backed the decision despite his personal preferences.
"Actually if you just left it up to me, personally, I like the grid girls," he told the Telegraph.
"But it's not a decision for me, it's a decision for fans. And I think what we found is that a number of people anecdotally raised the issue, and as I went around what I found was there was a meaningful segment that found it — I don't know whether offensive is too strong — but found it exploitative or did not find it appropriate for the world we live in today.
"Gird girls" will become a thing of the past next season in F1 (Source: Getty)
"I recognise that many of the grid girls were proud to do it and I think that's great. And again, if you left it to me, I liked it.
"But I think when you have as many people as I found who really felt it was outdated and who felt it didn't belong in the sport today, you have to be cognisant of that. The number that were passionately on the other side were much smaller."
From next season, which gets underway in Melbourne on 25 March for the Australian Grand Prix, children who compete in junior categories of motor racing will be given a chance by race-hosting nations to line up alongside F1 drivers on the starting grid.
Liberty Media are aiming to revamp Formula 1's digital operation and attract a younger audience, but Carey insists the sport will not lose the glitz and pizazz with which it has long been associated with.
"We will continue to be a sport with glamour, with excitement – and with pretty girls," he said.