'Grid girls' who conducted certain promotional tasks, usually wearing clothing that bears the name of a sponsor, will no longer be used by Formula 1. Their use has become the subject of debate as social attitudes have changed, and some races have begun to experiment with alternatives, such as using male models instead of female, or children as mascots.
F1 commercial chief Sean Bratches claims they feel this custom does not resonate with their brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms. The use of female models, even if not as scantily-clad as in the past, has been increasingly criticized in a sport that is now under U.S.-based ownership following Liberty Media's takeover last year. Several players criticised the move and a petition from fans for the PDC to change its mind was signed by more than 30,000 people.
F1 has not had a woman race driver on the starting grid since the 1970s but is far more mixed off the track, with female engineers and mechanics as well as in media and marketing. Two of the 10 teams have had female bosses, including former championship-winning team Williams. Formula 1 management has a number of women in senior positions, too.