Formula 1

Lauda disapproves of Liberty Media decision to lose 'grid girls'.

Niki Lauda has his say on Formula One axing grid girls

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Following the Professional Darts Association's recent controversial decision to end 'walk-on girls' at its Darts World Championships, Liberty Media - Formula 1's new owners - have followed suit and announced that their traditional 'gird girls' who are synonymous with the sport will no longer be parading the tarmac in motorsports premier championship.

The news has split opinion, but few have been so vocal as three-time world champion and now Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda.

Regarding part of the decision being that it made it harder for women to progress elsewhere within the sport, the Austrian blasted: "How dumb can someone be?

"Women have emancipated themselves and do very well at it... so this is a decision against women.

"I think it's a great pity to break a tradition such as this, which does formula one but above all women no favours at all.

"I want to encourage rather than diminish women. But once again it is men who have decided over the heads of women."

The ageing former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who was in charge of the sport for decades and continuously worked to increase the sport's exposure through numerous means, agreed with Lauda.

"These girls did nothing harmful to anybody. I don't remember any of the girls being forced to do anything."

The notable thing 68-year-old Lauda and octogenarian Ecclestone do have in common is their accumulation of birthday candles.


To consider their argument a stubborn and outdated opinion, however, would be short sighted, as even 30-year-old four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel declared it "ridiculous".

And, what of the 'grid girls' themselves?

Many have taken to social media to voice their disapproval, as has modelling agency boss Vicky Valdazo, who has supplied many grid girls.

She told national press: "It's stupid... It's like removing miners from the mine. Someone has to do it."

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil

Someone indeed, and Lauda thought he may have the answer in order to reverse the decision: "I would not mind seeing grid boys next to the grid girls. Why not?"

With the recent #MeToo campaign and the resulting closer focus on equality in all areas of society, it's ultimately unlikely that we will see grid girls reappear in the near future, at least in their previous form. 

Equally then, it's unlikely we'll see Lauda's 'grid guys' either.

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