Chief Executive of Formula One Chase Carey has controversially said there were still be 'pretty girls at races' this season.
'Grid girls' were scrapped by F1 as of the start of the 2018 season, which gets underway on March 25, and replaced with 'grid kids' child mascots instead.
Formula One said the decision was made in accordance with modernisation, changing social norms and different brand values. The verdict on 'grid girls' has caused controversy throughout the F1 world.
"I think the reaction [to the scrapping of grid girls] has been what we expected,” Carey said, per The Telegraph.
“We’ve had some people who have been positive about it and others who were concerned. Unsurprisingly, many long-term fans view it as part of the sport they grew up with and I respect that.
“Actually if you just left it up to me, personally, I like the grid girls. But it’s not a decision for me, it’s a decision for fans.
Tens of thousands of people, including former PDC world champion Raymond van Barneveld, signed a petition calling on the group to change its mind after a similar decision was made in darts to remove 'walk on' girls at the start of darts matches.
'Grid kids' will be appointed on merit or via a lottery system, F1 bosses say it will make the pre-race process "more relevant and interesting for fans, especially the younger ones". The decision has been made also to encourage more young fans to take up the sport.
Casey added: “We’re going to maintain glamour. We’re going to continue to have pretty girls at races. I think it’s a part of life, and it’s a part of what makes our sport special. It is a sport of glamour and of mystique.
"But I think you have to continue to evolve. In today’s world, there are obviously different sensitivities to 10-12 years ago. I don’t think you can just be stubborn.
“There are things that made sense in the past that don’t going forward. When I was at Fox I used to say, ‘I wish the world was frozen with three broadcast networks. It was a much simpler world’.
"But it’s not. You do have to continue to evolve and respect people’s views. If a meaningful number of people don’t agree with something, I think you have to respect that. But we will continue to be a sport with glamour, with excitement – and with pretty girls.”
Well if that doesn't cause another stir in the F1 universe we're not sure what does. This saga is certainly going to rumble on for a little while yet!
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