In a bizarre and slightly retrograde move, Monaco F1 Grand Prix organisers have shown their disdain for Liberty Media's ban on grid girls, by reintroducing them for this weekend's race in the principality.
Liberty Media recently denounced the tradition of using female models as 'grid girls' before ceasing the practice, stating it was "at odds with modern-day societal norms".
Instead, they subsequently introduced the 'grid kids' scheme, replacing female models with children already actively involved in motor sport's junior ranks.
However, in contrast to Liberty Media's stance, Michel Boeri, president of the Automobile Club de Monaco, said grid girls will be present on the starting line during the Monaco Grand Prix.
"We’ve had no problems with Liberty Media, except for the grid-girl issue,” said Boeri. “They’re pretty, and the cameras will be on them once again.”
“Our American friends assume that it could hurt the feminine feelings when employing young women to carry signs. Our hostesses complete model and PR schools. They perform during the Grand Prix at events that are in line with their training. And they are paid for it.”
The grid kids will still be used in Monte Carlo on Sunday, but the most glamorous race on the F1 calendar, will see the reintroduction of grid girls.
Press Association Sport understands female and male representatives of Tag Heuer, long associated with F1 and the Monaco Grand Prix in particular, will be present on the grid during the final build-up to the race.
Armed with cameras rather than grid placards, they will capture pictures of teams and drivers which will be posted to social media.
Liberty Media's move to end the grid girl tradition drew a mixed response from fans and teams at the time, but the furore appeared to die down quickly once the season got underway.
On hearing that 'grid girls' might be making a return at Monaco this weekend, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel said he was saddened by the decision. However, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, posted a message on Instagram outlining his delight at the return, "Thank you Jesus", before quickly deleting and then distancing himself from his post.
Russian deputy prime minister, Dmitry Kozak, who sits on the Russian Grand Prix organising committee, suggested that the race in Sochi may follow Monaco's lead by vowing to bring female models back to the grid for September's race.
"Here it should be adults," was quoted as saying by Interfax last month.
"In all forms of motor sport there are girls advertising cars harmoniously and pleasantly. If we manage to reach agreement we plan to reinstate this tradition. After all, our girls are the most beautiful."
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