London: A week after controversially abolishing its long-standing association with “grid girls”, Formula One has announced their intention to replace the same with the `grid kids` at every race of the 2018 season.
Liberty Media, the F1’s American owners, had earlier polarized fans by announcing the removal of the long-standing practice of using grid girls in the lead-up to F1 races , saying “it does not resonate with brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.”
And now, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the world governing body of motor sport, believes the move of using `grid kids`–who are already involved in motor racing-would make the pre-race ceremony more relevant for fans.
Confirming the news, FIA president Jean Todt said, “Formula One is the pinnacle of motor sport and the dream of every young racer competing in the junior series that make up the FIA’s single-seater pyramid, from karting all the way to F1.
“We are therefore delighted to bring that dream a little closer by giving the future champions of our sport the opportunity to stand alongside their heroes on the grid in the build-up to the race start. For the wider FIA, this is an excellent initiative,” the official website quoted Todt, as saying.
Liberty Media, who has owned the rights to Formula One since January 2016, said that they are opting to make use of `grid kids` in their bid to reinvent the sport and make it more widely attractive.
“This will be an extraordinary moment for these youngsters: imagine, standing beside their heroes, watch as they prepare to race, the elite of the elite in motorsport, to be there, alongside them in those precious few minutes just before the start. What an unforgettable experience, for them, and their families. An inspiration to keep driving, training and learning so that they can dream of one day being there themselves. What better way to inspire the next generation of Formula 1 heroes,” F1’s American commercial chief, Sean Bratches said.
The grid kids will be chosen by the motorsport clubs, with the lucky few getting a chance to accompany and stand alongside the 20 best drivers in the world on the grid as they prepare for the race.