Vote: Are Formula 1 and the PDC right to drop walk-on and grid girls?

PUBLISHED: 14:32 01 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:45 01 February 2018

Lewis Hamilton at the 2017 United States Grand Prix. Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG

Lewis Hamilton at the 2017 United States Grand Prix. Picture: Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG

Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG

Are Formula 1 and the Professional Darts Corporation right to scrap walk-on girls and grid girls? That’s our question to you in our poll today.

The PDC announced its decision to bin walk-on girls – glamorous women who escorted male darts players to the stage – earlier this week after talks with broadcasters.

And Formula 1 yesterday ditched grid girls, models who conducted promotional tasks and held driver name-boards at each race for decades.

In each case authorities have said giving this role to women is outdated and sexist – but critics, including some walk-on and grid girls, have bemoaned what they consider the loss to political correctness of a harmless tradition.

The move comes almost exactly a century after the British parliament passed the Representation of the People Act of February 6, 1918 – which gave women the vote in this country for the first time, so long as they were over 30 and met property qualifications.

Those supporting the removal of grid girls from Formula 1 include St Ippolyts’ Sam Collins – a motorsport professional and former racing driver, who said the move was long overdue.

“What did grid girls add to the sport?” he said.

“Nothing. The message it sends is all wrong. The real people the sport should be highlighting are the extremely intelligent people who build the cars, and quite a few of them are female.

“Women are every bit as capable as men in racing, and sometimes far more capable. These are the women to promote in the sport, to inspire young kids to do STEM careers. Grid girls are like something from the 1950s – anachronistic and sending the wrong message.”

Sam, who is set to run for the Lib Dems in May’s North Herts District Council elections, said an alternative he supported was inviting youngsters from deprived areas of each race location to join the Formula 1 teams for a day of work experience.

Those in favour of keeping grid girls include Charlotte Gash, a part-time grid girl who yesterday told BBC Radio 5 live she was “disgusted” by the decision.

“It’s upsetting and I’m rather disgusted that F1 have given in to the minority to be politically correct,” she said.

“I’m one of the lucky ones that I don’t rely on this as a main source of income, but there are girls out there who do.

“I know the grid girls are there to look pretty when they’re out on the grid, but my role was interacting with the crowd and we were there as an advertisement for the sponsors. We love doing it – we don’t want it taken away from us.”

Stevenage’s Lewis Hamilton begins his defence of the world Formula 1 crown with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 25.

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