Bernie Ecclestone criticises Formula 1’s ‘prudish’ grid girl ban

Former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has hit out at the sport’s decision to drop grid girls, describing the move as “prudish”.Late last year Liberty Media, which acquired the sport in early 2017, ousting Ecclestone in the process, said the matter would be reviewed, and this week it made a final decision to drop grid girls for the upcoming 2018 season.

The news made headlines around the world with many celebrating the move; Ecclestone however doesn’t believe anyone need be offended by “good-looking” girls standing in front of F1 cars.

“The country at the moment is getting a bit prudish,” he told The Sun newspaper. “You should be allowed to have grid girls because the drivers like them, the audience likes them and no one cares. These girls were part of the show, part of the spectacle.

“I can’t see how a good-looking girl standing with a driver and a number in front of a Formula 1 car can be offensive to anybody.

“They are all nicely dressed. I would think people like Rolex and Heineken wouldn’t have girls there who weren’t presentable.

“I thought we had forgotten about girls not being able to do guys’ jobs and girls being able to do guys’ jobs. I thought we were all the same.

“It was all part of the show. The girls with the drivers was all part of the pre-show part of the tension.”

One group which has reacted negatively to the move is grid girls themselves, who argue the ban will result in fewer women at races and fewer jobs.

“I love my job,” wrote Lucy Stokes on Twitter. “I’m respected, paid well and proud to represent the team I’m working for. It’s not right for anyone, let alone ‘feminists’ to judge our job when quite frankly they are putting so many women out of work. Where is the equality and empowerment here?”

Former grid girl Sophie Wright added: “Feminism now costing women their jobs. Wake me up when all this crazy political correctness blows over and pass me the Lycra! I loved being a grid girl.”

Motorsport Week ran a poll on Twitter, with 60 per cent saying they don’t back the ban (more than 200 votes were cast).