Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Lucky numbers // A winning solution to an F1 headache

Published by Mr. C

Monisha Kaltenborn and an F1 grid girl
Credit: Sauber AG

Formula 1's ongoing employment of glamour girls to hold up grid position boards ahead of a Grand Prix created much debate during a recent Aside with Joe podcast. During the chat I argued that grid girls are an antiquated idea and pointless addition to the race, that could easily be dropped from a weekend without affecting the smooth running of a Grand Prix. This was met with pushback both during the show and afterwards on social media.

We have since however, received a rather brilliant suggestion from a listener via the contact form.

If they must have someone holding the car number for the grid place or clapping the winners onto the podium, F1 fans who have won a competition should do it. Surely that experience would have more value to a fan, rather than a female reduced to a decorative object.

That seems like a perfect compromise. It would make for a very minor change to proceedings and could be a win for newcomers Liberty Media who appear keen for F1 to be more open to fans than it has been in the past. The winners would provide the required local "character", photographers couldn't complain there was nothing for them to take pictures of, the sport gets a much needed public relations boost and shows it is attempting to be a more welcoming and family friendly sport.

Nothing changes, except for the 20 individuals holding up the boards and these already change from race-to-race anyway. I put the proposal to Twitter and the early reactions appear positive.

Gets more kids and younger people involved in sport too, like football mascots.

@abarton93 @abarton93

I bloody love this

@chainbear @chainbear

A thousand percent YES

@beckitastic @beckitastic

Get school kids to do it. Or if age is an issue health and safety wise then yeah fan comps from those at the race

@F1_Girl @F1_Girl

The football mascots angle is interesting. It's now common to see football stars, tennis stars and more walk into an arena with children in tow. Formula 1 has long ignored it's younger fanbase, so this too seems like a relatively easy win.

I can't immediately see any reason why this couldn't be a slam dunk success for F1. It seems straightforward to implement, integrates the local community further and drags what is still a very backwards and insular looking sport closer to the modern era.

Does anyone have Sean Bratches' email address?