Women in Formula 1: there must be more, not less
Tuesday, February 6, 2018 09:45
Tuesday, February 6, 2018 09:45
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The decision of the bosses of the Formula 1 to eliminate the “grid girls”, these young women, who carried a sign at the end of a pole to mark the place of the driver and his car on the false grid, has made a lot of noise. It is to ask why.
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I had to do a memory exercise to remind me that the tv showed us these “grid girls” lost in the middle of the cars, mechanics and drivers. Not counting the celebrities who stroll in order to be seen by hundreds of millions of spectators during the half-hour before the warm up lap.
Just after, the drivers come in to place their car at the edge of overheating, ready to pounce, just in the right place on the grid. To the second and to the nearest centimeter. And nobody stands around in logic.
This decision put an end to the tradition of the “grid girls”, always beautiful and often short-dressed, was taken by the people in the Formula One Group, a division of Liberty Media, the us group that is offered the Formula 1 last year for the modest sum of US $8 billion.
Have they done evidence of puritanism or of an excess of political correctness and claiming that this practice was not consistent with the values of their company or the current era? The perfect storm #METOO, one could easily believe it. Is this the case?
All American they may be, the people of the Liberty Media made blow a wind of freshness on the F1 since last year. In a way, rather subtle and intelligent, which is not always the case with our neighbours to the south, you have to admit. Especially at this time.
Remember, you surrender to Lewis Hamilton, one of the helmets of Ayrton Senna, at the bend which bears the name of the Brazilian at the circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, after the young british champion has equaled the record of pole positions to his idol and model. A simple ceremony and, frankly, moving.
I also think Fernando Alonso, another great champion, who has climbed among the crowd to greet his fans, all smiles, to a few meters away. Without any body guard or official. All at the same Great Price. And the examples of this new approach, more modern, more human and frankly more brilliant, are multiplied by the result.
The future will show-can-be Formula One Group will have had reason to put an end to the tradition of the “grid girls”, but I’m stumped for the moment. If they had the slightest use, for example, which is then present on the false grid to mark the location and identify the driver?
A better idea
Outraged by the decision of the FOG, the triple champion Niki Lauda has suggested that these are girls and boys on an equal, without specifying the outfit that they would wear. The idea is not silly, but the organizers of the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières have done even better. They will give this role to the identification of drivers, young drivers, karting, boys and girls, to recognize and live this great classic motor sport at the heart of the action.
This is the idea of Anne Roy, who is well aware of the major series of motorsport to work there for a long time as a public relations and advertising. It proves again that women hold an important place in motor sport, even if it is very often, if not too often, so that it is completely discreet.
There are exceptions, of course. Think Danica Patrick, who became the first woman to win a racing series IndyCar has ten years to complete and then third in the 500 Miles of Indianapolis the following year. It will soon put an end to his career after a last Daytona 500, stock-car and last Indy 500. After a career marked by talent, boldness, courage and controversy.
Photo Jeff Gross/Getty Images/AFP
I also think Valerie Limoges, who finished fourth in the Cup Micra, series monotype extremely tight and competitive, last season. Ask thirty guys, of all ages, who have finished behind it in the championship if Valerie is talented, determined and tenacious.
But there must be more women in motor sport. And you should see them at the top, under the spotlight. Including in Formula 1. As Monisha Kaltenborn, the lawyer, the indo-austrian who has more or less saved the team Sauber and led it until last June. As Claire Williams, who leads the team that founded by his father and which will provide, hopefully, a car more competitive, our young compatriot Lance Stroll this year.
This thrilling sport will only wear better. And all of us with him. Guaranteed. Even without a “grid girls”.