Formula One announces it will no longer use 'grid girls'

The use of 'grid girls' in Formula One was under review over the winter. Peter J Fox/Getty Images

Formula One will no longer use 'grid girls' in the build-up to Formula One races after the sport's bosses decided the practice was "at odds with modern day societal norms".

F1 promised to review its use of female models at races at the end of last year and on Wednesday announced its decision to change its pre-race practices.

"Over the last year we have looked at a number of areas which we felt needed updating so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport," Sean Bratches, F1's managing director of commercial operations, said in a statement on the sport's official website.

"While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula One Grands Prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms. We don't believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula One and its fans, old and new, across the world."

The practice of employing women to stand on the grid and hold either flags, umbrellas or driver numbers dates back several decades in F1, but has come under increased scrutiny in recent years. The World Endurance Championship, which counts the 24 Hours of Le Mans among its most famous races, ditched the tradition in 2015 saying it was outdated.

A Formula One statement said the time on the grid ahead of the race would be used "as one of celebration, where guests and various performers can add to the glamour and spectacle of the grand prix, enabling promoters and partners to showcase their countries and products".

The decision will also apply to other motorsport series that take place during grand prix weekends.

Formula One's new owners Liberty Media have made several changes to the promotion of the sport since taking control a year ago -- including a significant rebranding -- with the mission statement of "unleashing the greatest racing spectacle on the planet".