Formula E to F1 after 'grid girl' decision: Welcome to the 21st century

Formula E has congratulated Formula One for the announcement it will no longer use grid girls, albeit with a little dig welcoming the championship to the 21st century.

F1's announcement on Wednesday that it will no longer continue the practice of promotional models holding signs on the grid has prompted a fierce debate on social media. It is expected the role will now be taken by kids, who will be given the chance to stand in front of their favourite driver's grid roles.

In its own statement on Thursday Formula E -- which some have suggested may one day replace F1 as motor racing's premier category -- pointed out it had already made the change last year.

"We're glad to welcome F1 to the 21st century," it said. "Formula E stopped using grid girls last year already, but we just didn't feel the need to shout about it.

"We're using a new concept and focusing on grid kids, and where possible we involve young and aspiring drivers that race in junior go-kart championships. It's a great and emotional experience for these kids to be on the starting grid, next to the drivers and cars that they might drive one day, so hopefully it also works as a good motivation for them. The concept is working really well."

'Grid kids' were used at the finale of Formula E's third season at Montreal last year, with the series saying it would continue the practice beyond that race. Despite the slightly mischievous tone of Formula E's statement, the series actually used 'grid girls' as recently as December for the opening race of its fourth season at the behest of the race promoter -- that race occured after F1's 2017 finale in Abu Dhabi, the last to feature them.

After conducting a review at the end of last year, F1 said it made the decision as the concept "does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms ...." The statement went on to say: "We don't believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula One and its fans, old and new, across the world."