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F1 announces new 'Grid Kids' initiative to replace grid girls

Written by  Feb 06, 2018

Formula 1 bosses and the FIA jointly announced the start of a new 'Grid Kids' initiative on Monday, following the controversial decision to end the use of grid girls last week.

While the debate over whether Liberty Media has made the right call continues, this replacement system will see all 21 Grand Prix promoters work with national motorsport associations to offer 20 young racers in karting or other series the opportunity to stand with the finest drivers in the world before the race.

The kids will be chosen by merit or lottery with their families also invited to enjoy the F1 experience from the paddock on each Sunday and it is hoped the program can offer inspiration to the F1 drivers of tomorrow.

“This will be an extraordinary moment for these youngsters: imagine, standing beside their heroes, watch as they prepare to race, the elite of the elite in motorsport, to be there, alongside them in those precious few minutes just before the start," commercial director Sean Bratches said on the official F1 website.

"An inspiration to keep driving, training and learning so that they can dream of one day being there themselves. What better way to inspire the next generation of F1 heroes.”

FIA president Jean Todt also talked up the potential of the program to increase interest in motorsport and create closer ties between F1 and the national associations.

“F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and the dream of every young racer competing in the junior series that make up the FIA’s single-seater pyramid, from karting all the way to F1," the Frenchman stated.

"We are delighted to bring that dream a little closer by giving the future champions of our sport the opportunity to stand alongside their heroes on the grid in the build-up to the race start.

"For the wider FIA, this is an excellent initiative that provides additional support to our member ASNs in their efforts to grow motorsport worldwide through a unique reward they can make available to youngsters participating in their national series.”

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