Grid girls are a longstanding tradition in F1 much as they are in other forms of motorsport. Female models are employed to hold signs on the starting grid showing each driver where to line up, serving a functional role as well as an aesthetic (albeit arguably objectifying) one. This year, however, Michel Boeri – president of the Automobile Club de Monaco – had the usual gaggle of girls replaced with male models wearing white polo shirts, jean shorts and sandals.
At least one driver on the grid was less than impressed with the change. "Why didn't we have any grid girls today?" asked four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in a post-race interview. "What was that? You get there and park behind George or Dave. What's the point?"
Vettel's views may be shared by his colleagues, but he could just as well be in the minority. The star Ferrari driver has a history of giving his cars tongue-and-cheek names after female celebrities. Nicknames he's used have included "Luscious Liz," "Randy Mandy," "Kinky Kylie," and "Hungry Heidi."
Although the change isn't expected to spread across the Formula One calendar, it wouldn't be the first series to do so. Last month the World Endurance Championship – also sanctioned by the FIA – announced it was doing away with grid girls for good.