It was recently announced that Formula 1 bosses have decided to drop grid girls and replace them with children for the 2018 season – a decision that generated mixed opinions among fans and even team members.
Now, F1 chiefs – in partnership with the ruling body, the FIA – announced the new 'Grid Kids' initiative. Children will be chosen by local motorsport clubs on merit or by lottery. They will accompany and stand alongside the drivers on the grid, at every grand prix.
"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," said F1 managing director Sean Bratches. "What an unforgettable experience, for them and their families; 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 Formula 1 heroes."
'Grid kids' have already been used in Formula E, including at last weekend's Satiago round in Chile. These grid kids, who will be accompanied by their immediate family, will be chosen at every F1 event and also Formula 2 and GP3 races, where possible.
"Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motor sport 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," FIA president Jean Todt added. "We are therefore 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."