They have put an end to champagne on the podiums of Formula 1, changing it for sparkling wine, this being another step that is slowly changing Formula 1 from the way many of us know it.
Ahead of the 18th of July Silverstone British GP, which is actually still to be decided if it will be held with the public or not, many of us will miss those gorgeous pit babes showing before and after the race.
F1 has been going several steps back. In 2018 it was the Pit Girls, now the champagne. But that tradition didn’t disappear from MotoGP, where pit babes are among the paddock before each race. And if nothing changes till August 20, when the British MotoGP will be held, pit babes will be around.
But happened for all this controversy around pit babes?
As has already happened in other motor racing categories, such as Moto GP, part of the fans complained to the organisers to show their disagreement with the role that the pit babes were playing at the Formula 1 circuits.
The origin of the controversy is clear, and it is evident how in the competitions these hostesses are shown as a merely aesthetic product that ‘adorns’ the starting track.
The elimination of pit babes
Liberty Media promised to study the situation and listen to all parties involved before making a decision. After doing so, it has opted for the definitive elimination of the grid girls, also known as pit babes. The choice was not an easy one, and critics have been quick to disagree.
There are many who argue that there were other, less extreme solutions that did not involve sending all these women to the dole. When the controversy erupted, they were the first to raise their voices to beg not to be prevented from doing the work that fed them.
The pit babes’ own opinions
Sandra, a former image hostess that nowadays is a pornstar at GoodPorn, has worked at the Montmeló Motorcycle Grand Prix. She makes this point before expressing her position on the eradication of female grid hostesses.
“As there will never be equality, and there will never be men and women as hostesses, I think it’s good that it disappears, just as I think it would be good if Miss Spain disappeared, for example,” she says.
“They’re a bit old-fashioned. Although Marina assures us that she has always been treated well, she says that some of her colleagues have had a worse time. “What should be done is to treat the hostess with respect, but as it doesn’t get any better, maybe it should be removed”.
The use of hostesses was something that had been grating for some time, especially in younger minds. This dissatisfaction was reflected when one of cycling’s most criticised customs, that of two women kissing the stage winner, was removed.
Possible alternatives to pit babes
You can use signs with feet to hold the riders’ numbers on the grid, or you can leave the champagne bottles on the ground on the podium. How are the pit babes going to do their job now?
An interesting question would be how they are going to fill the vacancy they leave behind, because they didn’t just walk around. And especially who is going to do it? They can’t put women back in, which is obvious, but if they only choose men, wouldn’t they be discriminating as well? These kinds of debates are always complicated, and the solutions are slowly but surely being put in place, and usually not to everyone’s liking.
What is clear is that it is a controversial issue and that Liberty Media, as the new owner of the category, wants to be involved in everything and to listen to the fans. However, they will also have to learn to mediate. Not everything that was done before their arrival was wrong, not everything is black and white, and there is a fabulous grey scale to choose from.
Men as an alternative to pit babes
In this way, it is intended to solve the vacancy that had been left after the farewell of the girls on the grid, and at the same time give the opportunity to the youngest fans to be close to their heroes. Or at least, that’s what Liberty Media claims, which doesn’t end one controversy when it’s already into the next one.
It’s already done in other categories like Formula E, but it’s a controversial decision nonetheless. The fans don’t see it clearly and, no doubt, this is only the beginning of the story.
Liberty Media and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), which is also part of the initiative, have limited themselves to announcing the news, but have not gone into details that, although once insignificant, are perhaps less so today.
What will the children be wearing, will it be different for boys and girls, and will they be gender-selective in the way they are organized on the grid? Of course, the controversy can go on for as long as they want.