Formula 1 has announced today that it will no longer be using walk-on grid girls as they feel that it doesn’t resonate with our brand values”, according to Sean Bratches, Managing Director of Commercial Operations.  Using grid-girls has become synonymous with the F1 brand, but when something just doesn’t fit with the modern day societal norms anymore, it’s time for change.

F1 isn’t the only sport to make a change in this way.  The Professional Darts Corporations announced earlier this week that they will no longer use walk-on girls, despite the protests, mostly from the girls themselves.  There’s even a petition that currently holds more than 36,000 signatures!

We are a long way away from the James Hunt era where motorsport had a very different culture.  So, despite being something that has been around for a long time, does Motorsport still warrant grid girls? And with the recent increase in stories of this nature and things like #MeToo, Harvey Weinstein and the more recent Presidents Club, F1, maybe it’s time for more companies to realise that maybe their brand values are no longer appropriate.

We spoke to Nicole, who has worked as a Grid Girl many times - 

With the changing of the times I can see why Grid Girls have been brought to question in this way, because from the outside it may seem really outdated and sexist. But to me it was a profession that I really enjoyed, I got to travel the world, meet lots of interesting people and the earning potential was good. Most other Grid Girl’s I met agreed with me as well – they were doing that job out of choice, and I personally am going to miss it!”

But despite the protests by the walk on girls in darts, the various comments just like Nicole’s and fans complaining on social media that the excitement is being taken out of the sport, F1 and the PDC are simply making appropriate decisions for the times.  It will be interesting to see how the rest of the sporting industry deals with this change in attitude.  Boxing has already said that it will be keeping the walk-on girls as they “do a job”.

Why Is This Even Important?

Your brand values are the foundation of your business and their importance should never be underestimated.  They go hand in hand with your company culture and communicate to the outside world what you believe in and what you stand for.

The fans may be outraged and the nation split on this defining moment, but with all the news stories around sexual harassment would keeping grid girls eventually have a negative impact on your employees?  Would it prevent you from being able to attract the very best candidates for your roles? 

Brand values are very powerful and by articulating what you stand for, you will attract employees who share your beliefs.  Shared values between employees and companies have a very positive effect on many areas of business from customer satisfaction, employee engagement, employee retention and talent acquisition.  So as the landscape changes, companies are being forced to evolve in order to remain relevant and on point.

The decision made by the new owners of F1 shows the importance of looking at your brand values on a regular basis to ensure that they are in tune with not only the company vision and values, but also the changing social attitudes of the general public and what is acceptable.  After all, they are your customers and employees of the future.


JobHoller is a team of passionate experts in employer branding, recruitment and marketing.  If you need help to review your current brand values when it comes to recruiting, get in touch and see what we could do for you - 01244 567 967 or email our Employer Brand Manager at sophie@jobholler.com

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