Roberta Cowell’s life shows speed demons can be any shape | Barney Ronay

Cowell competed in grands prix and, after becoming the first British person to have gender reassignment surgery, remained in motor racing

Here they come, hooves clopping, heavy artillery clanking on the cobbles, tall buckled hats flickering across the skyline like a row of early industrial chimneys. Yes, it’s the PC Brigade. And they’re here to ruin everything.

This time it’s Formula One’s grid girls the PC Brigade have ruined, women employed to usher decoratively at grands prix but who have this week been decommissioned for the coming season by the sport’s executive. Pretty much everyone has already had an opinion about this and as usual these have tended to be fairly absolute.

Related: PR stunts of F1 and gambling industry are hardly sharp end of feminism | Marina Hyde

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Source: Formula 1

McLaren would welcome back Lewis Hamilton if Mercedes deal ends

• Zak Brown says any team would want Hamilton, ‘including us’
• Four-times world champion’s Mercedes contract ends this season

Lewis Hamilton could have his pick of the teams in Formula One should he not renew his contract with Mercedes, the McLaren executive director, Zak Brown, has said. The British driver secured his fourth world championship last season, his third with Mercedes, but his contract with the team ends after this campaign and he has yet to confirm a new deal.

Hamilton made his F1 debut for McLaren in 2007, won his first title with them a year later and drove for the team for six seasons before joining Mercedes in 2013.

Related: F1 announces plans for ‘grid kids’ to replace ‘grid girls’ for new season

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Source: Formula 1

PR stunts of F1 and gambling industry are hardly sharp end of feminism | Marina Hyde

Chucking out press releases about ending the practices of grid girls and swimsuit-wearing promotions workers to claim some sort of moral high ground should ring a few alarm bells

To the list of Great Woke‑ings of our time, we must formally add the gambling industry. This year has seen the disbandment of the Presidents’ Club, Formula One’s pious announcement that it was ending the practice of grid girls and now the Gambling Commission demanding the industry’s biggest conference stops expecting female promotions workers to wear swimsuits on the basis that it is “a significant stain on the industry’s reputation”.

Can you imagine how disgusting and depraved the practice must have been to significantly stain the gambling industry’s “reputation”? This is a business with a gross gambling yield of almost £14bn, which collectively contributes a mere £8m to treating the wake of misery it leaves. That’s not even the 0.1% of yield that they’re asked for (the levy isn’t statutory). I mean … what are the swimsuits made out of? Missing kittens? Human remains?

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Source: Formula 1

F1 announces plans for ‘grid kids’ to replace ‘grid girls’ for new season

• Young drivers to make first appearance at Australian grand prix
• F1 officials act after decision to end use of female models

Formula One has announced “grid kids” will be used this season after the sport controversially abolished its long-standing association with “grid girls”.

F1’s American owners Liberty Media denounced the long-standing practice of using female models before grands prix as “at odds with modern-day societal norms”.

Related: No more grid girls at Formula One? Next they will be enforcing speed limits | Catherine Bennett

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Source: Formula 1

No more grid girls at Formula One? Next they will be enforcing speed limits | Catherine Bennett

This was not a good time to upset the driving lobby with talk of restraint and abiding by the rules

First they came for the hostesses, and darts fans did not speak out, because they were not members of the Presidents Club. Then they came for the walk-on girls, and the Formula One fans did not speak out, because they find darts a bit on the slow side. Then they came for the grid girls – and Bernie Ecclestone could not stay silent. “I can’t see,” the F1 billionaire said, “how a good-looking girl standing with a driver and a number in front of a Formula One car can be offensive to anybody.”

And perhaps there might even be a rethink, now he’s made clear – at least, to anyone unversed in the sport – how critical they were to its operation. “They were necessary really,” Ecclestone said, “because when the team driver wants to get on to the grid, it’s much better and easier for them to know their place where they need to stop.” It’s just a guess, but for some F1 historians, this is presumably a bit of a Rosalind Franklin moment. In fact, it’s hard, as a woman, to know whether to burst with pride over this hitherto unsung contribution or to ask why the grid – whatever that is – should be so excessively small, or hard to spot, that drivers are unable to get on and off it without the orientation offered by young women in tight clothing. Pending a redesign, maybe traditionally dressed lollipop ladies could offer crucial human signage that also resonated with F1’s new brand values?

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Source: Formula 1

'Grid girls': F1 follows darts by calling time on women in hotpants

F1 boss says practice of parading women in pit lane before races no longer reflects sport’s brand values

In 2018, in a world where powerful men are falling and every industry is rocked by allegations of sexual harassment, the use of women as decoration feels not only offensive but embarrassingly out-of-step. This week Formula One announced it would no longer be using “grid girls” – the young women spectators like to ogle and winning drivers like to spray their champagne over – who have been part of the sport for decades.

“While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula One grands prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern-day societal norms,” said Sean Bratches, Formula One’s managing director of commercial operations. “We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula One and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

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Source: Formula 1

xxBernie Ecclestone hits back at F1’s decision to stop using grid girls

• These girls did nothing harmful to anybody, says ex-chief executive
• ‘We might as well say we don’t want people to go to a fashion show’

Bernie Ecclestone has defended the use of gird girls after the current bosses decided to end the practice at races.

The 87-year-old has been critical of the sport’s American owners, Liberty Media, who declared on Wednesday that employing grid girls was “at odds with modern-day societal norms” and will no longer happen.

Related: F1 to stop using ‘grid girls’ in next world championship season

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Source: Formula 1

F1 to stop using 'grid girls' in next world championship season

‘Grid girls’ are models used in promotional tasks like holding umbrellas or driver name-boards

Formula One is to stop using “grid girls” at the start of the next world championship season, the organisation has announced, as the practice is “at odds with modern-day societal norms”.

Grid girls are models used in promotional tasks, such as holding umbrellas or driver name-boards and lining the corridor through which the drivers walk on their way to the podium, usually wearing clothing that bears the name of a sponsor.

Thank you @F1 for deciding to stop using grid girls. Another sport making a clear choice about what they want to stand for:
“We feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.” https://t.co/Rrwxf5VcjY

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Source: Formula 1

Ron Walker, former Grand Prix boss and Melbourne lord mayor, dies aged 78

Property developer and Liberal party stalwart remembered as a man either ‘feared or revered’

Ron Walker, the former Australian Grand Prix boss and co-founder of Melbourne’s Crown Casino, has died aged 78.

Related: Formula One’s owner Liberty makes a good start but still has much to prove | Giles Richards

Today we lost a incredible man… 20 years ago he took me under his wing both privately and professionally..Ron Walker I’ll never forget you matey..
Rest easy. pic.twitter.com/iJwmFuqaXd

RIP Ron Walker

Former #AustralianGP promoter’s legacy is “unparalleled”
>> https://t.co/O4Af4Au0bY#F1 pic.twitter.com/vnLS1diZ0n

Vale Ron Walker – a great Australian, magnificent Melburnian & ferociously committed Liberal. Ron was a wise and true friend to me as he was to so many Liberal leaders. We will not see his like again. Our hearts go out to Barbara and their family at this sad time.

Australia, Victoria and Melbourne have lost a great son with Ron Walker’s passing. For decades, not much happened in Melbourne without Ron being at the centre of things. 1/2

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Source: Formula 1

How Sir Stirling Moss dodged the goats to win unique 1957 Pescara Grand Prix | Richard Williams

Fifteen miles of country lanes, no safety precautions of any sort and Sir Stirling Moss at the wheel of a Vanwall – the scene was set for a historic victory

The silver trophy, about 18 inches high, took the form of a figurine of a racing driver, and there was no difficulty in recognising the man on whom it had been modelled with impressive accuracy: the incomparable Sir Stirling Moss. As I knocked on the door of his Mayfair house one morning last summer, carrying a bag holding the figurine safely packed in bubble-wrap, it was with the poignant feeling that I might be delivering the last trophy of his phenomenal career.

His retirement from public life was announced the other day, reminding us that between 1948 and 1962 he entered 529 speed events of all kinds, winning 212 of them. Many of the trophies are on display in his house. The one I delivered was to commemorate a race he had won 60 years earlier: the Pescara Grand Prix of 1957, the only world championship race held on the longest circuit ever to feature in the series.

Related: The Forgotten Story of … Jochen Rindt

Related: Inside the mind of Adrian Newey: the F1 design guru opens up | Richard Williams

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Source: Formula 1

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