Claire Williams backs decision to end use of grid girls

Claire Williams (GBR) Williams Deputy Team Principal
© XPB 

Claire Williams has come out in favour of Formula 1's decision to discontinue the appearance of grid girls at Grand Prix events.

The deputy team principal of the Williams Formula One racing team told BBC Sport it was "a decision the sport needed to make".

"We have to move with the times," she added. She agreed that there was bound to be a "mixed reaction" to the end of a "long tradition" in the sport.

Williams said that Formula 1 had to "focus on further improvements that can be made to keep the sport growing and moving forward.

She said that she hoped the sport would "attract more females into the many roles available to them in the industry."

Since Monisha Kaltenborn's departure from Sauber, Williams is the only women at the top of Formula 1 team management.

The sport is also lacking female drivers. However, Williams did previously employ Susie Wolff in that role. Wolff said that she also supported the end of the grid girl practice.

"You can say, on a positive note, that the owners of F1 have made a clear statement with their decision," Wolff told the BBC.

"This is not going to change overnight the lack of female representation in motorsport," she admitted. "But could it be a step in the right direction? I believe so.

"Let's take the successful women in the sport and make role models out of them to inspire others," she continued.

"Let's get school girls around an F1 show car and allow them to dream." Formula 1 should "increase the talent pool of girls and women entering the sport."

But the decision has come under fire from other team bosses and drivers - and also from current and former grid girls.

"I think they could have looked at ways of bringing the role more into line with modern times instead of scrapping it entirely," Caroline Hall told BBC Radio 5 live.

"They could have looked at making it more equal between the sexes in the role."

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