Abu Dhabi GP chiefs defied F1s grid girl ban with stewardesses in jumpsuits

Grid girls used to be a popular staple of F1 race weekends before being phased out of the sport.

But the series' bosses stopped the practice of using scantily females to pose around cars and drivers back in 2018 as the sport looked to move with the times. However, a number of venues have attempted innovative ways to get around the ban.

Take the organisers of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the scene of this year’s season-ending race at the state-of-the-art Yas Marina Circuit. Last year, for the title-deciding showdown between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, regularly race sponsors Etihad sent 50 cabin crew to represent the airline at the grand prix.

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The all-female contingent served guests in the exclusive Paddock Club. However, rather than wearing the standard conservative uniform, the crew were expected to wear tight-fitting jumpsuits.

An Emirati designer created the uniform which features an asymmetrical wraparound belt, said to be shaped and designed to represent the Formula 1 track at Yas Marina Circuit.

Similar outfits have been donned in previous additions of the grand prix, where stewardesses have held up the boards with drivers’ names and numbers on ahead of races.

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F1 announced almost five years ago that they would be doing away with the tradition of grid girls. In 2018 season, F1’s managing director of commercial operations, Sean Bratches, said: “Over the last year we have looked at a number of areas which we felt needed updating so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport.

“While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 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.

“We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

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