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. But F1, "once synonymous with its jet-setting playboy drivers", decided grid girls no longer "resonate with our brand values".
Some even blamed the Black Death on the tight-fitting outfits worn by women at these events, another chronicler attacking "clothes that were so tight that they wore a fox tail hanging down inside their skirts at the back, to hide their arses". 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.
Coach and manager of the cheer squad Jools Purchase said cheerleading couldn't be compared to grid girls because of the athletic ability involved in the former.
And, what of the "grid girls" themselves?
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"I've been doing this for over eight years now and it should be our choice what we do for work, whether it be this, whether it be hostessing, ring girl duties, we should have the choice". In a statement he said the company: "Doesn't believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula One and its fans, old and new, across the world".
Model Kelly Brook, a former Formula One grid girl, described the role as "one of the best jobs I've ever had". We are making it an issue now and it should not be one. "I am quite happy that these things are fading out".
Lauda said, "I think it's a great pity to break a tradition such as this, which does Formula 1 - but above all, women - no favors at all". Formula One is a sort of modern-day version of the medieval tourney, a celebration of masculine bravery and strength by its latter-day knights - the son of the head of the Habsburg family is, funnily enough, a racing driver - and just as the tourneys of the later middle ages had a glamorous, sexual atmosphere, with handsome women presenting prizes to the most gallant champions, so modern motor racing has had a similar feel. This is not doing any favours to F1 and especially not for women.
"We're using a new concept and focusing on grid kids, and where possible we involve young and aspiring drivers that race in junior go-kart championships". How will it affect series like WSBK and MotoGP?