After decades of being a fixture in the paddock and starting grid, Formula 1’s grid girls, sometimes known as “umbrella girls”, “brolly birds” or “race queens”, will no longer make an appearance from 2018. This ban also applies to other motorsports series that take place during Grand Prix weekends at the same circuit.

“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,” said Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1. During the start-up to the race, it has been traditional for teams to have a grid girl carry an umbrella to provide the driver with shade.

The girls usually wear outfits emblazoned with team and sponsor logos, and are also a fixture in the public areas during the Formula 1 weekend. “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,” said Bratches.

News of such a ban comes as no surprise, as the decision was being mulled last year. Other race series, such as MotoGP, still have grid girls, but the practice has come under criticism, with calls to promote gender equality with “grid boys”.

Formula 1 no longer races in Malaysia, with the final race at Sepang International Circuit held last year. The 2018 Formula 1 World Championship season kicks off with the Rolex Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 25.