Formula One announced Monday it would be introducing a new program called “Grid Kids” to make the “pre-race ceremony more relevant and interesting for fans, especially the younger ones.”
The announcement comes a week after F1 announced it would be getting rid of the long-standing practice of using “grid girls” in 2018. In a statement, F1 said, “We feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.”
“This will be an extraordinary moment for these youngsters: imagine, standing beside their heroes, watch as they prepare to race, the elite of the elite in motorsport, to be there, alongside them in those precious few minutes just before the start,” Sean Bratches, F1 managing director of commercial operations, said in a statement. “What an unforgettable experience for them and their families. An inspiration to keep driving, training and learning so that they can dream of one day being there themselves. What better way to inspire the next generation of Formula One heroes.”
The kids will be chosen at every Formula One race and when possible, every major feeder series like F2 and GP3. Kids will be chosen by their motorsport clubs on merit, or by lottery, and will be competing in karting or junior formulae, the series said.
“Formula One is the pinnacle of motor sport and the dream of every young racer competing the junior series that make up the FIA’s single-seater pyramid, from karting all the way to F1,” FIA president Jean Todt said in a statement. “We are therefore delighted to bring that dream a little closer by giving the future champions of our sport the opportunity to stand alongside their heroes on the grid in the build-up to the race start. For the wider FIA, this is an excellent initiative that provides additional support to our member ASNs in their efforts to grow motorsport worldwide through a unique reward they can make available to youngsters participating in their national series.”