MX23RW : Sunday, October 21 15:18:42

Formula 1 to reform rather than axe 'grid girls'

F1's marketing chief says that the sport is considering reforming rather than axing its traditional 'grid girls'.

Formula 1's marketing chief has said that the sport is considering reforming rather than axing its traditional 'grid girls'.

Recently, F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn admitted that concept of grid girls was now outdated and under serious review.

Brawn's comments sparked controversy, but Murray Barnett, Liberty's sponsorship and marketing chief, said that the actual idea is to simply reform grid girls.

"We're 100% committed to looking into grid girls and making them a more relevant part of the competition rather than just holding a board and standing next to a car," he told Marketing Week.

"We haven't quite cracked what this will look like, but we've recognised we need to become more progressive there."

Barnett said that F1 wants to become more "progressive" in other areas as well.

"We're looking at things like carbon offsetting, but it's also one of the best kept secrets that F1 is actually an incredibly lean engine," he said.

"We have 50pc engine recovery, 1.6 litre hybrid engines, 1000 brake horsepower - people tell me this is astonishing.

"I don't want to talk negatively about Formula E, but the power of their batteries has to come from somewhere. F1 as a sport can be sustainable and good for the environment so we need to tell that story more often."

Barnett's role in charge of marketing is a brand new one, with Bernie Ecclestone previously going it alone in many areas.

"I don't want to talk too much about Ecclestone's time, but our view now is to try to approach sponsors with a 'yes, why not?' attitude as opposed to a 'no, I don't understand the question' kind of attitude," Barnett said.

"It is going to take a long time for brands to change their perception of what F1 is and actually give us consideration, I know that.

"But we need to have patience and recognise that if we keep offering compelling experiences for brands then others will start to take notice sooner rather than later."

The 2018 championship gets underway in March with the Australian Grand Prix.

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