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Japanese race queens give their opinion on Formula 1 abolishing grid girls

21 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Formula 1 recently made the announcement that for the upcoming 2018 season, it will be doing away with “grid girls,” female models who have traditionally accompanied drivers to their cars before the start of the race. “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,” the organization stated. “We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

Japan has long been enthusiastically unabashed about pairing attractive women with fast cars for promotional purposes, so much so that there’s an entire sub-section of the modeling industry for “race queens,” as they’re called in the local vernacular. Race queens differ slightly from grid girls, in that instead of being contracted for one race at a single venue, they’re employed by a specific motorsports team and accompany the rest of the group as they travel to various circuits throughout the season, and also represent the team by modeling at conventions and fan events.

Our Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun recently sat down with Ms A, who’s currently employed as a race queen, and Ms B, a former race queen, to get their take on F1’s decision.

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Jumping right into it, how do you feel about the abolishment of grid girls in Formula 1?

Ms B: Well, I can see where the decision is coming from in terms of overseas venues. Motorsports themselves are very popular overseas, and F1 is popular as a pure motorsport. So I don’t think abolishing grid girls will have a negative effect on the sport.

So do you think the situation is different for Japan?

Ms B: I think it probably is. In Japan, there’s an inseparable connection between grid girls, or race queens, and F1. There’s a large proportion of attendees whose primary reason for coming out to the circuit on the day of the race is to see them.

It’s true that at the circuit, there’s always a crowd of fans with fancy cameras taking pictures of them.

Ms A: Even if their initial reason for coming out is to see the race queens, a lot of them go home with a deeper appreciation of and enjoyment for F1 racing, so I think it’d be a shame to lose that.

By the way, how does one become a race queen? If you apply for a position as one, is it pretty easy to get the job?

Ms B: Not at all! The entry barrier to becoming a race queen is really, really high.

Ms A: Each team selects a certain number of race queens every year. What makes it tough is that the contract is only for one year, so you have to audition again every year.

Wow, that sounds really difficult. About how many applicants do you compete with?

Ms A: It depends on the team, but usually you end up with about 50 applicants for every one or two openings.

Ms B: It’s really competitive. And race queens can’t get by with just an attractive face. They’re looking for someone whose build, physical health, posing, and posture are all high-level, so at the auditions they’re extremely strict.

For women working as convention and event spokesmodels, being a race queen is in a way their ultimate goal on that path. A lot of women get into that field of modeling because they want to eventually become race queens.

So working as a convention spokesmodel is kind of like training?

Ms A: There are lots of different events where models work, but for example, at big conventions like the Auto Salon and Tokyo Motor Show, there’s a lot of competition. And then that pool gets narrowed down even more as for who becomes race queens.

Ms B: When I first started out doing convention modeling, I wanted to become a race queen someday. I don’t think there’s a single woman in Japan working as a race queen who dislikes the idea of what she’s doing. The people protesting the use of models in motorsports aren’t giving those women anything else to do, so I’d be genuinely sad if race queens were to be abolished.

The 2018 Formula 1 season kicks off March 25 with the Australian Grand Prix, and makes its way to Japan’s Suzuka Circuit on October 7.

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- This Japanese race queen is really an elementary school student

-- You can drive this car with a PlayStation controller, meaning Gran Turismo is now real【Video】

-- Man runs across race track in a desperate attempt to try an F1 car for himself 【Video】

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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Look at where the camera is focused and you will understand what the only real criteria is.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

The feminists want to ruin anything that is beautiful.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

@BeowulfOkami = the feminists are just jealous that men aren't looking at them

7 ( +15 / -8 )

I am a little bit confused, did F1 ban grid girls/race queens in all things F1 or not? Are race queens in Japan somehow special/different/exempt from the grid girl ban?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ms A: Each team selects a certain number of race queens every year. What makes it tough is that the contract is only for one year, so you have to audition again every year.

Welcome to the casting couch...

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Political correctness gone mad. These race queens WANT to do this job, how hard is that to understand? F1 has become a joke, and is so boring anyway. I will stick to Drift Racing in Japan (D1グランプリ) we can still all enjoy Race Queens without being dictated to by politically correct F1.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

I don’t see how a beautiful woman who is being paid more than many men in the crowd, and is famous, popular, and thus quite powerful is being wronged.

The main reason why you dont see men out in arenas modeling sport events for women is because women dont like sports events. I see men taking off their clothes, or dancing for women to appeal to that market too (K pop).

5 ( +6 / -1 )

So they are trying to not sexuality women and....the photos they took of these two women’s bodies were completely down shirt, short skirt shots...lol

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It's a gig, these ladies aren't being forced, Images of fast cars and beautiful women have been apart of the automotive culture the world over. The idiots actually believe they've gone and done something noble.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Even if they aren't the F1 grid they still could be on the supporting races and Japanese Series like GT300 and GT500 Im guessing.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Don in japan

Men are much more inclined to be heavily into sports and physical competition. This is a well known thing and a well studied charactaristic.

I shouldn’t have said “women don’t like sports events”.

It would be much more accurate to say that 80% of the revenue, interest, and participation in sport has been male oriented and driven.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@ Mocheake

Look at where the camera is focused and you will understand what the only real criteria is.

Absolutely, objectification of women at its very worst. C'mon, Japan, it isn't the eighties anymore, get with the programme. What I don't understand is why Japanese women allow this to happen, have they no self esteem at all...?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

thepersoniamnow - So they are trying to not sexuality women and....the photos they took of these two women’s bodies were completely down shirt, short skirt shots...lol

Who took these photos? Casey Baseel? SoraNews24? Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun? Feminists?

Are they claiming these are official Formula 1 photos?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

These are darn good photos. I approve.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I'm sure the various sporting fixtures are established and popular enough without the need to parade women about.

You don't see beefy men being paraded about at women's sports.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@kaynide

did F1 ban grid girls/race queens in all things F1 or not? Are race queens in Japan somehow special/different/exempt from the grid girl ban?

Grid Girls/Race Queens are banned in F1 event areas, Japan inclusive.

As for Japanese domestic race events, of course not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not all of them are low-effort high-income male fantasy selling, though. Some girls might be unable to fit in.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

WTF with all the boob and leg shots?

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

thepersoniamnow Feb. 26  11:19 pm JST

...is because women dont like sports events.

Wow... this is a bit of a craptastic take.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

thepersoniamnowToday  08:59 am JST

Don in japan

Men are much more inclined to be heavily into sports and physical competition. This is a well known thing and a well studied charactaristic.

As someone very involved in sport - in two different countries over a few decades now, I think I am qualified to state that this is an incredibly chauvinistic thing to say.

"Well studied charactaristic [sic]"??? I call BS. Gimme links.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The people protesting the use of models in motorsports aren’t giving those women anything else to do

There dozens and dozens of other jobs. Japan has a shortage of workforce in all industries.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

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