This morning the FIA announced Grid Kids, a replacement for grid girls that will promote local child racers. You can read all about it at The Drive. Here’s my opinion of it.
AWESOME. While I’m sure some of the grid girls were legit F1 fans, every single kid on that grid will be meeting their heroes, which can be a life-changing experience. I mean, think about your favorite interest you had as a kid, whatever it was. Think about what it would’ve meant to you to meet a prominent person in whatever that interest was. You want to be a pilot and meet Chuck Yeager. You want to be an astronaut, and meet Neil Armstrong. For aspiring young racers, this is the equivalent of meeting these out-of-this-world figures. (Yes, I know Yeager never earned his astronaut wings—I mean figuratively.)
How inspiring is that? I mean, I’ve been inspired by meeting all of the Subaru Rally Team USA drivers at various points (and not just when David Higgins crashed in front of me at Mt. Washington). That was cool in itself, but imagine how much it would mean to a young racer aspiring to do what they do. They have their whole lives ahead of them, and if the experience inspires them to work that much harder on their racing, they could go even further than they would have before.
One day I fully expect to see a few drivers coming up the F3 and F2 ranks on their way to F1 who made their first appearance as Grid Kids in F1.