'Grid kids' replace 'grid girls' in Formula 1

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

PARIS (AP) "Grid kids" are replacing "grid girls" in Formula One as the motorsport series makes changes ahead of the new season.

F1 says youngsters from motorsport clubs, who are already competing in karting, will stand alongside drivers on the grid before races this season.

The announcement Monday comes after the series last week ended the long-standing practice of using women on the grid, and on the podium with the top three drivers, because it no longer fits in with Formula One's values and societal norms.

The latest initiative is a joint venture by the FIA - motorsport's governing body - and F1's owners.

FIA President Jean Todt says "Grid Kids" gives "future champions of our sport the opportunity to stand alongside their heroes."

Sean Bratches, F1's managing director of commercial operations, adds: "What better way to inspire the next generation of Formula 1 heroes."

F1 is owned by Liberty Media, which has been changing how the sport is run since taking over from former commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone in January 2017.

The season starts on March 25 at the Australian Grand Prix.

Updated February 5, 2018

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