Tag Archives: formula 1

There’s no hypocrisy in putting grid girls out of work

Formula 1 recently announced that they would no longer have scantily clad women acting as “grid girls” during races. This seems like a no-brainer to me, but there has been a wave of backlash against the decision. The main argument against it appears to be this:

These women have chosen to use their looks to make money, which is their free choice. And now pressure from a bunch of angry feminists has made them lose their jobs. So much for respecting women’s choices. 

Variations of this argument have recently appeared in the Mail, Mirror, Metro and Times.

And it is a terrible argument.

It wrongly assumes that feminists must support a woman’s right to be paraded for her looks on whatever platform she chooses.

But this just isn’t true. Imagine if Prime Ministers Questions decided that, to raise their viewership, a woman would introduce proceedings every week in her underwear. That would be absurd, whether it gave a job to a young woman or not. People don’t have a god-given right to dress in a sexualised way to advertise a brand. Feminists aren’t hypocrites if they don’t support giving people such a platform.

When brands like Formula One promote Grid Girls in the way that they do, it has damaging effects on other women and on society. It implies that women should be seen as decoration – only relevant for their looks – while the male drivers are heralded for their sporting ability. What kind of message does that send to young girls who see them on TV? This isn’t the same as being anti-sex, or saying that women shouldn’t be able to dress how they like in their everyday lives. It’s about context. Why should there be a platform for parading half-naked women during a race? How is that relevant to sport? 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

How Brexit will ruin the British motorsport industry

F1 1Formula 1 motor racing is a major industry in the United Kingdom, and it is kind of something we can brag about. Between 2005 and 2015 every single world champion (bar one) drove a car which was designed, engineered and built in Britain. The Mercedes driven by Lewis Hamilton this season is built in Brackley near Silverstone, its engine and hybrid system comes from Brixworth near Northampton. This is just the tip of the iceberg, the British motorsport industry leads the world, it directly employs tens of thousands of highly skilled people across as many as 4,500 companies (probably more) and brings many billions of pounds into the UK economy.

The technologies being pioneered in Formula 1 have seen fuel efficiency improvements to levels which just two years ago were thought to be science fiction. These are gains which will in the near future be applied to mass market road cars around the world reducing CO2 emissions and pollutants across the board and all of these innovations are British.

But all of this is now under serious and immediate threat. The motorsport industry in the UK could be decimated by Brexit. Brexit you see means a lot more than Brexit (a made up word which first appeared in 2012) it means a substantial change to many areas of life and industry. Right now due to the dithering and indecision of our current leadership nobody really knows what the impact of Brexit will be, but it seems pretty obvious that the EU will take a tough stance against the UK as a lesson to other nations such as France and the Netherlands which are also considering their own futures in the union.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 30 Comments

Eric Avebury writes… Bernie Ecclestone, F1 and Britain’s shameful friendship with Bahrain

ecclestone bahrainBernie Ecclestone is an appropriate person to be the public face of Formula 1, a ‘sport’ which is fast becoming known as the event of choice for autocrats who wish to launder their international reputation, as evidenced by the appearance of races in Bahrain and Dubai in recent years.

Ecclestone famously praised Thatcher, Hitler and Saddam a few years ago, saying that he preferred strong leaders, that Hitler was a man who was ‘able to get things done’, and yet paradoxically, that politics ‘is not for me’.

Equally bizarre, he …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Opinion: Campaigning for F1

Somewhere around 2003, after almost 20 years of ALDC-approved campaigning and concentrated Rennardism, I burned out and resigned from every bit of Libdemmery I was involved in bar party membership.

Goodbye campaigning, I thought, and went off to do quieter things, like setting up a motorsports website supporting British drivers, www.BritsOnPole.com.

All went well until a chancer named Simon Gillett met a bigger chancer named Bernie Ecclestone and won a deal to take the Formula One British Grand Prix to cosy old Donington Park. Quite how the necessary redevelopment work would be paid for was unclear.

Since then, the slow, painful, but wholly predictable collapse of Gillett’s plans have led to worried fans of British motorsport arriving in droves at our site in search of news and reassurance.

Posted in News, Online politics and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , and | 11 Comments
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