Despite the recent grid girl ban F1 implemented for its races, the iconic Singapore Girl will continue to play an “integral role” in the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix weekend. This was according to a Singapore Airlines (SIA) spokesperson in response to media queries.
“Our cabin crew are brand ambassadors for Singapore Airlines and will continue to play an integral role in the upcoming Formula 1 2018 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix,” the spokesperson said in a statement. The spokesperson did not comment on the specific duties the Singapore Girl will be undertaking - including grid girl duties, encouraging viewers to watch the race to find out.
It was only in February this year that F1 revealed it would end its practice of using walk-on grid girls in its races, as the organisation did not believe the practice is “appropriate or relevant” to old and new F1 fans across the world. The move was said to take effect during the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season, and also apply to F1’s other motorsports series taking place during Grands Prix weekends.
The move away from the grid girls concept came amidst F1’s recent steps to refresh its brand image, which includes a new logo and a new mission statement. Typically, grid girl duties include promotional tasks such as wearing clothing which bears the names of sponsors, holding umbrellas or driver name-boards on the grid. For the case of SIA, this included lining the corridor to welcome drivers on their way to the podium.
The practice of using cabin crew to represent SIA on the race track first came about after the airline took over the title sponsor role in 2014, which includes duties typically undertaken by grid girls.
Meanwhile, when Singtel was the title sponsor for F1, the use of grid girls in its traditional form was a common occurrence, with a selection process which garnered media attention. This included an entire pageant-style competition in 2009 to name top 21 girls who will lead the pack on race day. In addition, the selection process was also broadcasted on Mediacorp's Channel 5 through a Singtel Grid Girls on Tour programme in 2009.