Despite ban on grid girls, SIA's Singapore Girls to turn out at F1

Grid girls have been banned by Formula One authorities, but the Singapore Girl will still appear at the Marina Bay Street Circuit this weekend.

SIA yesterday confirmed that its iconic sarong kebaya-clad staff will turn out at the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, which runs from Friday to Sunday.

A spokesman said in a statement: "Our cabin crew are brand ambassadors for Singapore Airlines and will continue to play an integral role in the F1 2018 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix."

In February, F1 owner Liberty Media had issued a ban on grid girls, believing that their deployment is not befitting of the sport's modern image.

F1 managing director of commercial operations Sean Bratches said then: "While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of F1 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.

"We don't believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to F1 and its fans, old and new, across the world."

In place of the grid girls, Liberty has introduced its Grid Kids scheme, with 20 children already involved in the junior ranks of motorsport lining up in front of the drivers prior to the start of the races.

But this season, the Monaco, Austrian and Russian grands prix still featured grid girls.

Associate Professor Sharon Ng, of the Nanyang Technological University's division of marketing and international business, believes SIA's use of the Singapore Girl helps distinguish its staff from the sport's traditional grid girls, who are typically clad in skimpy outfits or short skirts when they hold the drivers' grid placards.

It remains a grey area whether Singapore is in breach of Liberty's ideals of making the sport more wholesome.