Bernie Ecclestone: Nothing offensive about pretty women standing next to a car

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Nico Hulkenberg puts some up-and-coming engineers through their paces with the help of Renault's race simulator. (3:54)

Bernie Ecclestone has labelled Formula One's decision to end its use of 'grid girls' as "prudish".

The former F1 boss introduced promotional models to the grid in the 1980s and the practice has continued right through to the present day. Ecclestone's tenure in charge of the sport ended last year when American media company Liberty Media completed its takeover, handing the octogenarian an honorary but powerless role as chairman emeritus.

After a review which started at the end of 2017, F1's new bosses decided the use of promotional models no longer sits in line with their brand values. Ecclestone has criticised the move.

"The country at the moment is getting a bit prudish," he told the Sun. "You should be allowed to have grid girls because the drivers like them, the audience like them and no one cares. These girls were part of the show, part of the spectacle."

Ecclestone cannot understand how anyone could find the use of grid girls inappropriate.

"I can't see how a good-looking girl standing with a driver and a number in front of a Formula One car can be offensive to anybody. They are all nicely dressed, I would think people like Rolex and Heineken wouldn't have girls there who weren't presentable."

F1's decision followed the UK's professional darts board ending its use of walk-on girls, who accompany players to the stage. In terms of other racing series, last year Formula E promised to scrap grid girls during its third season, which is currently ongoing, while the World Endurance Championship got rid of them altogether in 2015.