Formula 1 to stop using 'grid girls' at races

Formula 1 is ending the practice of featuring “grid girls” at its races, as the tradition has increasingly come under fire from critics.

The women, often provocatively dressed, would parade around on the track prior to the beginning of a race, accompanying drivers to their cars and sometimes holding umbrellas to protect them from the sun.

"While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 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,” the sanctioning body wrote in a press release announcing the decision.

“We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.”

Formula 1 was purchased by USA-based Liberty Media in 2016, and the company has been taking steps to broaden its appeal.

In one high profile incident, reigning Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton was widely panned when he sprayed one of the "girls" in the face with champagne after winning the 2015 Chinese Grand Prix.

hamilton

Lewis Hamilton sprays champagne on a "grid girl" after winning the 2015 Chinese Grand Prix.  (AP)

The Australian V8 Supercars series removed grid girls in 2016, while the British Professional Darts Corporation recently announced plans to stop using “walk-on” girls after pressure from its broadcasting partners.

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Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com's Automotive Editor. Follow him on Twitter @garygastelu