The first 2 years we had the unbelievable experience of getting to be the head designers for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 United States Formula 1 Grid Girls.
Here are a few pictures from races of the CoTA Girls on and off the grid. Also throughout the pictures, you will be able to read about the history of the Grid girls, why they are on the track, and the history about how they came to be the faces of all the race tracks around the world.
2013 Grid Girls Photo from Autoweek.com
2012 Grid Girls kissing the fans and cameras behind the Paddock
Known as the Race Queen in Japan, Pit Babe in Britain, Pretties in Thailand, Racing Model in Korea, there are many naming conventions for what the majority of us refer to as Grid Girls.
According to racing lore and legend, Rosa Ogawa was the first ever grid girl. Rosa first appeared in the late 1960s motor races in Japan to represent race winners, and as such cemented the grid girl as an icon at the race tracks. Officially, F1 grid girls hold up the grid number for their racer on the grid before races. They also welcome and cheer the three F1 racers who top the podium at each race.
Unofficially, these girls are the ambassadors for F1.
2013 Grid Girls and the F1 Flag Photo by Mirko Strange race-press.com
2012 Grid Girls standing on Pit Lane holding the flags photo by Jared Tennant
The whole notion of grid girls seem all fine and good. Grid girl outfits, however, are a different story. Taking a look at this seasons' Grid Girl outfits, we see odd cut-outs, cleavage-flashing tops with short-short mini-skirts or boring country club attire. If the intention is sexy femme, the end results are not achieving that effect. That's unfortunate. The countries that are on the F1 calendar all have their own rich culture and heritage, which translates to a unique sense of style and an individual approach to women's fashion. It's disappointing to see none of those truly reflected in the styling of the Grid Girl outfits. Can Grid Girl outfit designers borrow a look or two from Bond Girl outfits?
2013 Grid Girls in their Cowgirl Style Photo by Mirko Strange race-press.com
2012 Grid Girls carrying their repsective drivers signs as they march Pit lane getting ready for the race
Granted, the circuits that are under F1 licensing have to follow F1 rules for Grid Girl outfit design. Perhaps it's the F1 rules that are keeping Grid Girl outfits from being relevant or keeping with the modern times.
2013 Grid Girls and Sebastian Vettel
Ross and the 2012-2013 US F1 Grid Girls in front of the podium on pit lane photo by Jared Tennant
A message from the designer himself:
When designing this collection I had to think long and hard about a few things. One, what is the rest of the world going to think about how the United States will represtent their country and their track when it comes to Formula 1 racing? Second, how do I design a collection that is classy enough that is still sexy and represents not only the United States, but more importantly Texas? Thirdly, what iconic silhouettes already shape American culture for the rest of the world?
Ross working in design studio in NYC
This was really a challenge because I knew that in certain cultures, certain styles of dress were unacceptable, so I knew that I had to think long and hard about skirt length, the percentage of skin showing, and most importantly the overall style of dress for a Formula 1 event. Also when designing this collection, I wanted everything to be done state-side. I could have just as easily had things made in China or somewhere overseas, but we wanted everything designed, sourced, and manufactured here in the United States. The sketches and my design process was done here in Austin, Texas. The wools, leathers, and linings, came from New York, and my manufacturing was all done in New York- 100% all American Made goods from start to finish.
2013 Formula 1 Grid Girls Photo by Mirko Strange race-press.com
Grid Girls walking pit lane earlly in the morning photo by Jared Tennant
At the end of all the designing and the traveling back and forth from Austin to NYC, fighting Hurricane Sandy during the peak days of manufacturing, we came out with some incredible products that really made the entire staff from Formula 1 and the staff of The Circuit of The Americas very happy. Alex Molina from All Sport himself, was very impressed with the overall look, the presentation, and the way our Texas Grid Girls handled the weekend.
Ross watching the F1 cars warm up at turn 20 photo by Jared Tennant
History of Grid Girls credit- The Austin Grand Prix www.theaustingrandprix.com/
2012 photos credit- Jared Tenant www.jtpics.com/
2013 photo credit from Mirko Strange race-press.com/