Formula 1 and the FIA have confirmed a new plan called ‘Grid Kids’ which will replace the outgoing grid girls at every race on the starting grid.

The initiative will see Grand Prix promoters work with the FIA’s recognised national sporting bodies to select children and their families to come on to the starting grid before each race. The youngsters will be selected from motorsport clubs either on merit or in a lottery format from children competing in karting and junior formulae series.

A selected 20 children will stand alongside each F1 driver on the grid as they prepare before the start of the race.

Sean Bratches, F1 Managing Director of Commercial Operations, has hailed the initiative as an “unforgettable experience and opportunity” for children who dream of making it into F1 in the future.

“This will be an extraordinary moment for these youngsters: imagine, standing beside their heroes, watch as they prepare to race, the elite of the elite in motorsport, to be there, alongside them in those precious few minutes just before the start,” Bratches said.

“What an unforgettable experience, for them, and their families. An inspiration to keep driving, training and learning so that they can dream of one day being there themselves. What better way to inspire the next generation of Formula 1 heroes.”

FIA President Jean Todt has echoed the sentiment from Bratches and sees the idea as another way to strengthen the ties between F1 and the single-seater pyramid across the globe.

“Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motor sport and the dream of every young racer competing the junior series that make up the FIA’s single-seater pyramid, from karting all the way to F1,” Todt said. “We are therefore delighted to bring that dream a little closer by giving the future champions of our sport the opportunity to stand alongside their heroes on the grid in the build-up to the race start.

“For the wider FIA, this is an excellent initiative that provides additional support to our member ASNs in their efforts to grow motorsport worldwide through a unique reward they can make available to youngsters participating in their national series.”

The 'Grid Kids' will effectively replace grid girls from 2018 - which was met by a mixed reception with a number of former drivers and Bernie Ecclestone calling for a U-turn on the decision to drop grid girls.