Do influencers and celebrities have their place in the Paddock

Influencers and their impact on Formula One

The changing culture of Formula One

Influencers posing for photo
Hannah Jane Ormrod Hannah Jane Ormrod

Over the last few years Formula One has grown exponentially in online communities. Race weekends have been a symbol of extravagance wealth and talent for as long as the sport has been around. Attracting celebrities and Influencers alike to the Paddocks, this in turn promotes the sport to those who otherwise may not be aware of it. The locations change as contracts end and begin throughout the years and seasons. There have always been those tracks with more of a star quality to attract these well-known names. Some of these include the Abu Dhabi, Las Vegas, Monaco and more recently the likes of Miami.

The Celebrity

Over the years the idea of celebrity has changed, in the sense that there is now the traditional celebrity vs the non-traditional. Tom Cruise, Rowan Atkinson, The Williams sisters, Brad Pitt are all examples of celebrity that have graced the Paddock over the last few years. Every season there’s talk about these celebrities only being there for the exposure and them not actually caring about the sport, about them taking up space that could be given to a “true fan” instead. This has talk has spread rapidly with brands along with the race teams themselves inviting influencers to race weekends. It’s a notion that before the handover was encouraged to have as many rich and powerful people there as possible. Bernie Ecclestone, former head of Formula One previously stated in an email to Cyril Arbiteboul, former Renault team principal.

Portrait of Bernie Ecclestone‘Dear Cyril,
‘Please be reminded that where possible, grid access passes should be used for celebrities or people of note or as always, really glamorous ladies.
‘This is not so much a sporting matter but a part of the show business of Formula One.
‘Yours, Bernie.’

Times have changed

Since Bernie stepped back there has been a large change in the culture of the sport. With his beloved Grid Girls now being banned from the Paddock.

Grid Girls were groups of women from the country where the grand prix was being held that weekend. They dressed in a certain way and all had a certain look. They were models dressed in uniforms to show themselves off, sometime they wore traditional clothing from the country they were representing but overall they were sex symbols. Their role was to hold the numbers of the drivers grid numbers, stand on the podium with the placing drivers along with other promotional work. The ban came into play at the beginning of 2018, meaning that the majority of new fans are not aware of the grid girls existence as Drive to Survive did not start filming until the following season.

It is hard to ignore with the lack of female representation, that the Grid Girls were only there for the purpose of being looked at by the heavily male audience. It devalued the existing female fans and limited the possible growth which we saw of female fans right after the banning of them.


There are many Formula One influencers across a multitude of platforms that have a great knowledge and passion for the sport. When speaking of the discourse surrounding influencers attending the race weekends but those who create content that couldn’t be further from the world of motorsports. Those in the world of fashion, beauty and lifestyle videos. The most recent example of this can be seen as the Miami Grand Prix.

Alix Earle

Over 2.7 M Instagram followers
Over 5.3 M TikTok Followers

22 year old recent college graduate, who is best known for he “Get Ready With Me” style videos, in which she shares stories about her nights out, relationships, her plans for that evening etc.  She has one of the fastest growing TikTok accounts on the platform. Living in Miami, she has attended the Miami Grand Prix for the last two years. Yet outside of this has not shown any interest in the sport or shown that she follows the championship at all. This is where fans have issues as they feel that she does not apricate the sport for what it is but only as a place to go to and party.

Meredith Duxbury

Over 2 M Instagram followers
Over 18.1 M TikTok followers

She is an American content creator and model. She went vital for her makeup routine which involved her pouring an above average amount of foundation onto her face to achieve a flawless base. Miami 2023 was the first race she had ever attended and she admitted on her TikTok while getting ready for race day that really does not know a lot about the sport. She did also say that Madeline had being trying to teach her some of the basics about the sport and that Meredith was highly interested in learning more. This didn’t stop users flocking to the comment section of her videos to leave comments such as

“Name 5 drivers.”

“So you’re saying if I become an influencer I can finally go to a GP???”

Madeline White

Over 1M Instagram followers
Over 4.2M TikTok followers

Madeline is an English content creator and model; her content focuses on fashion and lifestyle. Her talent for sewing and reinventing clothes brought her popularity. She was invited to the 2023 Miami Grand Prix by CashApp and VisaUSA. She was then invited down to the paddock to watch the race by the Team Alpha Romeo. Her comments contrast with the other two major influencers. Madeline’s comments include

“finally a real f1 fan influencer in the paddock and probably the best dressed”

“The only influencer I like to see on race weekends ❤️❤️❤️🏎🏎🏎”

This is down to the face that Madeline often posts about the fact that she is a fan of the sport, gets up at 5am to watch the races and follows every race weekend. These are the influencers that the fans are happy to see getting these incredible opportunities, along with the specific Formula One influencers.

The Posts

Over the weekend. both Meredith and Alix posted on Instagram about the grand prix. but given the opportunities give to them you world expect the to give more than minimum exposure. Especially if it something they are genuinely interested in, the two women only had one grid post each of the whole weekend compared to Madeline’s four. The instagram posts can be seen below.

There is also a difference in the content posted, Madeline posted a photo of her where you can see that she is focused on what is  happening on the circuit before her. You can see she is there for more than the photo ops. Both Alix’s and Meredith’s posts were taken in the same place and don’t say a lot to promote the sport. If influencers were to post more informative content, or content that demonstrates their appreciation and passion for the events they are invited to, would gate-keeping fans have an easier time seeing them in the paddock?

Hannah Jane Ormrod

I am Hannah Jane, a 21 year old 3rd year Media and Anthropology Erasmus student, from Maynooth University Ireland. My main interests include Film, Theatre and Ethnography