Formula 1 is to replace ‘grid girls’ with a new programme called ‘grid kids’ this season.
F1 bosses plan to use budding racing drivers “to make the pre-race ceremony more relevant and interesting for fans, especially the younger ones”.
The sport said last week it would no longer be using female promotional models on the starting grid.
The children used will be competitors in karting or junior categories, chosen by national motorsport authorities.
A joint statement from governing body the FIA and the F1 Group said the choice would be made “on merit or by lottery”.
FIA president Jean Todt said: “Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport 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.
“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 (sporting authorities) in their efforts to grow motorsport worldwide through a unique reward they can make available to youngsters participating in their national series.”
F1 managing director of commercial operations Sean Bratches said he hoped the opportunity to “stand beside their heroes” would be for the children chosen “an unforgettable experience for them and their families” and “an inspiration to keep driving, training and learning so that they can dream of one day being there themselves”.
He added: “What better way to inspire the next generation of Formula 1 heroes?”
Bratches said last week that using ‘grid girls’ “does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms”.