Formula 1 has announced that a new "grid kids" scheme will inspire the next generation of racing drivers, days after ditching the grid girl formula before races for being "at odds with modern day societal norms".

The grid kids partnership is designed to make the pre-race ceremony "more relevant and interesting for fans, especially the younger ones".

Young kart racers will be chosen by their motorsport clubs on merit, or through a lottery, and will stand alongside the drivers as they prepare for the race. Their families will accompany them, with paddock access available for the race Sunday.

Sean Bratches, F1 managing director of commercial operations, said: "This will be an extraordinary moment for these youngsters. Imagine, standing beside their heroes, watching 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.

"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?"

Reaction on Twitter was mixed. Many were thrilled with the idea of replacing scantily clad women with something positive and inspirational.

Some suggested that the Professional Darts Corporation should try the same approach after it scrapped walk-on girls at darts games last week.

But some people claimed that the concept of grid kids was no better than grid girl.

One user replied: "Only because of the visual appeal grid girls brought. If you look at children in the same way as the grid girls, even though they're not doing the same thing, then that is creepy. Otherwise, it's like the child mascot at football matches - nobody complained that that's creepy."

Former grid girl Rebecca Cooper said it was a good idea but was still critical:

When the grid girls were scrapped, Bratches said: "While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula One 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.

"We don't believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula One and its fans, old and new, across the world."