Mahindra drop plans to have AI-generated influencer after social media backlash

Formula E
Formula E starts its 10th season in Mexico City this weekend. File photo: Reuters/Enrique Marcarian

The Mahindra Formula E racing team scrapped plans for an AI-generated female influencer on Thursday after facing a backlash on social media.

The team had said Ava, and the Instagram account @avabeyondreality, would 'interact' with drivers and help "shine a new light" on their progress in the electric championship.

The announcement triggered a storm of criticism.

"Motorsport companies/teams will do anything but hire actual women," was one typical reaction on Instagram.

Team principal Frederic Bertrand responded to the criticism on Thursday.

"Nurturing diversity, inclusion and innovation is at the heart of Mahindra Racing," he said on X.

"Our AI influencer program was designed with this innovation in mind.

"Your comments hold tremendous value. We have listened, understood and decided to discontinue the project."

The series has no female race drivers at present but offers a 'Girls on Track' programme for 12 to 18-year-olds with work experience and workshops as well as putting a participant on the podium after every race to highlight female inclusion.

Formula E starts its 10th season in Mexico City this weekend.

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