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Grid girl power: The style and substance behind the glamor

By Sarah Holt in Austin, for CNN
November 17, 2013 -- Updated 2015 GMT (0415 HKT)
Guard of honor. The Texas grid girls line up with strict precision as they add their own touch of style and glamor to proceedings in Austin. Guard of honor. The Texas grid girls line up with strict precision as they add their own touch of style and glamor to proceedings in Austin.
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Grid precision
Final touches
Champion's walk
Texan 'tom boy'
Cowboy country
Dawn start
Boot parade
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Grid girls share the tarmac with the stars of F1
  • Work long hours and have to abide by strict rules
  • Over 250 applicants for the job from all over the world
  • Have been part of F1 since the 1960s

(CNN) -- It is 5:00am on Sunday morning in Austin, Texas.

Dawn has yet to break here but preparations are already under way for the afternoon's Formula One race.

A golden glow of light pools from a hair salon in the west of the city; inside the COTA girls -- named after the Circuit of the Americas track where the U.S. Grand Prix is staged - are being preened and coiffed for their big day.

The young women share the grid with some of the sport's biggest names but while Red Bull's four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel was still getting his beauty sleep the COTA girls are already at work.

"I've been waking up at about four o'clock in the morning," explains Amanda Bingman, a first time COTA girl and the troop's only redhead. "The drivers probably get to sleep in and wait for their crew to get their stuff together.

Celebrations at the Red Bull F1 Factory