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F2 Disagrees With Hitech GP Keeping Juri Vips After Use of Racial Slur

Juri Vips, Imola 2022

Juri Vips during the third round of the 2022 FIA Formula 2 Championship.

Hitech Grand Prix decided to retain Formula Two Juri Vips despite his use of a racial slur in a recent live stream, to give him “the chance to redeem himself.” F2, however, disagrees with the move. 

The 21-year-old was playing Call of Duty: Warzone with Liam Lawson, another Red Bull junior driver, who was live streaming the game on Twitch. During the live stream, Vips cursed and said the n-word, according to the Washington PostThe Formula Two driver for the British-based Hitech Grand Prix team said in his apology statement last week, “This language is entirely unacceptable and does not portray the values and principles that I hold. I deeply regret my actions and this is not the example I wish to set.”

Red Bull Racing suspended its test and reserve driver last week in order to conduct an investigation. The results came Tuesday when the team terminated its contract with Vips. Red Bull’s announcement came the same day that Formula One, the FIA and Mercedes condemned Nelson Piquet’s use of racist language in reference to Lewis Hamilton during a Nov. 2021 podcast interview.

Hitech Grand Prix boss Oliver Oakes made a lengthy statement on Wednesday about keeping Vips’s F2 contract, saying he wants him “to demonstrate, through his actions, the type of person he is.” Oakes added that losing the Red Bull backing was a sufficient punishment. 

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"Hitech GP employs an inclusive workforce and has never condoned racism or offensive behaviour in any forms," he said. "That said, if we live in a society where no one can make a mistake, then genuinely apologise, have the chance for redemption and learn from it, what does it say about society?

“I don’t know why he said what he said. I don’t know why he was playing and streaming C.O.D. at that time of day. Certainly, there are things that would have been far more beneficial for his career!

“What I do know is that having his contract terminated by Red Bull as result of his actions is a crushing experience for him, a deservedly severe punishment. The reality is there will not be unanimous agreement whether that punishment is sufficient, and that is totally understandable.” 

Following Hitech’s announcement, Formula Two released a statement of its own. 

"Following the recent incident involving Jüri Vips, F2 would like to reaffirm that the use of racist or discriminatory language cannot be tolerated in any environment.

“Hitech Grand Prix’s decision today is surprising and not one we would have taken. We will monitor the situation carefully with them to ensure that such behaviour is properly addressed.”