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Juri Vips Remains Part of Red Bull’s Junior Driver Program

Juri Vips

Juri Vips, Formula Two driver for Hitech Grand Prix

Jüri Vips is still part of Red Bull’s junior driver program, according to reporter Chris Medland. The team reportedly confirmed that it was just his contract as a test and reserve driver for the F1 team that was terminated.

The PA news agency was the first to report the news. In an interview with the outlet, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said, “We have cancelled our agreement with him and that will undoubtedly give him time for reflection.

“Everybody at some point deserves a second chance, if they can show that they have really learnt from their mistakes. He is a young guy, a young kid, and we will be supporting him—even though he has had his agreement terminated—from a mental health and educational perspective. Hopefully he will learn from it.”

Oracle Red Bull Racing announced on June 28 that it had terminated the 21-year-old’s test and reserve driver contract following its investigation into his use of a racial slur while live streaming. Vips 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 Post.

He did apologize for his behavior in a statement on Instagram, and last week, Hitech Grand Prix decided to retain Formula Two driver despite what happened. 

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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.

“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.”

Formula Two, though, did not agree with the move by Hitech Grand Prix, releasing a statement of its own, saying it will “monitor the situation carefully with them to ensure that such behavior is properly addressed.”

Oracle Red Bull Racing’s announcement that the team was terminating Vips’s test and reserve driver contract last week 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. Piquet has since issued an apology but is reportedly banned from the F1 paddock