After his use of a racial slur during a Twitch stream, Juri Vips was suspended from Red Bull with an impending investigation. At the conclusion of that investigation, his contract at Red Bull as a junior and test and reserve driver was terminated. Despite that, Vips will remain at Hitech in F2 for this season, something that even F2 made abundantly clear that wouldn’t have been their decision.
Recently, a clip of Nelson Piquet using the Portuguese term ‘neguinho’ (translating to the n-word, and considered to be a racial slur) in reference to Lewis Hamilton from last year surfaced and led to a widespread backlash against the Brazilian on social media. Drivers, celebrities, and teams came out in support of the seven-time world champion.
Red Bull released their verdict on Juri Vips the same day when a number of F1 teams condemned Piquet’s comments, which was met with some curious responses from fans. When asked why Red Bull did not put a statement condemning Piquet, Christian Horner said that their stance on racism was clear from the termination of Vips’ contract.
Christian Horner: “Actions talk louder than words”
As reported by Motorsport, Christian Horner made it clear that the team were ‘appalled’ by Piquet’s comments, and that their action, by terminating Vips’ contract made their stance on the topic abundantly clear. Horner said: “We’d obviously had an instance with one of our young drivers at the end of last week, and we took very definitive action where he made a racist comment.”
Horner added: “We took action and we immediately removed him from the team. So we put out a statement about Juri, and then this one comes out [about Piquet]. We felt that we’d made a very strong statement through action of actually dropping Juri from the team, for not in any way condoning any form of racism or discrimination.”
Horner said that their decision made it clear about their ‘no tolerance’ police towards racism or any form of bigotry, and said that they are in fact fully behind Lewis Hamilton: “Of course, we’re fully behind Lewis, we’re fully signed up to the Hamilton Commission, and we felt that actions talk louder than words.”
Red Bull’s driver, Max Verstappen, whose partner Kelly is the daughter of Nelson Piquet also made it clear that he is fully behind Lewis Hamilton and the initiative but said that even though Piquet’s comments were offensive, the Brazilian is not a racist person. Christian Horner reiterated that Max Verstappen is fully supportive of Lewis Hamilton and against racism or discrimination of any kind.