Juri Vips was Red Bull’s test and reserve driver and had replaced Sergio Perez for FP1 in Spain. However, that all changed after the Estonian used racist language during an online gaming stream on Twitch, he was suspended from Red Bull, and his future at Hitech was also in serious doubt.
Vips had released a statement after the incident, saying: “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. I will cooperate with the investigation fully.”
The suspension from Red Bull was in lieu of an impending comprehensive investigation, which only recently concluded. Following the end of this investigation, Vips’ contract at Red Bull was terminated. The official statement read:
“Following its investigation into an online incident involving Jüri Vips, Oracle Red Bull Racing has terminated Juri’s contract as its test and reserve driver. The team does not condone any form of racism.”
While many expected that perhaps he will also be removed from Hitech, things have not gone that way, and Vips’ will continue to race in F2 with them, where he currently sits seventh in the table. This surprised many people on social media, and also surprised F2 itself.
Hitech: Giving Jüri Vips a chance to ‘redeem himself’
In a statement, Hitech boss, Oliver Oakes said: “I have made the decision for Jüri to keep his F2 seat with Hitech for the remainder of the season, a decision we have seriously debated. Allowing him to complete his season with Hitech is an opportunity for him to demonstrate, through his actions, the type of person he is.”
Oakes added: “While this may not satisfy everyone, I believe we all deserve a second chance in life, but never a third. Jüri’s self-respect, his reputation and his career are now firmly in his hands.”
This drew further controversy from people on Twitter, with many expressing their surprise at the decision, calling it laughable, or expressing disappointment at Hitech not making ‘the right decision.’. F2 themselves have come forward to say that they were surprised at the decision, and it was not a decision they would have made if they were in charge.
As reported by Motorsport, their statement read: “Following the recent incident involving Juri 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.”
Hitech CEO, Oakes had added in his statement: “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 the society?” and said that he felt the termination of Vips Red Bull was a sufficiently severe punishment.