Oracle Red Bull Racing has suspended test and reserve driver Juri Vips with immediate effect for the use of racist language.
Following footage in which the Red Bull junior driver is heard using a racial slur on a video game live stream, the Formula One team decided to take immediate action by suspending the Estonian from his duties while conducting a full investigation.
On Tuesday, the Milton Keynes-based team released a statement, stressing: “Red Bull Racing has suspended junior driver Juri Vips from all team duties with immediate effect, pending a full investigation into the incident.”
“As an organization, we condemn the abuse of any kind and have a zero-tolerance policy to racist language or behavior within our organization.”
A few hours later, the 21-year-old driver took to Instagram, writing: “I wish to unreservedly apologize for the offensive language used during a live gaming stream earlier today.
“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.”
A member of the Red Bull Junior Team since 2018, Vips made his debut in Formula One feeder series’ the FIA Formula 2 championship, back in 2020.
However, it wasn’t until the next season that he secured a full-time seat with the UK-based racing team, Hitech Grand Prix, pairing up with New Zeland driver Liam Lawson.
Throughout his campaign in 2021, he clinched six podiums, finishing the year in 6th place with 120 points under his name, becoming the first driver to win twice in a single weekend at Baku, Azerbaijan.
By the end of the year, he took part in the Formula One Young Driver Test at the wheel of the RB16B, held in Abu Dhabi.
In 2022, he continued to contest the Formula 2 championship with Hitech GP as Marcus Amstrong’s teammate.
Late in March, he scored a podium in Sakhir at the Bahrain International Circuit, crossing the finish line in third place in Formula 2 season opener Feature Race.
Currently, he sits in 7th place in the driver’s overall standings with 51 points in 12 races.
Furthermore, he acts as one of Red Bull’s test and reserve drivers, a role he also fulfills with the team’s sister brand Alpha Tauri.
A month ago, he made his debut at the pinnacle of motorsport, taking on Sergio Perez’s car during the first free practice session of the F1 Spanish Grand Prix staged at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Montmelo, Spain.