Former Red Bull Junior Juri Vips retained by Hitech GP
Juri Vips racing with HitechGP at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. May 21. Photo Courtesy: HitechGP.

Following Red Bull Racing’s decision to terminate test and reserve driver Juri Vips’ contract over the use of offensive language, HitechGP announced on Wednesday that the driver is given a second chance with the Formula 2 team to complete his season.

Hitech Grand Prix released an official statement on Wednesday, announcing its decision concerning Juri Vips’ short-term future with the Formula 2 squad.

Alongside his driver duties in F2 with the team, Vips also acted as a test and reserve driver with Formula 1 team Oracle Red Bull Racing and sister brand AlphaTauri.

On Tuesday, Red Bull announced the decision to terminate the driver’s contract, relieving him of all driving duties, following its investigation of an episode involving the use of racist language by the driver during an online live gaming stream.

His future in motorsport remained uncertain until Wednesday, when Oliver Oakes, Hitech GP team principal, issued an official statement taking a different direction towards Vips’ future within the team.

I have made the decision for Juri to keep his seat with Hitech for the remainder of the season, a decision we have seriously debated,” the UK-based racing team boss stated.

According to Oakes, allowing the driver to continue to race and complete the current season represents an opportunity for the 21-year-old “to demonstrate through his actions the type of person he is.”

Adding: “I have made it clear that I think the language used was totally unacceptable, but I choose to give him the chance to redeem himself…

In 2021, the young Estonian secured a full-time seat with the team to contest the Formula 2 championship alongside New Zealand driver Liam Lawson, making his debut at the Bahrain International Circuit.

He scored his first points for the team in Monaco; throughout the year, he would clinch six podiums, finishing the season in 6th place with 120 points under his name, becoming the first driver to win twice in a single weekend at Baku in Azerbaijan.

Continuing to speak about his decision to retain the driver, Oakes also certified the team “employs an inclusive workforce and has never condoned racism or offensive behavior in any forms.”

Further asked to reflect on the subject, saying: “If we live in a society where no one can make a mistake, then genuinely apologize, have the chance for redemption and learn from it, what does it say about society?

Last week, footage in which the former Red Bull junior is presumed heard using a racial slur on a video game live stream led the Formula One team to suspend the driver “pending a full investigation into the incident.”

The same day, the driver wrote on his Instagram account an apology, admitting the language used was unacceptable and “does not portray the values and principles that I hold.”

Vips asserted he regretted his actions and would be cooperating fully with the investigation.

This is not the example I wish to set,” he remarked.

In that regard, Oakes’ statement outlines: “I don’t know why he said what he said. I don’t know why he was playing and streaming C.O.D [Call of Duty game] at that time of day. Certainly, there are things that would have been far more beneficial for his career!

The team principal also explains that having Vips’ contract terminated by Red Bull is “a crushing experience” for the driver as “a deservedly severe punishment”.

Moreover, he concludes: “My own view is that no apologies or words alone are enough to mend the damage done. By allowing him to keep racing with Hitech, we are giving Juri the opportunity to demonstrate genuine and sincere remorse for his future actions.”

He needs to make lasting changes and not just short-term, virtue-signaling comments.”

While this may not satisfy everyone, I believe we all deserve a second chance in life, but never a third. Juri’s self-respect, his reputation, and his career are now firmly in his hands.”

The Formula One world championship as the Formula 2 series will race at the iconic circuit of Silvertone this weekend, where the BritishGP will take place.

In a statement released soon after Oakes’s words were made public, the Formula 2 Championship considered the decision “surprising and not one we would have taken.”

Moreover, the organization pointed out “we will continue to monitor the situation with them [Hitech] to ensure that such behavior is properly addressed.”

Currently, he sits in 7th place in the driver’s overall standings with 51 points.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and journalist, passionate about motorsport and tennis.Her articles are published in newspapers and international online publications.

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