Red Bull have terminated their contract with junior driver Juri Vips, after the Estonian allegedly made racist comments during an online game with fellow academy driver Liam Lawson.
Vips appeared to use the phrase “bitch n***ger” on the Twitch stream, with the team reacting via a statement last Tuesday condemning his language and announcing that he had been “suspended from all team duties with immediate effect pending a full enquiry into the incident”.
Vips then issued a statement of apology that indicated he had used the phrase in question.
“I wish to unreservedly apologise for the offensive language used during a live gaming stream earlier today,” he said on social media.
“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 co-operate with the investigation fully.”
A second Red Bull statement on June 29 confirmed that Vips’ contract with Red Bull had been terminated.
“Following its investigation into an online incident involving Juri Vips, Oracle Red Bull Racing has terminated Juri’s contract as its Test & Reserve driver,” read the statement.
“The team do not condone any form of racism.”
Vips’ 2022 season in jeopardy
Vips had served as official reserve driver for Red Bull, and last month replaced Sergio Perez in the first practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix, having previously completed tests for the team in 2020 and 2021. Each F1 team is required to run two rookie sessions this season.
In addition to his duties with Red Bull, Vips is also competing in the 2022 Formula 2 Championship with the Hitech team, competing in Red Bull colours, and was set to race on the support programme for this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
Following Vips’ initial suspension from Red Bull, Hitech also issued a statement condemning the Estonian’s remarks, and it is unclear what bearing Vips’ sacking from Red Bull may have on his continued participation in this year’s F2 season.