Red Bull retain Vips as junior driver after ousting from F1 team over racial slur

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Red Bull has confirmed it will continue to “support” Juri Vips after dropping him as their test and reserve driver over his use of a racial slur.

Last week Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the team had taken the “draconian” decision to cease Vips’ involvement in their Formula 1 team over his use of the expression “bitch n*****” during a live video stream the week before.

However the team has now confirmed Red Bull has not severed its ties with Vips entirely.

A Red Bull spokesperson confirmed to RaceFans that although “Juri’s contract as test and reserve driver was cancelled by Oracle Red Bull Racing, he is retained by Red Bull as part of their junior driver programme.”

Vips’ position on the programme was thrown into doubt following his ejection by Red Bull. After his Hitech F2 team chose not to take any action against him, Vips participated in last weekend’s round at Silverstone wearing a Red Bull-branded helmet.

Nonetheless the 21-year-old was removed from the list of drivers on the Red Bull Junior Team’s website. Earlier today the Junior Team issued a preview for this weekend’s F2 round at the Red Bull Ring in which it referred to its four team members as Jehan Daruvala, Liam Lawson, Dennis Hauger and Ayumu Iwasa, making no mention of Vips.

The Red Bull spokesperson added they “will support Juri as he transitions from his role with us.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner confirmed last weekend Lawson had replaced Vips as test and reserve driver for Red Bull.

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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18 comments on “Red Bull retain Vips as junior driver after ousting from F1 team over racial slur”

  1. he is retained by Red Bull as part of their junior driver programme.

    Why? Do Red Bull support racist juniors in general or just this racist in particular?

    1. Fred Fedurch
      6th July 2022, 23:08

      The Red Bull spokesperson added they “will support Juri as he transitions from his role with us.”

      Try reading the whole article.

    2. That means contracts has to run it’s course for those not understanding (F1 teams contract are easy to break junior programs seems more difficult.)

  2. Contractual prestidigitation so appropriate for RedBull.

  3. They should’ve been fully clear with their wordings from the get-go that they only referred to test/reserve role rather than driver program involvement to avoid ambiguity.
    However, the Junior Team website, which is separate from RBR, worsened the matter via their contradictory info.

    1. Yeah, a bit of a mess they made of it @jerejj. In stead of a clear message that they do not tolerate racism, by now it seems just a cynical press statement and halfway house solution.

      I guess the reality has something to do with 1. Vips money being needed in the program for the rest of the season and 2. having found a good excuse to drop him from the program after somewhat disappointing results recently.

      But who knows, some of the more toxic culture inside Red Bull being reluctant to strictly speak out against racism might play a role too.

  4. Good for him, ridiculous to throw away a talent for something trivial.

    1. Racist is who racist does.

      He’s no talent.

  5. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    6th July 2022, 19:59

    I like Red Bull but I don’t really support this. Either get release him or don’t, stand by him or let him go. They say they’ve dropped him as the reserve and it’s unlikely he’ll ever get that back now so if people wanted him to be punished or suffer consequence for his actions he’s certainly got that, but the ambiguousness now of saying we have a zero tolerance policy towards this kind of thing but actually he’s still here in some nebulous fashion is really muddy.

    1. @rocketpanda The way I read it they are supporting him psychologically and educationally. So it sounds to me like they are ushering him out but with some support to help him find his way in hopes that he learns a lesson from this and never does this indiscretion again.

  6. This is… …not draconian. Christian would probably benefit from getting a better dictionary.

  7. While using that language is absolutely not acceptable and should be punished in some way, is the crime really worth losing his entire career ?

    Using a racist slur once like that doesn’t necessarily mean you support racist ideology. People say stupid things when they’re angry, they say stupid things when they’re young (although not that young in his case). Unless this is a repeated offense I think he deserves a second chance.

    I know being a public figure means he needs to be better than most people but who hasn’t said something dumb wrong and offensive at some point in their lives ?

    I know a lot of people will disagree and probably will call me names but I think sometimes we need a bit of nuance even if what he did was clearly wrong.

  8. Ah, contracts and their clauses….

  9. RBR appears to have balanced it. Anyway, a sensible decision as I’m sure Vips would’ve learnt his lesson of the times we live in.

  10. Is that all he said, this is litterely the name of a song on a mainstream hiphop album that sold 17 million copies worldwide and was in the charts for over 2 years in some European countries.

    1. He can’t say that. He’s white.

      Ahh the standards…

  11. isthatglock21
    7th July 2022, 12:28

    Given the owner this is hardly surprising. The Austrian Steven Bannon so I’m told by German friends. Culture is set from the top.

  12. losing the role of test and reserve driver for an F1 team is a massive penalty.

    Red Bull sent a very strong message. No doubt.

    The whole RB junior squad is on notice. Other drivers as well.

    If you are from the generation that plays games on twitch and listens to Lil Jo, you need to be alive to these issues, not just a passenger

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