Red Bull to keep supporting Juri Vips despite sacking him over racial slur

Red Bull will continue to support young Juri Vips despite sacking him for using a racial slur, it has emerged.

Vips used the slur during an online gaming stream and was initially suspended before his contract as test and reserve driver was cancelled by the Milton Keynes team. It was widely believed that Red Bull had severed all ties with the Estonian, but it has emerged that the 21-year-old remains part of the team’s junior programme, reports the PA news agency.

Vips has apologised for his language, both publically and privately, and that seems to have satisfied Red Bull enough for them to keep him in their stable of young drivers.

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Speaking to PA, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: “We have cancelled our agreement with him [Vips] and that will undoubtedly give him time for reflection. Everybody at some point deserves a second chance if they can show that they have really learnt from their mistakes.

“He is a young guy, a young kid, and we will be supporting him – even though he has had his agreement terminated – from a mental health and educational perspective. Hopefully, he will learn from it.”

Vips, who joined Red Bull’s junior roster in 2018, was handed his Grand Prix debut in opening practice at the Spanish GP in May.

He is due to complete his Formula 2 season with Hitech GP and finished sixth in last weekend’s feature race at Silverstone. He is seventh in the overall standings of a championship which acts as a feeder series to F1.

Hitech’s decision to retain Vips has been criticised in some quarters, with even Formula 2 releasing a statement saying: “Hitech Grand Prix’s decision is surprising and not one we would have taken.”

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Horner added: “That is their [Hitech’s] decision and we are not funding that drive in any way. That is purely the choice of that Formula 2 team and they have their own reasons for the actions they have taken.”

The build-up to last week’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone was overshadowed by the emergence of footage of Nelson Piquet using racist and homophobic language against Lewis Hamilton. The 69-year-old triple world champion has been banned from the F1 paddock.

“It is hugely disappointing when you see the type of comments that are made,” added Horner. “We are an inclusive team. We have a very young fanbase, possibly the youngest following in Formula One, and that is incredibly important to us.

“And that is why we fully support all of Lewis’ actions and have our own initiatives that are going on internally.”

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