Juri Vips’ racing career is one full of uncertainty at the moment, following on from the offensive language he used whilst streaming live on Twitch last month.
The Estonian driver was seen saying a racial slur whilst playing a video game in front of his viewers, something which has resulted in swift action from Red Bull Racing.
Vips, who races in Formula 2 for Hitech Grand Prix, was also a Red Bull junior driver and even drove for the team during FP1 at the Spanish Grand Prix.
As a result of the language he used, Red Bull terminated their contract with the young driver.
After realising what he’d said was profoundly wrong, Vips released the following statement via his social media accounts.
“I wish to unreservedly apologise for the offensive language used during a live gaming stream earlier today,” Vips wrote on Instagram.
“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.”
Whilst Red Bull immediately dropped Vips, Hitech GP decided otherwise and chose to give the 21-year-old a second chance.
This decision came as a shock to Formula 2, who released their own statement highlighting their “surprise” at Hitech’s decision to retain the driver.
“Following the recent incident involving Jiri Vips, F2 would like to reaffirm that the use of racist or discriminatory language cannot be tolerated in any environment,” it read.
“Hitech Grand Prix’s decision today is surprising and not one we would have taken. We will monitor the situation carefully with them to ensure that such behaviour is properly addressed.”
Since the incident, Vips’ best finish has been fifth in the Austrian Grand Prix Sprint race; he’s currently eighth in the Drivers’ Championship.
Both Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko have spoken out over the matter; however, both have reacted completely differently to one another.
Whilst both condone Vips’ foul language, Horner explained that Red Bull will continue to support the Estonian driver, despite terminating his contract.
“We have cancelled our agreement with him (Vips) and that will undoubtedly give him time for reflection,” Horner said.
“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.”
Marko on the other hand, spoke in a completely different tone, insisting that Vips will “no longer” be offered “any support” from the Austrian team.
“I want to be clear – Juri Vips no longer receives any support from Red Bull,” Marko said.
“You need to be responsible for your actions and as a result, our cooperation has ended.
“Of course, words are not a reason to destroy the career of a talented athlete. Especially as he apologised. But these are global trends.”