Red Bull junior and Formula 2 driver Juri Vips has been suspended by the team for using a racial slur during a livestream.
Vips was playing Call of Duty with fellow F2 and Red Bull understudy Liam Lawson when he said the offensive term, and Lawson replied by shouting Vips’ name to warn him of what he had just said, before nervously laughing.
Red Bull immediately took action against the Estonian.
“Red Bull Racing has suspended junior driver Juri Vips from all team duties with immediate effect, pending a full investigation into the incident,” said the statement.
“As an organisation, we condemn abuse of any kind and have a zero-tolerance policy to racist language or behaviour within our organisation.”
Vips would later take to Instagram to offer a hand of apology for his actions, and has pledged to work with Red Bull as they investigate his conduct.
“I wish to unreservedly apologise for the offensive language used during a live gaming stream earlier today,” he posted.
“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 cooperate with the investigation fully.”
Users on social media, however, have not been so receptive to the Hitech driver’s apology, particularly in a time when there is so much awareness about racist language and the damaging effect it can have.
“Juri Vips was born in 2000. He has spent his youth travelling the globe & works with diverse groups of people,” said an F1 fan on Twitter.
“What possible excuse can anyone have for a 21 year old using racist and homophobic language? Just accept some people are awful human beings and should face consequence.”
Writer and director, Travon Free, insinuated that there is a deeper culture of institutional racism taking place at the Milton Keynes-based side.
“Man, it’s so crazy how Red Bull Racis- I mean Racing, keeps having to suspend people for racist behavior. It’s almost like, part of the team culture or something. Now their resident black guy they trot out every race is gonna have to pull double duty!” he said.
A former Red Bull engineer, who worked with the team for six years, refuted that allegation.
“Travon, Respectfully, if you want a chat with someone who spent six years within RBR about the ‘team culture’ then DM me,” he responded.
It is as yet unclear whether Vips will be taken out of F2 by Red Bull, and Formula1news.co.uk has contacted the team for a statement on that.