Red Bull appoint new reserve driver after controversial incident

Juri Vips was sacked by Red Bull after using racist language on a livestream.

Carlin Formula 2 driver Liam Lawson has been chosen to replace Juri Vips as Red Bull’s reserve driver after the Estonian was sacked for using racist language.

Vips was gaming on a livestream with Lawson when he used the slur, as well as alleged homophobic language, and he was immediately suspended by Red Bull.

The 21-year-old took to Twitter to accept responsibility for his actions and issue an apology.

“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.”

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The Austrian side showed no leniency for the atrocious language used by the driver, and they opted to eject him from their young driver programme.

“Following its investigation into an online incident involving Juri Vips, Oracle Red Bull Racing has terminated Juri’s contract as its test and reserve driver,” they stated.

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“The team do not condone any form of racism.”

Lawson won three races in Formula 3 in 2020 with Hitech as he ended fifth in the standings, and he was promoted to F2 with the same team last year, winning a race with them in the higher F1 feeder series.

The New Zealander took three wins while conjointly competing in DTM last season, and he narrowly lost out on the title to Kevin van der Linde after a controversial crash in the final round between the pair.

Lawson faced competition for the Red Bull role from fellow F2 driver Jehan Daruvala, who has five podiums with Prema this year and has been cruelly denied victories in Spain and Baku through a reliability failure as well as an ill-timed Safety Car.

The Indian sits third in the standings, and recently tested with McLaren at Silverstone, where the circus is performing this weekend.

Dennis Hauger was promoted to F2 having won the F3 title last year, so there is plenty of young talent coming up for the Milton Keynes-based side at the moment.

“Liam Lawson steps into that role, obviously following the Juri Vips announcement,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

“Jehan is doing a great job and we’re just following his progress with interest, as well as Dennis Hauger as well, all qualifying for super licences. That’s our coverage at this point in time.”

Vips was allowed to complete his season with Hitech after his Red Bull dismissal, with team principal Oliver Oakes insisting that he wants to give the Estonian the chance to “redeem himself.”

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Lawson finished the British Grand Prix F2 feature race in third ahead of sixth-placed Vips, with Daruvala coming home seventh.

Hauger failed to finish following a horrible crash with Roy Nissany, and the race was won by Williams protege Logan Sargeant of Carlin.