Red Bull driver returns to racing after racial slur controversy

The former Red Bull F1 driver said he was happy to be offered a second chance following the controversial incident.

Juri Vips, the former reserve driver for Red Bull’s Formula 1 team, is set to embark on a new chapter in his racing career by making his IndyCar debut with Rahal Letterman Lanigan for the remainder of the 2023 season. 

This opportunity marks Vips’ return to competitive racing after a tumultuous period that saw his contract with Red Bull terminated over a year ago due to a racist comment he made on social media.

Red Bull’s decision to sever ties with Vips came as a result of a thorough investigation into the online incident. 

The official statement from the team at the time read, “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. 

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The team do not condone any form of racism.” 

This marked the end of Vips’ association with Red Bull, causing him to lose not only his position as a reserve driver but also his seat in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, which serves as the stepping stone to Formula 1.

However, Juri Vips is now poised to make a triumphant return to the racing world through the IndyCar series. 

With Rahal Letterman Lanigan deciding to part ways with driver Jack Harvey, they have chosen to assess Vips’ potential during the final rounds of the current season, with an eye toward a more substantial collaboration in the upcoming year.

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Vips, aged 23, has previously tested for Rahal Letterman Lanigan twice earlier in the year, which played a crucial role in securing his spot with the team. 

Reflecting on the news of his IndyCar debut, Vips expressed his excitement, saying, “I haven’t been driving all year so the anticipation for this opportunity has been immense but I’m really looking forward to starting again. 

“We tested together at the end of 2022 in Sebring and it seemed like we just gelled. 

“I got along with everyone and I really like the atmosphere at the team.”

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Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan, has earned a reputation for offering second chances to talented drivers looking to revive their careers. 

Vips acknowledged this aspect, stating, “Bobby’s also one to give second chances and I’m extremely grateful that he is giving me one and I really hope to bring a good result for him, Mike [Lanigan] and the whole team.” 

The sense of gratitude and determination expressed by Vips underscores his eagerness to make the most of this fresh opportunity on the IndyCar stage.