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Dropped Red Bull driver Vips handed lifeline as F2 team spark dismay
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Dropped Red Bull driver Vips handed lifeline as F2 team spark dismay

Dropped Red Bull driver Vips handed lifeline as F2 team spark dismay

Dropped Red Bull driver Vips handed lifeline as F2 team spark dismay

Dropped Red Bull driver Vips handed lifeline as F2 team spark dismay

Juri Vips has been handed a career lifeline by F2 team Hitech GP after being dropped by Red Bull for using a racist slur last week.

The Estonian had been making a breakthrough in his career, performing test and reserve duties for Red Bull this season and making his F1 weekend debut with an FP1 outing at the Spanish Grand Prix.

But Vips was dropped after using an offensive and derogatory term when live-streaming a gaming session last week.

Red Bull released a statement which 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.

"The team do not condone any form of racism."

But Vips has been given a lifeline by his F2 team, with team boss Oliver Oakes electing to continue with the current line-up.

Oakes explained: "Allowing him to complete his season with Hitech is an opportunity for him to demonstrate, through his actions, the type of person he is.

"I have made it clear that I think the language used was totally unacceptable, but I choose to give him the chance to redeem himself.

"My own view is that no apologies or words alone are enough to mend the damage done.

"By allowing him to keep racing with Hitech, we are giving Juri the opportunity to demonstrate genuine and sincere remorse for his future actions. He must now grasp every opportunity to do so. He needs to make lasting changes and not just short-term virtue-signalling comments.

Formula 2 'surprised' by Hitech decision

Formula 2 has itself reacted with surprise at the decision to keep Vips.

A statement from the championship read: "Following the recent incident involving Juri Vips, F2 would like to reaffirm that the use of racist or discriminatory language cannot be tolerated in any environment.

"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 such behaviour is properly addressed."

Hitech GP statement in full

"I have made the decision for Juri to keep his F2 seat with Hitech for the remainder of the season, a decision we have seriously debated.

"Allowing him to complete his season with Hitech is an opportunity for him to demonstrate, through his actions, the type of person he is.

"I have made it clear that I think the language used was totally unacceptable, but I choose to give him the chance to redeem himself.

"Hitech GP employs an inclusive workforce and has never condoned racism or offensive behaviour in any form. That said, if we live in a society where no one can make a mistake, then genuinely apologise, have the chance for redemption and learn from it, what does it say about society?

"I don't know why he said what he said. I don't know why he was playing and streaming COD at that time of day. Certainly, there are things that would have been far more beneficial for his career.

"What I do know is that having his contract terminated by Red Bull as a result of his actions is a crushing experience for him, a deservedly severe punishment. The reality is there will not be unanimous agreement whether that punishment is sufficient, and that is totally understandable.

"My own view is that no apologies or words alone are enough to mend the damage done.

"By allowing him to keep racing with Hitech, we are giving Juri the opportunity to demonstrate genuine and sincere remorse for his future actions. He must now grasp every opportunity to do so. He needs to make lasting changes and not just short-term virtue-signalling comments.

"Whilst this may not satisfy everyone, I believe we all deserve a second chance in life, but never a third. Juri's self-respect, his reputation and his career are now firmly in his hands."

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