F2 disagree with Hitech’s decision to keep Vips

Henry Valantine
Juri Vips lifts his Formula 2 trophy. Saudi Arabia, March 2022.

Red Bull junior Juri Vips lifts his Formula 2 trophy in celebration. Saudi Arabia, March 2022.

Formula 2 has released a statement saying it is “surprised” by the decision made by Hitech Grand Prix to allow Juri Vips to keep racing for them for the rest of the season.

Vips was suspended and subsequently dropped by the Red Bull junior driver programme after he was found to have used racist language while streaming on Twitch last week.

The Estonian has been widely condemned for the language he used, and the Formula 2 series has officially stated that it would have made a different decision to the one Hitech made in allowing him to stay on.

The F2 statement 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 that such behaviour is properly addressed.”

Vips issued a swift apology after using the racial slur, and Hitech spoke of being “shocked and appalled” at his behaviour, but have confirmed he will be able to continue racing for them in the rest of the Formula 2 calendar.

Hitech boss Oliver Oakes said: “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 work force and has never condoned racist behaviour or offensive behaviour in any forms. 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 streaming and playing COD [Call of Duty] at that time of day. Certainly, there are things which 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.”

F2 forms a part of the support race line-up at the British Grand Prix this weekend at Silverstone.