No Red Bull support for Vips, ‘cooperation has ended’

Hitech Juri Vips during Austrian Grand Prix weekend. Spielberg, July 2022.

Juri Vips’ lingering association with Red Bull appears to have come to an end, according to motorsport advisor Helmut Marko.

Vips was suspended by Red Bull in June following an incident in which the Estonian driver used a racial slur while appearing on a gaming live stream hosted by Liam Lawson.

Following an investigation by Red Bull, he was dropped as the team’s official reserve and test driver, Vips having had the chance to take part in FP1 in May’s Spanish Grand Prix.

However, with his Formula 2 team Hitech choosing to give Vips a reprieve and keep him in his seat, the situation regarding whether or not Vips remained part of the Red Bull junior programme is slightly unclear.

As reported earlier this month, Vips did not appear to have been fully dropped by Red Bull, with team boss Christian Horner telling the Press Association that Red Bull will “keep supporting him from a mental health and educational perspective”.

Vips’ appearance at the most recent Formula 2 event, ironically at the Red Bull Ring, saw him kitted out in a plain black helmet and plain white overalls that bore none of his usual Red Bull design. He finished fifth and eighth in the two races that weekend and is eighth overall in the standings.

Hitech's Juri Vips at the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, June 2021.

Marko, Red Bull’s motorsport advisor and head of their junior driver programme, appears to have clarified that Vips has been dropped entirely by Red Bull.

“I want to be clear,” Marko told Austrian broadcaster ORF Tirol, quoted by SportsMole.

“Juri Vips no longer receives any support from Red Bull. You need to be responsible for your actions and as a result, our cooperation has ended.”

Marko also admitted some unhappiness about how the association had come to an end, with Vips’ career hitting a major stumbling block as a result of his actions.

“Of course, words are not a reason to destroy the career of a talented athlete,” he said.

“Especially as he apologised. But these are global trends.”

PlanetF1 have requested comment from Red Bull regarding Vips’ current status with their company.