What did Red Bull Formula 1 test and reserve driver Juri Vips say on Twitch that led to his indefinite suspension by the team?
Earlier this week, Red Bull announced that they had suspended Formula 1 test and reserve driver Juri Vips indefinitely after he used a racial slur while playing a video game that was being livestreamed on Twitch.
The 21-year-old Estonian, who currently competes in Formula 2, was playing Call of Duty: Warzone with Liam Lawson, another Red Bull junior driver who also competes in Formula 2.
Red Bull released the following statement.
Vips apologized in a separate post, which he shared to his Instagram account.
The indefinite suspension comes just over a month after he had the chance to make his Formula 1 practice debut. He replaced veteran driver Sergio Perez behind the wheel of the RB18 for the opening practice session of Spanish Grand Prix weekend at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Though there was no official statement from Red Bull or Vips detailing exactly Vips said, footage of the incident quickly made its way around the internet, as you’d expect in this day and age. The phrase used that ultimately led to this suspension was “b**** n*****”.
While the “full investigation into the incident” is ongoing, this mistake could have huge career ramifications.
In April 2020, NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson used the n-word while the game he was playing was being livestreamed on Twitch. NASCAR and his team at the time, Chip Ganassi Racing, suspended him indefinitely. But after several sponsors cut ties with him, Chip Ganassi’s hand was practically forced, and he fired the driver of the #42 Chevrolet.
As for Vips, he is currently in his third season competing in Formula 2 and second season as a full-time driver for Hitech Grand Prix. He made his debut in the series in 2020 for DAMS and recorded one podium finish in eight races en route to a 16th place finish in the standings.
In 2021, he finished in sixth place in the standings with two wins in 23 races. Through 12 races in 2022, he has three podium finishes and sits in seventh in the standings.
Prior to his arrival in Formula 2, Vips won the ADAC Formula 4 Championship for Prema Powerteam with two wins in 21 races. With four wins in 30 races, he finished in fourth place in the 2018 Formula 3 European Championship for Motopark, and with three wins in 16 races, he finished in fourth in the 2019 Formula 3 Championship for Hitech Grand Prix.