Red Bull to keep ’supporting’ axed Vips
« Even though he has had his agreement terminated »
Juri Vips has been thrown a career lifeline, even though Red Bull officially "suspended" its reserve driver after a racial incident.
"We have cancelled our agreement with him and that will undoubtedly give him time for reflection," said Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner.
Estonian Vips, 21, caused social media uproar when he was heard saying the ’N-word’ during a live stream while a housemate played Call of Duty on Twitch.
Horner, who said the comments were "hugely disappointing", said Liam Lawson steps into Vip’s F1 reserve driver role.
As for Vips’ Red Bull-sponsored Formula 2 career, his team Hitech said it would keep him on board as an opportunity "to redeem himself".
"That is their decision," Horner said, "and we are not funding that drive in any way.
"That is why we fully support all of Lewis (Hamilton’s) actions and have our own initiatives that are going on internally."
As for Vips, however, Red Bull’s door is not completely closed to him.
"He is a young guy, a young kid, and we will be supporting him - even though he has had his agreement terminated - from a mental health and educational perspective. Hopefully he will learn from it," said Horner.
Red Bull’s decision to retain its link to Vips could be because of an apparent dearth of talent in its infamous ’junior driver’ program at present.
For instance, Jehan Daruvala has recently been testing a McLaren.
"We have, obviously, Liam Lawson," Horner said. "We have Dennis Hauger racin gin Formula 2 as well as Daruvala who remains a junior driver despite testing with another team.
"(Ayumu) Iwasa is showing great potential as well. And that’s just in Formula 2," he added. "So we’ve got no shortage of talent coming through, all the way from karting through the different formulae."
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