Juri Vips says he “completely accepts” Formula 2’s questioning take on him retaining his seat at Hitech GP in the series following his use of racial slur.
Last month Vips was suspended and later sacked from being Red Bull Racing’s Formula 1 reserve driver, and was dropped from the Red Bull Junior Team. Hitech, however, did not terminate his F2 contract.
This prompted F2 to make a statement saying the decision was “surprising and not one we would have taken”. At the Austrian Grand Prix, his second event since the incident, Vips was asked about F2’s comment.
“I completely accept it. Listen, I did a huge mistake, I offended a lot of people, and they are completely right to say these things [about Hitech’s decision],” he said in F2’s post-qualifying press conference.
“I’m just very humbled and thankful to Hitech to give me a second chance. My main objective is to continue with the season and give them good results, but mainly to become a better person and show everyone that I learned from this.”
Vips qualified second, and said: “It’s not a result yet, but I think if we have a good weekend then it will definitely be a big boost because a lot has happened in the past couple of weeks but also the season hasn’t gone very well for us. If we capitalise on the starting position, it will be a huge boost for everyone.”
The future focus and not dwelling on the past is not just about the streaming incident, but also after Vips lost the Baku feature race win last month by crashing out of the lead. It is a crash he admits he has not moved on from.
“I think it’s my personality trait which is probably quite bad, I struggle to move on these kinds of situations, and I’ve had quite a few this year. [Winning this Sunday] will definitely help a lot. I don’t want to look backwards too much, I just want to focus on the here and now, and I try to forget what happened.”
Although Red Bull as a brand has ended its association with Vips entirely, it has not rushed to moved him out of his Milton Keynes flat (where Red Bull’s juniors live) and has a corporate responsibility to provide a means of sensitivity training and education for the 21-year-old over his actions.
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner confirmed at the British Grand Prix last weekend Vips would receive ongoing “mental health and educational” support. This was later erroneously taken to mean that he remains part of the Junior Team after the F1 operation added to Horner’s remarks rather than referring back to the RBJT, a spokesperson for which had at the end of last weekend reaffirmed Vips’ pre-Silverstone exit to Formula Scout after vagueness in RBR’s previous statements.
Vips told Formula Scout at the Austrian GP that he is not allowed to comment on that matter, and later had to deflect questions on it during Friday’s press conference.