Red Bull Racing Junior Driver Juri Vips Suspended for Using Racial Slur

Vips used the n-word during a video game streaming session.

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Juri Vips after his car stopped on track during Formula 2 qualifying at Spa.
Juri Vips after his car stopped on track during Formula 2 qualifying at Spa.
Photo: Lars Baron (Getty Images)

Juri Vips, an Estonian racing driver, has been suspended from the Red Bull Racing Junior Program pending an investigation into his use of the n-word slur during a livestreamed video gaming session.

Red Bull announced Vips’ suspension through a tweet, which read:

Red Bull Racing has suspended junior driver Juri Vips from all team duties with immediate effect, pending a full investigation into the incident.

As an organisation, we condemn abuse of any kind and have a zero-tolerance policy to racist language or behaviour within our organisation.

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It’s a very vague statement if you’re not aware of the context. During a livestreamed video gaming session between Vips and fellow Red Bull Junior driver Liam Lawson, Vips used a racial slur. Lawson is heard to laugh at the slur.

A clip of the incident has been posted on Twitter below:

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Vips also used the word “gay” in a derogatory manner while referencing to a pink hat during a livestream. Both clips had been circulating on Twitter for several hours before Red Bull made its announcement.

Vips currently competes in the Formula 2 Championship with the Hitech Grand Prix team. At this time he’s sitting seventh in the Championship standings after having scored one second-place and two third-place finishes. His most recent race wins took place during F2's doubleheader 2021 weekend in Baku, where Vips took victory at both races.

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Some fans have expressed surprise in Red Bull’s action, as it signals a welcome change in the sport’s direction. It also follows the 2020 suspension of NASCAR driver Kyle Larson, who used the same racial slur during a Twitch stream of an iRacing event. Larson was suspended by both his team, Chip Ganassi Racing, and by NASCAR, until he completed mandatory sensitivity training.

Update June 21, 2022 at 4:36 p.m. ET: Vips has responded to his suspension on Instagram by saying, “I wish to unreservedly apologize for the offensive language used during a live gaming stream earlier today. This language is entirely unacceptable and does not portray the values and principles that I hold. I deeply regret my actions and this is not the example I with to set. I will cooperate with the investigation fully.”

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Update June 21, 2022 at 6:58 p.m.. ET: A previous version of this story referred to the second video as referencing a “homophobic slur.” We chose to clarify that Vips said the word “gay” in a derogatory in regards to a situation where he tried on a pink hat. We regret the error.