F2 reacts with dismay as Hitech keep Vips in team after using racist language

Formula 2

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Jüri Vips’ Formula 2 team will keep him in its line-up for this weekend’s round at Silverstone, despite the driver being dropped by Red Bull for using a racial slur on a live video stream.

Red Bull confirmed yesterday Vips had been dropped from its junior driver programme, following an investigation into the language he used during livestreamed Call of Duty gaming session.

However Vips’ F2 team Hitech Grand Prix has announced that he will be allowed to complete the 2022 Formula 2 season as part of its roster. The F2 championship immediately registered its disappointment with the team’s decision in a statement.

“I have made the decision for Jüri to keep his F2 seat with Hitech for the remainder of the season, a decision we have seriously debated,” Hitech team principal Oliver Oakes announced.

“Allowing him to complete his season with Hitech is an opportunity for him to demonstrate, through his actions, the type of person he is. I have made it clear that I think the language used was totally unacceptable, but I choose to give him the chance to redeem himself.

“Hitech GP employs an inclusive workforce and has never condoned racism or offensive behaviour in any forms. That said, if we live in a society where no one can make a mistake, then genuinely apologise, have the chance for redemption and learn from it – what does it say about society?

“I don’t know why he said what he said. I don’t know why he was playing and streaming [Call of Duty] at that time of day. Certainly, there are things that would have been far more beneficial for his career!

“What I do know is that having his contract terminated by Red Bull as result of his actions is a crushing experience for him, a deservedly severe punishment. The reality is there will not be unanimous agreement whether that punishment is sufficient, and that is totally understandable.

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“My own view is that no apologies or words alone are enough to mend the damage done. By allowing him to keep racing with Hitech, we are giving Juri the opportunity to demonstrate genuine and sincere remorse for his future actions. He must now grasp every opportunity to do so. He needs to make lasting changes and not just short-term virtue-signalling comments.

“While this may not satisfy everyone, I believe we all deserve a second chance in life, but never a third. Juri’s self-respect, his reputation and his career are now firmly in his hands.

“Finally, the events of the last few days have cast a shadow over what should have been a fantastic home grand prix on Hitech’s doorstep with our Formula 2 and Formula 3 teams competing at Silverstone. Therefore, Hitech will be making no further comments on the matter.”

In response, F2 said it was unhappy with the decision, restated its disapproval of the language used by Vips and said it would monitor the situation.

“Following the recent incident involving Jüri Vips, F2 would like to reaffirm that the use of racist or discriminatory language cannot be tolerated in any environment,” it said.

Hitech Grand Prix’s decision today is surprising and not one we would have taken. We will monitor the situation carefully with them to ensure that such behaviour is properly addressed.”

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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  • 68 comments on “F2 reacts with dismay as Hitech keep Vips in team after using racist language”

    1. Yay for humanity.

      1. Bruno Verrari
        30th June 2022, 23:35

        +1

    2. Hitech GP employs an inclusive workforce and has never condoned racism or offensive behaviour in any forms. That said, if we live in a society where no one can make a mistake, then genuinely apologise, have the chance for redemption and learn from it – what does it say about society?

      That racial slurs are simply not acceptable? That actions have consequences?

      1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        29th June 2022, 16:57

        Turn on the radio nowadays and 99% of the songs on there contain exactly what he said. Heck, back in the 00’s it was the same. Apparently it’s perfectly fine if people of color say it, but oh dear lord how dare thou if you’re white and say it.

        Sounds pretty racist to me

        1. Gavin Campbell
          29th June 2022, 17:11

          All language has context.

          Murders also all over movies but it’s pretty frowned upon in the real world.

          1. Exactly. Context matters. Comments made while playing a game in his free time should affect hir career?

        2. Is Jüri in the music business?

          1. That’s just an idiotic equivalence.

            I believe you’ll find the appropriate word is “customer”, or perhaps “consumer”, although since the music still exists after he listens to it, it’s kind of a questionable term.

            1. There’s no equivalence there.

              I was just pointing out how relevant Barry Bens’ apparent taste of music (or choice of radio station), which exposes him to a music mix with “99% of the songs on there contain exactly what he said,” is to the topic at hand.

            2. But what does Juri (not) being in the music business have to do with anything?

          2. Bruno Verrari
            30th June 2022, 23:34

            Is Loois?!

      2. If there is no room for redemption then you’re not leaving any incentive to modify one’s behaviour. The results may be counterproductive (if the intention really is to reduce the overall amount of racism and not just relishing in these pitchfork moments of collective catharsis)

        1. They don’t really want for people to change, it’s like medieval age, they only want to light up their torchs. What Vips said was offensive, I would never say that and I would be very unconfortable if someone say that even in an online game. But everyone deserves a second chance to learn from it. I think Oliver is very brave to defend that instance.

        2. Does Jüri need a seat in Formula 2 to improve as a human?

      3. @proesterchen his actions had a consequence. He was dropped by Red Bull, he’s apologised and he’s now in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Doesn’t mean he has to stop living… this is, after all, his job.

        There needs to be room for redemption, as Kraven says.

        1. Sure, not getting to drive a Red Bull in one more F1 free practice is a consequence.

          Not driving a Formula 2 car in support of this weekend’s Britsh Grand Prix would have been another. His team decided that his actions didn’t warrant consequences, though, and that they would all rather have “a fantastic home grand prix on Hitech’s doorstep with our Formula 2 and Formula 3 teams competing at Silverstone.”

          Lovely bunch, and I’m sure their “inclusive workforce” agree.

          1. Perhaps his team believes it is enough of a consequence to lose his red bull connection, and all the negative social attention.

            Now he will learn to be very aware of himself for the rest of his life and reflect on the lost opportunities this will lead.

            When one mistake was made, we need to learn that cpnsequences does not always need to come at every single level when sufficient consequences ate dealt already by external parties.

            He will probably lose a lot and will take years to rebuild the sponsorship for up coning years if he wants a seat somewhere.

          2. Actually i think Hitech’s workforce knows him better than any of us. So im pretty sure they did agree to keep him on knowing he’s not a racist.

      4. Can you honestly say you’ve never, in your entire life, said something reprehensible about another human being?

        Red Bull doesn’t care that he shouted an offensive word during a stream– they care that they’re not being perceived as more self righteous than the next team.

        Yeah, what Vips said was irresponsible, and there should be consequences.

        But destroying his career over it is a punishment that doesn’t fit the crime. There’s a great deal of intolerance at work here– and I don’t mean Vips.

        1. I can tell you, unequivocally, that I have never used the racial slur Jüri used. Not once. Not ever. Not in public. Not in private. Not for a friend. Nor for a foe.

          I don’t want to be complimented on that either, cause it has been very easy. Effortless, even. There is literally zero work needed for me to avoid using it. There is no emotional state of any kind in existence that would trigger me to use it. That racial slur is simply not part of my vernacular.

          As for Jüri’s career: If your career is selling energy drinks, it’s simply unadvisable to engage in activities that make your further employment untenable to the producers of said drinks. No one should complain about his being shown the door.

          1. So you have never been young? Young people make mistakes. He has already been punished by RB. I believe you when you say you have never said THAT word. But I don’t believe you have never, ever, offended someone when you were young, either intentionally or not.

          2. That wasn’t what I said. I’m sure you wouldn’t be likely to use a Portuguese slang term.

            Have you never used a slur, racial or otherwise, when referring to another human being?

        2. Bruno Verrari
          30th June 2022, 23:41

          RBR has somewhat too msny young drivers and no free seats right now, so it may come handy…

    3. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      29th June 2022, 17:34

      Strong believer in redemption and the ability to atone or learn from a mistake but the danger with keeping him on will send a message that you can do something quite wrong and suffer minimal repercussions for it. That said, losing Red Bull is a massive, massive thing – any hope of Vips getting to F1 is almost zero now. A message has to be sent that certain behaviours can’t and won’t be tolerated and keeping him in F2 may muddy that message.

      I stand by the belief anyone should have the chance to redeem themselves and become a better person, but I believe it would have been better to sit him out for a few races and bring him back later for that chance at redemption.

      1. That said, losing Red Bull is a massive, massive thing – any hope of Vips getting to F1 is almost zero now.

        Have you seen his performances in the past couple of years? That ship had sailed long ago.

        1. Yea because all other RB juniors have been performing so well winning races etc /s

          1. Yep, the entire crop of Red Bull juniors in Formula 2 sucks. That’s not news to anyone.

    4. I think any sensible team would distance themselves from Vips, but it is an overreach for F2 to be criticising the decision. After all, another driver on the current grid is credibly accused of sexually harassing underage girls, and they’ve been totally silent on that.

    5. Finally, someone with some common sense and the courage to stand up to the mob.

      If you think he was actually being intentionally racist instead of just using common phraseology for the situation then you need to recalibrate your sensors. If he’d said it in a press conference obviously it would have been different as there are different professional standards expected.

      1. The thing about defending people who use racial slurs is that – however much you couch it in flowery rhetoric – you end up defending people who use racial slurs.

        Which to me seems like a position few would willingly put themselves in.

        1. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it.

        2. @proesterchen
          You can’t just ignore the context in which Vips used the racial slur. It’s not like he would say that to a person of colour.
          When I’m with my friends I also use racial slurs like the n-word when addressing them in certain situations. That has nothing to do with racism, we are just using these specific words, because they are usually tabu/unacceptable under normal circumstances (conversations with other people and especially those of another ethnicitiy).
          I highly doubt Jüri Vips is a racist, but he seems rather stupid. Why would you use such language when going on a live streams with thousands, if not millions of people are watching you?!

      2. @george couldn’t agree more!

        I personally feel that Hitech should force him to write and present an essay on the etymology and history of the word, and produce a video (to be shared) so the wider community can be educated—because it’s pretty clear that we can’t just assume everyone knows these things.

        But overall, I feel this is sensible by Hitech.

        1. @justrhysism
          It’s kind of sad to see a flood of virtue signalling in the comment section. Your comment makes the most sense to me by far because obviously yes, there should be consequences. He (probably unintentionally) used his exposure in a damaging (to himself and others) way. Now would be the perfect time to make him use his (and this extra) exposure to teach (him and others) a lesson. I like your essay idea. But it could be voluntary work somewhere, so it could be made into a video or something..

          They could listen to the angry mob, but what good would it bring? What good comes from this cancel-culture anyway?

        2. Bruno Verrari
          30th June 2022, 23:44

          Two words: the ”n” and the ”g”…

    6. Said the organization wiping their tears with the money paid by human rights abusing regimes.

      1. Bruno Verrari
        30th June 2022, 23:46

        Just like all other teams – and F1 and many others…

    7. I think losing the Red Bull contract is way more of a punishment than a seat in F2. Its now extremely unlikely he will get to F1 unless he does some kind of groveling for his sins and puts in mega performances in F2.

      I don’t agree with what he said. But I also don’t agree with cancel culture with no ability or option to redeem yourself. Everyone deserves a second chance as we are all flawed imperfect beings.

      1. Its now extremely unlikely he will get to F1

        Check his recent record, he was never going to make it to F1.

        1. Why only recent? F1 seat is not determined by the last couple of races.

          1. “Recent” as in the past few years.

    8. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      29th June 2022, 18:53

      Formula 2 needs to get their heads out of their a**. They don’t control who drives in their serie and they haven’t cared before. They’re perfectly fine with having 2 bums on the grid that get racebans in a jiffy, yet some comment is ‘too far’. Give me a break…

    9. Letting him complete the F2 campaign is understandable despite losing his RB backing entirely.

    10. I guess someone forgot to put that morality clause into their contracts.

    11. Electroball76
      29th June 2022, 19:43

      He should be banned from driving anything, or having any kind of meaningful employment ever again. That’ll learn him for trying to “talk tough” over a video game.
      /s

      1. That /s stands for “sarcasm” I hope

        1. Electroball76
          30th June 2022, 7:22

          Yes, it was, and thanks for the reply.
          Personally, I think the idea of Juri’s punishment is going a bit too far now. The worst parts of racism are when it is done to deliberately damage, belittle, or disadvantage. I don’t believe that is the case here. It sounds like Juri was just trying to “talk gangsta”, like the characters all over the media. If he played GTA San Andreas for example, the language is constant.
          My opinion is that he chose words without thinking it through, but that he hasn’t caused any great harm. He has apologised and been duly punished by public humiliation and loss of Red Bull sponsorship. I think it’s safe to say he will learn from this and should be shown some forgiveness.
          Maybe I’m wrong and he is terrible person, but I’m sure we’ll see in time.

    12. The total stupidity is what’s baffling – I mean you know that there are words you just can’t use, especially after all kinds recent events and then you not only use such a word, but on a stream!

      And then his team keeps him,
      In this climate? I guess next thing will be sponsors withdrawing

      Stupid, stupid, stupid

    13. By far the most sensible quote from a motor sports figure in quite some time imo

    14. Give Vips a break! Yes, he’s been very stupid to use that kind of language on a live stream where people all around the world were watching him, but to label him as a racist goes too far.
      In these types of sitiuations it’s very important to look at the context in which certain words are used. It happened in an environment of friends talking to eachother and there you can often hear expressions one would never use outside their private life (sort of like inside jokes).
      Jüri Vips has probably learned his lesson by now, given that he’s been dropped by RB. Throwing him out of F2 would be a huge overreaction and unfair, considering Vips didn’t address any people of colour with the expression he used, unlike Nelson Piquet.

    15. I just realised something.

      Vips is racing in Silverstone because the option Hitech want is banned from participating.

      The man?

      NIKITA MAZEPIN.

      Calling it now, Mazepin will be in the car for the next round and finish out the season with the team that always loved him.

      1. Bruno Verrari
        30th June 2022, 23:49

        His Father used to own part of the team…

    16. I’m fed up with this.

      From now on, I want an absolute, zero tolerance policy for anything that anyone does that offends anyone in F1 and related motorsports.

      Swear at someone? You’re done. Make a poor choice in phrase? You’re done. Shout the wrong word in a moment of frustration? You’re done. Grope someone? You’re OK, you have money. Push someone? You’re OK, everyone wants you to beat Lewis Hamilton (on the track, don’t get the wrong idea).

      Max needs to be fired for shoving another driver. Hamilton should be fired, and have all of his titles revoked for suggesting the stewards didn’t like him because he’s black. Fire Wolf– no one likes him anyway. Fire Horner– he’s a whiny little git (which is dangerously close to what Piquet said about Hamilton when translated, so fire me!).

      LET’S FIRE EVERYONE! BLACKBALL EVERYONE!! NO EXCUSES, NO TOLERANCE, EVERYONE MUST GO!!!!

      This isn’t a sport– it’s a lynch mob.

    17. Nope. It’s the same as almost any other elite-level sport… Racism will very often lead to you losing your job. Shoving someone or complaining about the refs will get you in trouble but you won’t be fined.

    18. The difference in decision will ultimately come down to money. Red Bull is a multinational corporation with a household name and a reputation to uphold, so they can keep selling energy drinks, etc. Hitech Grand Prix is small fry in comparison.

    19. Finally some sense! Burning a kid for saying something on a public personal stream? Cmon… This is a witch hunt for politically incorrect people.

    20. I guess the seat was already paid in full for the whole year. The team would risk legal action against them if they drop him.

      1. Vips has very little money of his own. His seat was bankrolled by Red Bull. It seems Hitech want to keep Vips despite all the controversy because they want to make a statement against ‘cancel culture’, although Jüri has been wrecking cars left, right and centre and clearly does not deserve to be in F2 since he has the composure of a peanut.

        1. Yeah the only F2 driver who has won two races in a single weekend and is firmly in top 5-10 in standings surely does not belong in F2 /s

          Drivers all have bad times. Should McLaren have given Hamilton the boot in one year when he constantly crashed with Massa or threw away WDC in pit entry?
          Shortsighted is what such a cancellation would be.

          1. Yeah the only F2 driver who has won two races in a single weekend and is firmly in top 5-10 in standings surely does not belong in F2

            What’s this whole topic to do with Felipe Drugovich?

    21. So many racists on this site. So disappointing. You all really need to stop defending the indefensible. No it’s really not acceptable to say that word. In public or in private “as a joke between friends”. Hilarious!!

      1. The only racist here is you and anyone who wants Jüri fired just because of his skin color.
        Because if a black guy made the same comment it would not even be mentioned in the news.

      2. @davidhunter13
        That is one of the lowest comments I have read on this website and that is saying something. How is one racist if one thinks he is punished enough?
        ‘If you’re not lynching him you must be lynched yourself’
        That rhetoric is actually a tactic used to suppress a society, used by the likes of IS for instance.
        Let’s apply that same logic to you then. Since you use the same tactics as IS you must be affiliated with them.

      3. That may be strong. Apologists for racism more accurate? Not sure. But the sheer volume of comments looking to excuse or minimise or dismiss racism on these articles is staggering.

        1. @oweng
          I appreciate your comment is more nuanced, but when I wade through the comments here I see very little proof of your claim. To me it seems like you basically make the same assumption as @davidhunter13, only your wording is a tiny bit less offensive. According to you, anyone who doesn’t cry for Vips head must be an apologist for racism. And that is basically an insult to a lot of people here and to be honest it reflects bad on you. So I suggest you stop doing that.

    22. God forbid someone should make a error in judgment. The world is too PC, allowances need to be made, we make mistakes sometimes as humans

    23. Amazed people are defending his actions, I don’t see Hitech doing that. Condemning him and giving him a second chance is not the same as saying he did nothing wrong.

      He’s 21, not a kid, and he wasn’t racist in private, he was racist in a very public live stream.

    24. Vips has apologized and he, like many others who make mistakes, needs a second chance. Good and brave decision by Hitech. A society that does not accept apologies is as evil as a society that tolerates racism.

    Comments are closed.