Hitech Grand Prix has confirmed that Jüri Vips will remain with the team for the remainder of the Formula 2 season, a decision that has been questioned by the championship itself.
Vips was sacked by Red Bull on Tuesday after making a racist remark while live-streaming a gaming session on Twitch last week.
On Wednesday Vips’ Hitech team confirmed that he will continue to represent the squad through the remainder of the current Formula 2 campaign.
“I have made the decision for Juri to keep his F2 seat with Hitech for the remainder of the season, a decision we have seriously debated,” said Hitech team boss Ollie Oakes.
“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 C.O.D 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 a 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.”
Oakes went on to stress that Vips “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.”
In a statement released to coincide with Hitech’s announcement Formula 2 queried the development.
“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,” read a statement provided by championship organisers.
“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.”