The Red Bull F1 team have suspended junior and reserve driver Juri Vips due to an investigation over use of offensive language on social media.
The 21-year-old Estonian driver was doing a video game live-stream on Twitch with fellow Red Bull junior driver Liam Lawson earlier this week, when he is heard to have used racist and homophobic language.
The Milton Keynes-based Red Bull team have confirmed that Vips has been dropped from team duties pending an investigation.
In a statement on social media on Wednesday, Red Bull said, “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 organization we condemn abuse of any kind and have a zero-tolerance policy to racist language or behavior within our organization.”
Vips joined the Red Bull junior racer programme in 2018, and is employed as a test, simulator and reserve driver for both the full Red Bull senior team and the Alpha Tauri sister team. He is racing for Hitech in the current Formula 2 season, which is his third season at the F2 level.
The Estonian said on his own Instagram that he apologised for his actions and would co-operate with Red Bull’s investigation.
He said, “I wish to unreservedly apologise 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 wish to set. I will cooperate with the investigation fully.”
Vips had made his Formula 1 weekend debut earlier this year, after driving Red Bull in practice for the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this year.
Hitech Grand Prix have not publicly commented yet as to whether Vips will race for the team at Silverstone for the Formula 2 races supporting the British Grand Prix next weekend.