“Draconian” decision to sack Vips shows Red Bull is serious about racism – Horner

2022 British Grand Prix

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Red Bull’s decision to dismiss Juri Vips from its young driver programme shows it is serious about tackling racism, says team principal Christian Horner.

The 21-year-old, who drove for the team during practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, was dropped after he used a racial slur in a live stream last week.

The team’s announcement coincided with the revelation Nelson Piquet had used a racist expression to refer to Lewis Hamilton. Horner said this was why Red Bull, unlike some other teams, made no statement on Piquet’s language.

“We were appalled at Nelson’s comments,” Horner told Sky. “We’d obviously had an incident with one of our young drivers at the end of last week, and we took very definitive action. He’d made a racist comment and so we took action and we immediately removed him from the team.

“So we put out a statement about Juri, and then this [story] comes out. We felt that we’d made a very strong statement through action of actually dropping Juri from the team, for not in any way condoning any form of racism or discrimination.”

Hamilton yesterday questioned why some teams have not signed up to the anti-racism charter proposed by his commission last year. Horner said Red Bull are “fully behind Lewis” and “fully signed up to the Hamilton Commission.

“We felt that actions sometimes talk louder than words and the action that we took with Juri, which obviously was draconian, but in line with the policy that we have.”

Vips is racing for Hitech in F1 this weekend
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen criticised the comments made by Piquet, his partner Kelly’s father, but said the three-times world champion is not racist.

Horner said Verstappen had also shown he is “fully supportive” of Hamilton. “He stated it in the press conference yesterday, he’s fully supportive of Lewis, not just of Lewis but any form of racism or discrimination in the sport.”

“As Red Bull, we’re a young team, we’re a very inclusive team, we have a very young following, a very diverse following, and that’s very important to us,” Horner added.

Vips’ Formula 2 team Hitech has not taken any action against the driver, who is competing for them at Silverstone this weekend, despite the series expressing concern over their decision.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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26 comments on ““Draconian” decision to sack Vips shows Red Bull is serious about racism – Horner”

  1. I absolutely agree Juri Vips deserved a punishment because he should know better. This has happened so many times already to other drivers both in Europe and the United States.

    However, should the punishment for using a racial slur directed at a white person, in a non-aggressive manner, while playing some stupid videogame, be the same as using the racial slur maliciously towards a member of a historically disenfranchised group? I am not sure I see the difference in the kinds of punishments being given

    1. @ajpennypacker I’ve always sort of felt like it should be about the intention rather than simply the use as i’ve seen too many instances of people been vilified for saying various things despite there been no ill intent.

      Some years ago for example a close friend of my son was fired from his job, Labelled a racist & a sexist because an ex girlfriend released a 15 year old recording of him singing over a rap song which featured many words that one would call offensive.

      He didn’t hold any sexist or racist views, He meant no offense in using those words & was just sighing along to a song. Yet the mere fact he’d said those things & an ex had recorded them (Without his knowledge) & then decided to release them on social media because she was jealous of his new girlfriend was able to totally ruin his life as he lost his job & the lost income them saw him lose his house, his car & other things he could no longer afford & the pressure of that & all the hatred that was thrown at them then cost him his girlfriend who couldn’t put up with it. He ended up having to move to a completely different part of the country where nobody knew him to be able to rebuild his life…… Untill it all came up again when that same ex found his social media & started sending clips to all his new friends & bosses.

      Intent matters. If you say something intentionally aimed at somebody or at insulting, disparaging or marginalising a race of people because of the colour of skin, gender, how one wishes to be identified or whatever then that is wrong & these people should be called out for there awful views.

      But if somebody uses a word that doesn’t automatically make them racist as belief, meaning & Intent matters…. Or at least it should matter more than just words alone. But in modern times you can’t say anything without every offensive word been used as proof you need to be sent off to the dark corner where nobody can see or hear anything you say as that’s just easier than actually having a discussion.

      1. Absolutely. And I believe Vips never intended any malice or racial discrimination. As an Indian, I feel the western society is dangerously heading towards a different kind of fascism. You are expected to tow a line and do certain actions, failing which you are branded a racist, fascist or whatever. The Russian karter probably never intended to support Hitler with his celebrations. He would only have realized the significance of that gesture when all the furor came up. I just hope Vips wins this weekend emphatically. And kudos to Hitech for being brave.

    2. However, should the punishment for using a racial slur directed at a white person, in a non-aggressive manner, while playing some stupid videogame, be the same as using the racial slur maliciously towards a member of a historically disenfranchised group?

      Black, white or pink with purple spots. Male, female or hermaphrodite, why can’t people be treated equally?

      1. They can’t. 1 or 2 years ago The Washington Post had an article with “White Trash” in title. Nothing happened.

        “White, Stale and Male” or some other variation is quite common. Now write that with some other race or group…

        I also wonder if the support milionaires give to this in not because the “next phase”:
        We are now in ethnic/identity phase, but the next phase will be social classe phase, where then you will be unable to shame rich people because they being human will rightfully ask to not be offended…

  2. You could see the Sky commentators wanted to throw more bait at him. What about using the “R” card against non-racist people. Is that okay? You can read Twitter right now and there is a brigade implying Verstappen should have demolished Piquet Sr on TV for the comments his-probably-future-father-in-law said. Also implying Max is equally racist and (one of the craziest implications / theories I read today was) “These 2 guys sit at a table and use that language against Hamilton”. I don’t know how families are in Europe, but in my country, you have relatives with terrible views, and to avoid conflict with them, you don’t correct them all the time. I have tried, and it’s tiresome. The same applies with your partner’s family… especially with your partner’s family.

    1. Even your own mom and dad can have racist comments, you cant really do much more than warn them with communications and why attitude needs to change but in commercial environments, your options are wide open… if you dont enforce these policies, then it becomes accepted in work place and in the environment.

    2. Sadly it was true to form for Mr Lazenby and his red top journalistic approach to anything in F1.

      Always looking to make drama where there isn’t really any or it doesn’t help matters.

      I don’t really see why Red Bull should or would be compelled to make comment about the matter. As I understand it they have no connection to Piquet Snr outside of Max’s relationship with his daughter.

      The sport is entertainment enough without trying to create fake narratives. And by that I mean trying to create mock outrage at Red Bull’s apparent “silence” on the matter.

  3. They wanted to get rid of Vips anyway. Verstappen will probably do something this dumb at some point and then we will see a different reaction.

    1. I guess so.

    2. +1, it is difficult to think otherwise. That Vips is out of the RB program but not out of Hitech probably just means that he is more useful to Hitech than to RB. The very idea of Christian Horner doing anything that goes against his interests for an ethical reason is unfortunately hard to fathom.

  4. Electroball76
    1st July 2022, 20:14

    They are all about inclusivity. A look at the 2021 RB team photo shows a fairly diverse group of people. Male, female, glasses, different coloured hair..

    1. Let’s be honest here. Any F1 team hires someone only based on their track record and qualifications. They can’t afford to hire people based on their colour, religion or ethnicity because they want the best working for them. It’s always that way.

  5. ayrton senna’s interview (watched with subtitle/translation): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRSSD4jrLTs

    he is much more respectable person. piquet is tasteless racist etc… but u dont hear ayrton say insulting things, despite you can clearly see/hear he doesnt like him much but he does not disrespect him. he only says he is angry and all maybe due to his childhood. so piquet has always been moody and racist. confirmed…

  6. It’s easy to be serious when it is someone in the junior driver program. The proof of their seriousness and how far their policy extends will be what happens if someone senior in the team makes a comment like Vips or Piquet Sr. made.

  7. I am so disillusioned with racing enthusiasm taking a back seat to politicization and Hamilton deification in the FIA and Formula 1 circles that I am considering giving the British GP a miss. I mean, honestly, does someone’s desire not to sign up with the Hamilton charter indicate that they are racist. Does Hamilton always call the shots in these matters? What’s the sport coming to?

    I am also disillusioned with what Alpine did to Alonso with their seemingly purposeful strategy to make him finish behind Ocon at Montreal.

    1. I am considering giving the British GP a miss.

      I doubt you’ll be missed.

    2. It’s ok to vent your hatred of the most successful driver in F1 history.

      1. In what period in F1 there was so big technical supremacy of a team due to hybrid tech?
        He is good but the statistics are even less relevant this time.

        1. You are right, the Ferrari/MSC dominance was just money and aero, a bit like the shorter Red Bull dominance until 2015. Oh, I suppose the driver and team were solid enough to use their chances at the time.

          1. Don’t forget the McLaren MP4-4 driven by Senna and Prost.

  8. And this Hypocrite defended racism of his golden kid as playground talk.

    1. Horner is the most political of poleticians in F1. Vips was dispensable, and was never likely to race for Red Bull, that is the why they fired him.

  9. The Discriminatory context of “Complexification”.

    F1 and ambientalist “green” ideology increased several fold the complexity of F1 and many other domain in our lives.
    This means that increasingly we dependent on extremely complex organisations with ever increasingly multidisciplinary capabilities. This obviously a big hit against developing countries, smaller countries and smaller companies.
    Due to this huge increase in complexity made by regulation they are unable to compete.
    The barrier of entry increased several fold. No one talks about that, despite the “anti discriminatory” stance of its proponents. We might even think that is a “cover”…

    It is for example is a big barrier for entry of an F1 African Team.
    The muder of the ICE engine will mean in one go the the first African engine will be much further decades far away.

    Of course nothing of this appear in the “narrative” media we have. We are all equals but some are more equal…

    It is all pretence and fashion.

  10. – This Brazilian former F1 champion so angry that a non-white F1 driver had the audacity to duel with Max, his daughter’s partner (a prized catch, surely), an improvement to that poor Dannii Kyviat, father of Max’s partner’s child. So, only the most derogatory insults would do. Not once, but twice. Who knows perhaps more.

    – In Brazil, as in many Latin American countries, that were former Spanish colonies, those with Spanish heritage considered themselves more privileged and looked down on indigenous darker skinned Brazilians. Piquet with his upbringing and beliefs naturally used it to express his anger. What an audacity? It wouldn’t happen in “my old world” order.

    – And that is the context. If Max referred to this as cultural context and he is OK with that, it confirms, not just reveals, who Max is. And why is this a surprise to anyone? Why would anyone have the illusion that Max could be like Lecrec, Norris, or other more well-rounded drivers?

    – Horner and RB being silent was deliberate, intending to show Max their support. After all, they cannot afford to lose Max. This year is Max’s chance to prove he and RB can win without Masi’s assistance, to cement title without controversy. And it doesn’t hurt not to show they do not necessarily want to support Hamilton too much, too soon.

    – Horner’s belated answers to interview questions, were just so, there was a record he showed “support” to racism issue. As was the action to fire his junior driver. Again, why is anyone surprised? This is a man who had a view that girls go to to watch F1 because there are good looking F1 drivers. This view certainly had a degree of truth in 1950s – 70s, or when Spice Girls were on top of Horner’s favourite band. An old voice owned and believed by a relatively young leader in 21st century, but of course in a firm that is strongly Austrian, not a surprise.

    -The posters here had so many excuses and stories as to why all of these are alright, or why Max was young, (he is 24 by the way), why this and that. The simple fact is Horner, Max and RB are reluctant.

    – Whether you are white, yellow, purple, black, or whatever mixture of colours you happen to be, are not superior than anyone. Our upbringings, cultural contexts and influences may form our views, when we were young, or less aware. As the world attempts to be more fair, as it should be, we have the abilities to grow with that.

    Many posters’ views here appear to be that you may not grow with the world, on this issue.

    Reading the responses on this site: Do you seriously believe that a certain colour of race or ethnic group deserves to receive ongoing insults, derogatory terms, for whatever reasons, whatever so called cultural context? Do you actually support this? Do you actually need explanation as to why it is not right? Do you actually believe being white is being superior?

    As to attempts to direct blames on Hamilton, you have had so many platforms, so many years of doing it, so many incidents, for you to direct your real reasons for blaming Hamilton. Are there any new ones left?

  11. If Red Bull were serious about racism, they’d have actually kept Vips, and made him do some interviews and PSA’s about how terrible racism can be, even when it’s seemingly inconsequential.

    All Red Bull did was prove they’re serious about punishing racism.

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