Red Bull suspend junior driver Juri Vips for racial slur


Red Bull Racing have suspended Formula Two driver Juri Vips pending an investigation after the Estonian used a racial slur during a live stream, the team announced on Tuesday.

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

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

Vips, 21, later apologised in a message posted to Instagram and said he would fully cooperate with the investigation.

“I wish to unreservedly apologize for the offensive language used during a live gaming stream earlier today,” he wrote.

“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.”

Vips, who drives for the British-based Hitech Grand Prix team in Formula Two, is seventh in the standings.

Last month he drove Red Bull’s Formula One car during Friday’s practice ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Christian Horner: ‘Element of theatre’ in Toto Wolff’s F1 safety concerns

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has accused his opposite number at Mercedes, Toto Wolff, of overplaying concerns about the ride of the current generation of Formula One cars.

New technical regulations introduced over the winter have had a knock-on effect on the ride of F1 cars this year, resulting in some cars bouncing dramatically over bumps as well as being susceptible to an aerodynamic phenomenon known as porpoising, which also results in the cars bouncing uncontrollably on their suspension.On the bumpy street circuit of Baku one week ago, the bouncing issues were so severe for some teams that the sport’s governing body, the FIA, decided to intervene on safety grounds by introducing a technical directive (TD) to police the bouncing.

However, the details of the FIA’s intervention have yet to be finalised and a meeting on the issue at the Canadian Grand Prix on Saturday led to reports of an intense debate between Wolff, arguing for the changes, and Horner and Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto arguing against them.

After the meeting, Wolff labelled his rivals’ position as “disingenuous”, adding that their behaviour in the meeting was “pitiful”.

Horner, whose Red Bull cars have won the last six races and are among the least affected by the bouncing, has long argued that the bouncing is not a matter for the FIA to address but for the teams to sort out independently.

Meanwhile, Ferrari has questioned the validity of the FIA’s recent actions, with Binotto saying the purpose of a technical directive is to clarify rules rather than change them.

“Ferrari presented its position regarding the TD and Toto is campaigning for a change in regulations — which is somewhat ironic because his car looked quite quick today [during Sunday’s race in Canada] with not a lot of bouncing,” Horner said. “And I think it was just pointed out to him clearly that perhaps his issues were within rather than everybody’s issue.”

Asked if Wolff was perhaps playing up to Netflix cameras present in the meeting to record footage for the next season of the docuseries “Drive to Survive,” Horner added: “I think there was an element of theatre going on in that meeting, so maybe with Lewis’s new movie coming along he’s getting in role for it.”

Part of the FIA’s technical directive allows teams to run a second stay between the main bodywork of the car and its floor on both sides to improve the stiffness of the floor and mitigate against porpoising. Mercedes was the only team to test a second stay in Friday practice, but removed it from the car ahead of qualifying and the race.

Given that the technical directive allowing the second stay was only issued on Thursday, both Ferrari and Red Bull have questioned how Mercedes managed to produce the part so quickly.

“What was particular disappointing was the second stay because that has to be discussed in a technical forum and that is overtly biased to sorting one team’s problems out, which were the only team that turned up here with it even in advance of the TD. So work that one out,” Horner added.

Horner stressed that the onus should be on teams struggling with bouncing to modify their designs rather than the FIA tweaking the rules to ease the issues.

“The teams have got some of the brightest engineering talent in the world,” Horner said. “Things will converge.

“I doubt we will be sitting here next year talking about the bouncing even if the regulations were left alone. These cars are still relatively new, they are still as teams add developments to their cars you’ll probably see them start to address some of these issues.

“You can’t just suddenly change technical regulations halfway through a season. If a car is dangerous, a team shouldn’t field it. It has that choice. Or the FIA if they feel an individual car is dangerous, they always have a black flag at their disposal.”

Charles Leclerc insists Max Verstappen’s championship lead is good motivation

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc says he is not worried about Max Verstappen’s 49-point lead over him in the championship after nine races.

Red Bull has won the last six races in a row, with Verstappen taking five victories and his teammate Sergio Perez, who is second in the championship and three points ahead of Leclerc, taking one.

Leclerc started the season with two wins in three races and at one point held a 46 point lead over Verstappen, who suffered two retirements in the opening three races of 2022.

However, the pendulum has swung the other way in recent races after reliability issues in Spain and Azerbaijan forced Leclerc to retire, a strategy mistake in Monaco cost him victory and an engine penalty in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix saw him start from the back of the grid.

Leclerc has dropped 68 points to his main rival in the last four rounds, but asked if he was concerned by Verstappen’s increasing championship lead, the Ferrari driver said: “It motivates me. It motivates me because of course I know the pace is in the car.

“I’m not worried, I’m just extremely motivated to finally have a clean weekend and show that we are here and we are strong. So yeah, in Silverstone hopefully we can do that.”

Leclerc said solving reliability issues, which have arguably cost him over 50 points this year, would be key in the championship fight.

Leclerc said solving reliability issues, which have arguably cost him over 50 points this year, would be key in the championship fight.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is optimistic the fresh engine fitted to Leclerc’s car in Canada will also be a boost over the upcoming races ahead of F1’s summer break in August.

“We limited the damage starting from the back [in Canada], and finishing fifth is still a good race result,” Binotto said. “And now we have got a fresh power unit for the next races certainly and the four races before the summer break will be important for him, certainly, where he can attack and let’s try to recover some points where we can.”

Kevin Magnussen: FIA are too easy to influence

MONTREAL – Kevin Magnussen said the FIA’s race directors and stewards are too easily influenced after his Canadian Grand Prix was ruined by what he called “a scratch” on his front wing.

Magnussen went wheel to wheel with Lewis Hamilton on lap one and made light contact, which left a tiny bit of his front wing sticking out.

“I just had a bit of contact, nothing serious,” Magnussen explained after the race. “Scratched my front wing a little bit and then was told to pit.”

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, in the car behind Magnussen, told his team it could be dangerous if the piece came loose and hit his helmet, knowing his message would make it back to the FIA race director and stewards who make all officiating decisions during an F1 event.

A few laps later, race director Eduardo Freitas issued Magnussen the black and orange flag, which denotes a driver must pit for safety reasons.

Magnussen said the decision was a complete overreaction.

“I was talking to Ocon now and he was just joking how he told the FIA that it was really bad,” the Dane told print journalists after his interviews in the TV pen.

“If you know you can influence the FIA like that, you’re going to do it, aren’t you? Which is what he did, fair play.

“But you’ve gotta let us drive with that s—, it’s nothing.

“I was keeping up, the car was fine. The front wing was safe, it was not broken off.

“Think back to Jeddah last year, Lewis Hamilton won the race without half a front wing … which I think is correct, you know. Let us race if we can.”

When asked if he will seek clarification from the FIA over the incident, Magnussen suggested there has been a clear change in approach around certain decisions this year. At the last round in Baku, Yuki Tsunoda was issued a black and orange flag for a broken rear wing and in Monaco the start of the race was delayed by rain and problems with the start lights.

“I dunno. Feels suddenly very different. Monaco they don’t start us because it starts drizzling. Here I’m called in because I have a scratch on my front wing.”

It was a disappointing race for Haas, which had promised so much.

Magnussen and Mick Schumacher had started fifth and sixth respectively after the team equalled its best-ever qualifying performance, but neither driver scored a point.

Schumacher’s race ended when his power unit failed on lap 20.

Fernando Alonso drops to ninth with penalty at Canadian GP

MONTREAL – Fernando Alonso’s frustrating Canadian Grand Prix got worse after the race had finished when a penalty dropped him to ninth on Sunday evening.

Alonso had started alongside Max Verstappen on the front row but faded over the course of the race and crossed the line in seventh, behind teammate Esteban Ocon.

On the final lap he was weaving to defend against Valtteri Bottas and the stewards soon investigated him for making too many changes of direction in a straight line, something considered dangerous at high speed.

The stewards found Alonso had done this and later issued him a five-second penalty, which dropped him behind Bottas and the Finnish driver’s rookie teammate Guanyu Zhou.

The verdict said: “Between turns 10 and 12, on the penultimate lap of the race, car 14 made repeated changes of direction to defend against car 77 who had to lift at one point and briefly lost momentum.

“Whilst noting the driver’s point that at no stage was any point of car 77 alongside car 14, the Stewards consider this to be a clear breach of the above regulation. The Stewards therefore impose a 5 seconds time penalty in line with that imposed for a similar incident in Australia 2022.”

Alonso was already in a frustrated mood after the race.

Before his battle with Bottas, he had been unhappy to hear an Alpine radio message instructing him not to overtake Ocon in the closing stages.

Alonso replied that he had been “800 times” faster than Ocon across the weekend.

The Spaniard, a two time world champion, said he would have been battling Lewis Hamilton for the final spot on the podium and was at pains to point out he had a car issue.

The Spaniard, a two time world champion, said he would have been battling Lewis Hamilton for the final spot on the podium and was at pains to point out he had a car issue.

“We had an engine problem on lap 20 where we cut the energy very early on the straights, as soon as we exited the corners. We tried to fix it but it didn’t work. Luckily we didn’t retire the car and we still score a few points, but until that point I think we were fighting for the podium at the beginning of the race. I

“I felt strong compared to Hamilton, we just didn’t have the pace of Verstappen and Sainz. I was OK to control Hamilton in the Mercedes.”

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