Jüri Vips confirmed for full Red Bull F1 test at Abu Dhabi

Jüri Vips.
Jüri Vips. Source: Dutch Photo Agency/Red Bull Content Pool

Estonian racing driver Jüri Vips will get the chance to test the Red Bull Formula One car at Abu Dhabi at the weekend, scene of the final race of the season.

"I am extremely grateful to Red Bull for the opportunity to try out the RB16 model during a test drive for a young driver in Abu Dhabi," Red Bull's website stated.

"This is the first time I can test the current F1 machine, as I drove the RB8 for the 300 km (the distance required to obtain an F1 super license – ed.)"

ERR News reported that Vips, 20, from Tallinn, was appointed Red Bull Formula One test driver for the last two races of the season ahead of the Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain (not to be confused with the earlier Bahrain Grand Prix) last weekend.

Vips had already acted as temporary test driver at the Turkish Grand Prix in mid-November, after Red Bull's two test drivers were otherwise engaged, and is also test driver for Red Bull's sister team AlphaTauri.

Vips obtained his super license after driving the older car at the U.K.'s Silverstone circuit, which also qualifies him as backup driver, should something happen to Red Bull and AlphaTauri's prime drivers, Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon, and Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat respectively.

Vips said of the job that: "There is definitely a lot to learn, but I am preparing for it as thoroughly as I can and it is good that I have been able to accompany the team as a test driver on some races," Vips continued.

Sebastien Buemi, an experienced test and full-time backup driver, will also be at Abu Dhabi with Red Bull.

While Vips was slated to race in Japan's Super Formula Championship this season, this was dashed by the coronavirus pandemic when the team he was due to drive for chose a local Japanese driver instead. He then got a drive in F2 with the DAMS instead.

The pandemic has also seen extensive reorganization of the F1 calendar.

Being appointed an F1 team's test driver is often a step towards getting a full drive in subsequent seasons.

The closest an Estonian had gotten to a full F1 drive up until this season came in the early 2000s, when Marko Asmer, 2003 British F3 champion, tested for Williams.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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