Red Bull Junior Team’s Juri Vips will replace injured Sean Gelael at DAMS for three FIA Formula 2 (F2) Championship rounds in 2020.
With Gelael out of out action for about six weeks after breaking his D4 vertebra during the Spanish feature F2 race when landing hard after a moment over the kerbs, the Indonesian will be replaced by Red Bull junior Vips for three rounds.
The Estonian will have his F2 debut at Spa-Franchorchamps and then race in Monza and Mugello as well alongside former Red Bull junior Daniel Ticktum. “I’m very thankful and happy for the opportunity that DAMS has given me,” said Vips.
“I know it’s going to be really difficult to just jump in with more than half the F2 season already completed, but I will do everything I can to give the team as strong as a result as they deserve. I’m also looking forward to working alongside Dan, who I’m sure will help me get up to speed, and we will aim to get good points for the team.”
Gregory and Olivier Driot, Team Owners, added: “It’s always difficult for a team to have to change a driver during the season, especially in the way it’s happened. Sean is very well integrated and close to every member of DAMS, so this hits us hard.
“Nevertheless, we have to push on and ensure Dan has a good team-mate for the upcoming races. We have the pleasure to bring on board Juri Vips, who’s a very talented driver and has showed his pace in junior categories.
“It will be difficult to get started because he’s never driven in F2, so Spa is going to be more of a test than a proper race weekend. He will have good support from the team, the engineers and Dan as well, so we hope for a strong start to the second half of the season.”
And finally, Gelael added: “Obviously, I’m pretty gutted that I am sidelined for the coming races. I hope that Juri looks after my baby and I wish him and the team all the best as they head into the second half of the season.”
Having finished fourth in F3 last year with Hitech GP, Vips was pushed to race in Super Formula with Team Mugen as Red Bull had Yuki Tsunoda and Jehan Daruvala competing in F2 with Carlin. However, COVID-19 halted the plans of the Estonian.
He then opted to race in Formula Regional European with KIC Motorsport for superlicense points. He tried to travel for Round 1 of Super Formula season but eventually decided not to, which now seems logical, as the event co-incides with his F2 debut.
The good news for Vips, though, is the rule change from Super Formula, where the best five scores of the drivers will be counted towards the championship, which means for the Estonian, that, if he re-joins from Round 2, his scores will be valid still.
Here’s news on Sean Gealel