Estonian racing driver Jüri Vips drove the Red Bull RB18 Formula One car on 20 May in the first practice session of the Spanish Grand Prix; it was one of the two mandated sessions requiring Formula 1 teams to run a rookie driver in practice in the 2022 F1 season.
Vips took over driving duties from Sergio Perez in what was his first official F1 race weekend, the International Automobile Federation said in a statement. He became the first Estonian ever to take the wheel of a Formula One car at a grand prix weekend.
“I found out I’d be doing it a couple of weeks ago, it’s the next step for my career,” Vips said before the practice session. “I’ve gone through what I will be doing with the engineers so unfortunately no proper push laps for me. It would have been nice but it’s very important stuff for me to carry out. Maybe we’ll get to do some fast stuff later if I do a good season in F2.”
Since becoming part of the Red Bull junior line-up in 2018, Vips has carried out multiple tests for the team as well as serving as reserve driver at AlphaTauri.
Jüri Vips is an Estonian racing driver, currently competing in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with Hitech Grand Prix. He is the 2017 ADAC Formula 4 champion and a member of the Red Bull Junior Team. He’s just 21 years old.
He last drove for Red Bull during the post-season Abu Dhabi test in December.
Although becoming the first Estonian to drive a Formula One car at a grand prix weekend, Vips is not the first Estonian ever to drive an F1 car. According to the Estonian Public Broadcasting, that honour belongs to Marko Asmer, who tested for the Williams BMW team in 2003, but did not compete at a race.