Vips Q&A: F2 drive, Super Formula aim, superlicense, F1 future & more
The Estonian spoke to my colleague prior to his F2 debut.
Red Bull Junior driver Juri Vips talked with FormulaRapida.net at Paul Ricard last weekend, about his future in F1, and his expectations in F2 and Super Formula.
After a good debut F3 year in 2019 where he finished fourth in the drivers' standings, Vips 2020 started on a rocky note due to the COVID-19 as his supposed season in Super Formula got stalled and now he is to miss the first round at Motegi.
He took part in Formula Regional European series as a back-up but considering his last-minute move with KIC Motorsport, it hasn't been easy with Prema dominating. Due to Sean Gelael's injury, he got to do three rounds in F2 with DAMS.
Admittedly, Vips doesn't have a budget for a full F2 season and so the upcoming rounds will be useful to show some of his form against other Red Bull juniors Yuki Tsunoda and Jehan Daruvala. The Estonian spoke exclusively with us at Paul Ricard last weekend.
Here's the full Q&A with FormulaRapida.net -
Q) First of all Juri, how do you spent your months at home during the lockdown, without racing?
Juri Vips: "Well, there's no much you can do in that situation, obviously just wait for things to go again, but I did some training and stuff just normal things but to be honest, it was really boring for me. The thing is that I was living in Switzerland, and I was supposed to move to England, but then the pandemic came and it was postponed."
Q) In order to do a little sum up, how would you rate your last season in the FIA F3? Did you expected more than the fouth place?
Vips: "For sure I didn't think I had the chance to win last year. If we did a perfect season we would have been maybe second, but I don't think anyone had a perfect season last year. It was quite disappointing, but the PREMAs were just faster, and I finished 4th in the end, and I made some mistakes as well, but for sure I did less mistakes than the guys ahead, 2nd and 3rd. So, to be honest, not the best season last year."
Q) At the beginning of this season your programme was to race in Super Formula, with this additional rounds on Formula 3 Regional, what was the main goal of this racing programme for you and Red Bull?
Vips: "Well, the programme is set to do Japan still, this is the main priority. The priority is go to Japan and do Super Formula to get superlicense points, and the Regional it's just the back-up in case there are some restrictions to travel to Japan."
Q) With the announcement of your debut in F2 this weekend in Spa, what are your expectations for those three rounds?
Vips: "Well, I don't have really any expectations just go and try to do the best job I can, actually, this was an opportunity that just came to me because of an injury (Sean Gelael's one). Otherwise, we don't have the money to do the complete series, but I will do this few rounds and we will see how it goes. In spite of this chance in F2, the priority in this 2020 is still do the Super Formula in Japan."
Q) Do you think this year can be key to promote your 2021 chances?
Vips: "Well, first of all I need a very very good year in Japan because I need the superlicense points to get to F1. So, I honestly think that if I get with the superlicense points I have a really good chance to step up."
Q) Coming now to the last question, Estonia is growing a lot this last years in motorsport, with maybe you and Ott Tanak ahead, do you have contact with him or with other drivers to help each other?
Vips: "I think it's a very different sport, because he is in rallies, so advice I don't really think we can give each other but yes I met him in an event in Estonia in the winter, and I talked with him a little bit, for sure is a very nice guy and it's really great and happy to see another Estonian driver conquer the world let's say, in his case in rallies."
[Note: The interview was done before his F2 debut with DAMS, where he finished 11th in both races]