Estonian racer Jüri Vips will act as Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda’s reserve driver this weekend at Intercity Istanbul Park.
With both Sebastian Buemi and Sérgio Sette Câmara both unavailable due to prior commitments for the weekend in Turkey, Red Bull have called up Vips having ensured he has done enough to earn himself a Superlicence to be eligible to race in Formula 1.
Vips has contested rounds in both the FIA Formula 2 and Formula Regional European Championship this year, scoring podiums in both, but he currently has only thirty-two of the forty points required for him to get a Superlicence.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, travel restrictions have made it difficult for the Estonian to travel to Japan to race, with his initial plan having been to compete in Super Formula this year after making a good impression in the series at the end of 2019.
The twenty-year-old will skip the remaining rounds of the Japanese-based Super Formula championship having already missed the opening three rounds, with Ukyo Sasahara continuing to deputise for him at Team Mugen.
The FIA announced they would allow drivers with more than thirty-points to be eligible if their 2019 race programmes had been affected by COVID-19, and as a result, Red Bull ensured Vips would be allowed to be the official reserve by giving him the required three-hundred kilometres behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car in a private test.
Vips’ promotion to the reserve driver role could see him become a genuine contender for a race seat in Formula 1 next season, although it does appear that Alexander Albon, Nico Hülkenberg, Sergio Pérez and Yuki Tsunoda are all competing for the two available seats within the Red Bull stable.