Jüri Vips will get to run in Formula 1 machinery for the first-time next week, with the young Estonian joining fellow Aston Martin Red Bull Racing test driver Sébastien Buemi on track in the post-season Young Drivers’ Test in Abu Dhabi.
Vips has endured a disrupted 2020 season, with the Estonian initially poised to race full-time in the Japanese-based Super Formula championship prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. He did race a few rounds of the Formula Regional European Championship before jumping into a seat at DAMS in the FIA Formula 2 championship in place of the injured Sean Gelael.
He finished on the podium at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello before he handed the driving duties back to the recovered Gelael for the final few rounds and has acted as the reserve driver for Red Bull a few times since.
“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity that Aston Martin Red Bull Racing have given me to drive the RB16 at the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi,” said Vips. “This will be the first time I get to drive a current Formula One car as I did my 300km in an RB8.
“There will be a lot to learn but I will make sure I prepare as much as I can and it has been good for me to be with the Team as reserve driver for the last few races.”
Buemi, who raced for sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso (now Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda) back in 2009 to 2011, has been part of the Red Bull set-up as a test driver ever since, and this will be his first opportunity to run the 2020 machinery.
The two-time champion of the FIA World Endurance Championship, three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and one-time FIA Formula E champion last ran for Red Bull at a Pirelli tyre test in 2019 at Silverstone, and he is eager to drive the RB16 for the first-time next week.
“I haven’t driven the car since the Pirelli test last year in Silverstone, so the test in Abu Dhabi is very important to me,” said Buemi. “I spend a lot of time working in the simulator and if you get the opportunity to drive the real car it’s much better for the correlation.
“So, I can give feedback on how the simulator behaves compared to the real car. It also gives opportunity for an extra driver to provide feedback to the Team. It’s a great opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it.”