Formula 1

Jüri Vips: “It took my brain some time to get used to the speed of the RB16B”

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Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Jüri Vips said it was a privilege to drive the car that took Max Verstappen to his maiden World Championship, with the Estonian driving the RB16B in the Young Driver Test at the Yas Marina Circuit on Tuesday.

Vips, a member of the Red Bull Junior Team and a race winner in FIA Formula 2 with Hitech Grand Prix in 2021, took to the track for ninety-six laps of the circuit in Abu Dhabi, with the twenty-one-year-old admitting it took some time to adapt to the speed and downforce levels of the Formula 1 machine.

Aside from a small moment in the afternoon, it was a straightforward day for Vips as he set the sixth fastest time overall, and he thanked Red Bull for giving him the opportunity to test as he worked on ensuring the correlation between track and simulator was on par.

“I have been looking forward to this test for a while now, it is such a privilege to drive a Formula 1 car, even more so a Championship-winning one,” said Vips.  “It took my brain some time to get used to the speed of the RB16B because the pace is just crazy but then it is like any other car and you just get used to it and do your job.

“I had a small moment in the afternoon but fortunately everything was okay and I was back in the car soon after. I am super fortunate, first to be working with Red Bull Racing Honda but secondly to get the opportunity to drive this car.”

Red Bull also ran Verstappen during the day in a mule car to test the eighteen-inch tyres being introduced to Formula 1 by Pirelli in 2022, but according to Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin, it was important to get the feedback from Vips to ensure the data from the simulator was being represented on the track.

“Today we had Jüri Vips with us for the young driver element of the test and he was effectively driving the car we raced during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend,” said Rocquelin. “He mostly worked to confirm the results we had throughout the season and on simulator correlation.”

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