DAMS have announced that Juri Vips will replace the injured Sean Gelael for the next Formula Two triple header.
Gelael suffered a fractured vertebrae in an incident at the conclusion of the Spanish Feature Race at Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona which has left the Indonesian driver “gutted” to be sidelined for six weeks but he wishes Vips and DAMS “all the best as they head into the second half of the season.”
Vips therefore will replace Gelael at Spa, Monza and Mugello rounds in the last triple header which is set to commence next weekend, prior to F2’s planned trip to Sochi a fortnight after Mugello of which Vips is yet to be confirmed as participating in because Gelael’s six week recovery finishes that weekend.
Speaking on his surprise call-up, Vips said; “I’m very thankful and happy for the opportunity that DAMS has given me. I know it’s going to be really difficult to just jump in with more than half the F2 season already completed, but I will do everything I can to give the team as strong as a result as they deserve.”
On partnering his former 2018 F3 Europe Motopark teammate – Dan Ticktum, Vips believes that the Brit “… will help me get up to speed, and we will aim to get good points for the team.”
DAMS Team Owners, Gregory and Olivier Driot released a statement on their mid-season change, saying; “It’s always difficult for a team to have to change a driver during the season, especially in the way it’s happened. Sean is very well integrated and close to every member of DAMS, so this hits us hard.
Gregory and Olivier then spoke of their need to “ensure Dan has a good team-mate…” hence the decision to bring in the “talented” Vips despite the tough task that comes with integrating him into the team, saying; “It will be difficult to get started because he’s never driven in F2, so Spa is going to be more of a test than a proper race weekend.”
Vips will also receive strong support from everyone within the team as DAMS targets “a strong start to the second half of this season.”
Who is Vips?
Vips is an 19 year-old Estonian driver who has impressed in junior categories with podiums in every series that he has entered and finished last season’s rebranded Formula Three campaign as the highest finishing non Prema driver in fourth with Hitech Grand Prix.
He is also part of Red Bull’s Junior Programme and was set to race in the Super Formula opener next weekend at Motegi but failed to arrive in Japan last week to begin a 14 day quarantine period, after the decision was made to scrap his plans with no assurances that he would be allowed to enter the country.
Vips is also participating in this season’s Formula Regional European Championship, where he lies in seventh position with 20 points after the opening three races. yet will miss the third round at the Red Bull Ring in Austria due to making his switch to F2 which will see him race at Mugello instead that weekend.