Russian karting champion Artem Severiukhin has apologised for appearing to display the Nazi salute on the podium at the European karting championships, with the FIA investigating his ‘unacceptable conduct.’
Severiukhin opened the palm of his hand before stretching it out, as he celebrated his victory in round one of the FIA Karting European Championship at Portimao.
The 15-year-old has since posted his apology on the Russian Automobile Federation’s Telegram channel.
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He said: "I would like to apologise for what happened yesterday at the European Karting Championship.
"Standing on the podium, I depicted a gesture that many perceived as a Nazi greeting. But that's not true - I have never supported Nazism and consider it one of the most terrible crimes against humanity."
In explaining the chest-thump, he added: "I was performing under an Italian licence and won the race under the Italian flag. The guys in front of the podium were telling me that in Italy to show your gratitude in such cases, it's a custom to hit oneself on the chest in the heart area.
“I just wanted to perform that gesture. I can't explain how the rest happened.
"I know it's my fault, I know I'm stupid, and I'm ready to be punished."
There have already been severe implications for Severiukhin, who was sacked by Swedish team Ward Racing, and said in a statement: “The actions of Artem Severiukhin during the award ceremony on 10 April 2022 were exclusively individual and do not represent the views and values of Ward Racing in any manner.”
Meanwhile, the FIA are currently investigating the incident, with the footage being widely condemned on social media.
"The FIA confirms it has launched an immediate investigation into the unacceptable conduct of Mr Artem Severiukhin that occurred during the podium ceremony for the OK category at Round 1 of the 2022 FIA Karting European Championship at Kartodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal," read a statement on Monday.
"The FIA will communicate shortly on the further steps that will be taken in this case."
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