Teen Russian go-karting champ Artem Severiukhin has been cast out of the racing community and is being investigated after he appeared to give a Nazi salute on the podium at a championship.
Severiukhin has been barred from his team, his contract with Ward Racing terminated, after appearing to give a Nazi salute on the podium at the FIA Karting European Championship in Portugal on Sunday.
But it was all a big mistake, the 15-year-old said.
“Standing on the podium, I made a gesture that many perceived as a Nazi salute,” Severiukhin said. “It’s not true — I have never supported Nazism and consider it one of the worst crimes against humanity.”
But nobody was buying it, and his apology and disclaimer were not enough to stop the immediate repercussions.[More Sports] Mets bullpen melts down against Phillies after Taijuan Walker, Trevor May leave with injuries »
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, the motorsport’s governing body, has launched an investigation, and Ward Racing, which is Swedish, gave a strong repudiation of his actions.
Though Russian, Severiukhin was competing under an Italian license because the FIA had banned drivers from Russia from flying under that nation’s flag, in light of the invasion of Ukraine. He had just won his event and was filmed on the podium hitting his chest and holding out his right arm while the Italian national anthem played.
“Ward Racing is deeply in shame of the pilot’s behavior, which it condemns in the strongest possible terms,” the team said in an Instagram post. “Ward Racing sees no possibility for continued cooperation with Artem Severukhin and will proceed with terminating his racing contract.”
“I know that I’m a fool, and I’m ready to be punished,” the youth said, according to TMZ. “But please believe that there was no intention in my actions. There was no support for Nazism or fascism.”