Artem Severiukhin, pounded his chest and raised his right arm in the gesture before laughing as he celebrated his win at FIA Karting European Championship.
Image: Ward Racing Official/ Instagram
A major controversy erupted during the FIA Karting European Championship at Portimao in Portugal on Sunday when a Russian karting driver was sacked by his team for a gesture on the podium. The gesture after the win appeared to be a Nazi salute on the podium. The driver who is in the middle of the controversy is 15-year-old Artem Severiukhin from Ward Racing.
Severiukhin was competing in the championship with an Italian license due to the FIA’s ban on Russian competitors following the Russia Ukraine war. The win was the first for the young driver in the first race of the season in the OK category, which is for drivers between the ages of 11 and 15.
Kart Racing: Artem Severiukhin axed for Nazi salute
According to the report published by Skysports, Artem Severiukhin, pounded his chest and raised his right arm in the gesture before laughing as he celebrated his victory in round one of the FIA Karting European Championship at Portimao. Swedish based team Ward Racing however are already making a plan to terminate his contract in light of the incident.
A statement released by Ward Racing read, “Deeply in shame of the pilot’s behaviour which it condemns in the strongest possible terms. The actions of Artem Severiukhin during the award ceremony on April 10, 2022, were exclusively individual and do not represent the views and values of Ward Racing in any manner.”
The statement further said, “On the contrary, Ward Racing stands with the international community condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and expresses its solidarity with the people suffering because of this unprovoked and horrific attack. On the basis of these considerations, Ward Racing sees no possibility for continued cooperation with Artem Severiukhin and will proceed with terminating his racing contract.”
Artem Severiukhin issues statement over his Nazi salute action
Artem Severiukhin took his social media account and issues an apology for his actions. He said, “I want to apologise to everyone for what happened yesterday during the European Karting Championships. Standing on the podium I made a gesture which many perceived as a Nazi salute. This is not true. I have never support Nazism and consider it one of the worst crimes against humanity.” He further added that he knew he was “a fool” and said “I am ready to be punished. But please believe there was no intention in my actions to support Nazism, there was no desire to offend spectators.”