Fifteen-year old karter Artem Severiukhin has been fired by his team and will be investigated by the FIA for his actions on the podium after winning the OK class at the opening round of the European Championship in Portugal on Sunday.
Severiukhin is a Russian driver competing under an Italian licence to circumvent the ban on Russians contesting FIA events. While the Italian national anthem was being played for his victory, he made a gesture to the crowd below that many have interpreted as a Nazi salute.
Severiukhin has issued a video apology (scroll down to view), saying it is “not true” that it was a Nazi salute, and that he has “never supported Nazism and consider it one of the worst crimes against humanity.”
Severiukhin added he “just wanted to make a gesture” to show his appreciation after the win, citing his belief that it was customary for Italians to “hit yourself on the chest in the heart area showing gratitude.”
“I know that I am a fool and I’m ready to be punished but please believe that there was no intention in my actions, there was no support for Nazism or Fascism.”
The FIA has launched an immediate investigation into Severiukhin’s conduct (FIA statement below).
Severiukhin’s team, Ward Racing, expressed its condemnation of Artem’s actions and will terminate his contract.
“Ward Racing is a privately owned Swedish team that unites pilotes from different countries, acting under licenses of various countries” the team posted. “Ward Racing is deeply in shame of the pilot’s behavior which it condemns in the strongest possible terms.”
Full statement from the team is below.
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile confirms that 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 the Kartódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal.
The FIA will communicate shortly on the further steps that will be taken in this case.
Ward Racing Statement
This statement is made in response to the personal actions of Ward Racing pilot Artem Severyukin during the award ceremony in Portimao on April 10, 2022. Ward Racing is deeply in shame of the pilot’s behavior which it condemns in the strongest possible terms. Action will promptly be taken accordingly.
Ward Racing is a privately owned Swedish team that unites pilotes from different countries, acting under licenses of various countries. The pilots of the team are not united by country or other categories. Most of the pilots do not represent the national team of any country, rather act individually.
The actions of Artem Severyukhin 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. 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. Since the start of the ongoing war, our firm stance has been demonstrated with “No War” helmets and stickers. In addition, we currently have three Ukrainian families traveling with us because they have no home to return to. As Swedish citizens, we are furthermore proud of our country which made the historical decision to send weapons to Ukraine for the fight against the Russian army.
Ward Racing accordingly condemns the personal actions of pilot Artem Severyukhin during the award ceremony on April 10, 2022 in the strongest possible terms, as it considers them a manifestation of unsportsmanlike behavior, an unacceptable violation of the ethical and moral sports codex. With this statement, Ward Racing expresses its opinion, as well as the opinion of all athletes and staff of the Ward Racing team. On the basis of these considerations, Ward Racing sees no possibility for continued cooperation with Artem Severyukhin and will proceed with terminating his racing contract.
Finally, Ward Racing would like to apologize to those who were hurt or distressed by the occurrence. It has long been and will remain a priority for Ward Racing to work for a more diverse, inclusive, and respectful racing climate.
Artem Severiukhin Statement
Severiukhin has issued an apology via his social media accounts, which can be viewed below.
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