autoevolution
Car video reviews:
 

Russian Karter Wins FIA Championship Race Under Italian Flag, Celebrates With Nazi Salute

There are probably many things you could chalk up to being young and silly, but this is not among them. Artem Severiukhin, a 15-year-old karter champion, is currently under investigation by the FIA for an unsportsmanlike gesture he did on the podium at the FIA Karting European Championship.
Artem Severiukhin on the podium at the FIA Karting European Championship 6 photos
Artem Severiukhin on the podium at the FIA Karting European ChampionshipArtem Severiukhin on the podium at the FIA Karting European ChampionshipArtem Severiukhin on the podium at the FIA Karting European ChampionshipArtem Severiukhin on the podium at the FIA Karting European ChampionshipArtem Severiukhin apologizes for FIA Karting European Championship incident
What should have been a reason for celebration has become the source of all troubles for junior karter Severiukhin. The 15-year-old hails from Russia but took part in the FIA Karting European Championship under the Italian flag because most sports organizations have banned Russian athletes from taking part in events under the Russian colors as part of larger sanctions against the country for its violent invasion of Ukraine.

Severiukhin ended the race in the top position, and while on the podium, he made a gesture that many believed was a Nazi salute or some variation of the Italian fascist salute. The gesture was captured on camera and is available in the tweet below: Severiukhin pounds his chest two times and then stretches out his hand, with the palm rigid and facing downwards. Afterward, he starts to giggle at someone outside the camera range.

The FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) has launched an investigation into the incident and has promised to make whatever conclusion they reach public right away. At the same time, karting team Ward Racing, a privately-owned Swiss team that employs racers of many nationalities, has strongly condemned the gesture and announced the end of all collaborations with Severiukhin. There is absolutely no way to mistake the gesture for something other than the Nazi salute, they say.

As for the 15-year-old racer, he claims it was all a misunderstanding. In videos posted to his Instagram, both in English and Russian, he apologizes for his gesture, sheds a few tears, and stresses that it was not a Nazi salute. Instead, he says, it was a gesture his Italian friends told him was customary among Italians, and he only did it because he was racing under the Italian flag. He says he accepts whatever punishment may come his way.

However, a Russian automobile federation spokesperson speaking for Severiukhin tells Motorsport that the gesture was his way of thanking his Russian team, family, and friends. “I'm from Russia,” Severiukhin says in the statement. “I thanked the team and my relatives from Russia. Someone saw a bad gesture in my actions, but it's not. I just thanked them. I am Russian, I am from Russia, and I stand by my country.”









 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories