Russian go-kart champion Artem Severiukhin has been dropped by his team after allegedly performing a Nazi salute on the podium after winning an event in Portugal this weekend during a round of the 2022 FIA Karting European Championship.
If you’re wondering how a Russian driver can compete when the FIA placed a ban on Russian athletes, it’s important to note here that Severiukhin competes under an Italian racing license.
After taking victory at the event, Severiukhin appeared to display a Nazi salute hand gesture before giggling.
Severiukhin denied that he displayed a Nazi salute. From Motorsport.com:
“I would like to address everyone about yesterday’s situation on the podium,” he was quoted as saying by a Russian automobile federation spokesperson. “I won the round of the European Championship and was very happy.
“I’m from Russia. 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.”
However, that answer wasn’t good enough for Severiukhin’s team, Ward Racing, which took to Instagram to announce that it would be dropping Severiukhin with immediate effect.
“Ward Racing... condemns the personal actions of pilot Artem Severiukhin during the award ceremony on April 10, 2022 in the strongest possible terms, as it considers them a manifestation of unsportsmanlike behaviour, an unacceptable violation of the ethical and moral sports codex,” the statement read. “With this statement, Ward Racing expressed 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 Severiukhin and will proceed with terminating his racing contract.”
The incident is also being investigated by the FIA and the Russian Automobile Federation.