The FIA have summoned Russian karting driver Artem Severikukhin to a video conference on Thursday, where he is explaining his actions on the podium in Portugal earlier this month.
Standing on the podium with Joe Turney and Evan Giltaire having taken victory in the first round of the OK class in the Karting European Championship, the 15-year-old beat his chest and appeared to raise his hand in a Nazi salute to his team, before laughing.
He has since had his contract terminated by Ward Racing, and the FIA launched an “immediate investigation” into his actions.
“The Federation Interntionale de l’automobile confirms that it has launched an immediate investigation into the unacceptable conduct or Artem Severiukhin that occurred during the podium ceremony for the OK category at Round 1 of the 2022 FIA Karting European Championship at the Katrodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal,” they communicated in a statement.
They are currently hearing the Russian’s defence having requested the virtual presence of both himself and the Ward team to a remote hearing surrounding the matter.
“Following the events during the podium ceremony for the OK category Round 1 of the 2022 FIA Karting European Championship in Portimao, the stewards have summoned Ward Racing Team and the driver Mr Artem Severiukhin for a hearing via video conference on Thursday, April 21 at 11:00am CET,” they stated.
“Any decision will be communicated to the relevant parties and published after the hearing.”
After the incident took place, Severikukhin posted a video on social media apologising for the offence his alleged gesture caused, but maintained that he had no intention of performing a Nazi salute.
“I would like to apologise for what happened yesterday at the European Karting Championship,” he said.
“Standing on the podium, I depicted a gesture that many perceived as a Nazi greeting. But that’s not true – I have never supported Nazism and consider it one of the most terrible crimes against humanity.
“I can’t explain how everything else happened.
“I know it’s my fault, I know I’m stupid, and I’m ready to be punished. But please understand that I did not support Nazism or fascism with this gesture.”
Severikukhin had been racing under the Italian license after sanctions were placed by multiple national motorsports governing bodies, including the UK, against Russian racing licence holders.