The FIA has announced the opening of an investigation into the Nazi salute of a young Kart driver from the podium of the European Youth Karting stage in Portimao, Portugal. The FIA called Artyom Severyukhin’s conduct “unacceptable”. The Russian driver who also competes under the Italian flag due to the sanctions imposed on his country for the invasion of Ukraine, after winning the race, beat his chest twice with his fist and stretched his arm forward while saluting Nazi during the award ceremony. “It was a stupid gesture, he said he was very sorry, but we decided to end the relationship with him this morning”, underlines to Adnkronos Joakim Ward, owner of Ward Racing, the Swedish team that had Severyukhin among his Artyom pilots. The video immediately began to circulate on the web with very critical comments. “Our team is all against him – explains Ward – Artyom explained that the greeting was just a joke with friends. I have known him for 4 years, he regretted the gesture: he is destroyed but we are very disappointed in him”. “Our team does not want to be involved in these events: now they will have to pay a heavy penalty because the International Automobile Federation (FIA) asks drivers to sign documents in which they undertake to avoid political comments”. The young Russian driver also got on the podium under the Italian flag since – Ward recalls – “the use of the Russian flag is also forbidden: he has chosen Italy because it is a country he knows well because he has often raced there”. “Ward Racing is deeply ashamed for the driver’s behavior and condemns the gesture with the utmost firmness. The action will quickly suffer the consequences”, reads a statement from the Swedish team. “Ward Racing is a privately owned Swedish team that unites drivers from different countries, acting on licenses from various countries. The team’s drivers are not united by country or other categories. Most of the drivers do not represent the national team of any country. , but acts individually, “explains the team in the note on social media.” The actions of Artem Severyukhin during the awards ceremony on April 10, 2022 were exclusively individual and do not represent in any way the views and values of Ward Racing. On the contrary, Ward Racing stands alongside the international community in condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and expresses its solidarity with the people who suffer from this unprovoked and horrific attack. Since the start of the ongoing war, our firm stand has been demonstrated with helmets and “No War” 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 also proud of our country that has taken the historic decision to send weapons to Ukraine to fight the Russian army “, explains the team.” Consequently, Ward Racing strongly condemns the personal actions of the driver Artem Severyukhin during the awards ceremony on April 10, 2022, as he considers them a manifestation of unsportsmanlike behavior, an unacceptable violation of the ethical and moral code of sport. With this statement, Ward Racing expresses its opinion, as well as the opinion of all the athletes and staff of the Ward Racing team. Based on these considerations, Ward Racing sees no possibility of continuing the collaboration with Artem Severyukhin and will proceed to terminate his race contract. Finally, Ward Racing would like to apologize to those who were injured or distressed by the event. It has been and will remain a priority for Ward Racing for a long time to work towards a more diverse, inclusive and respectful racing climate “, concludes the team.
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