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FIA

FIA launch immediate investigation over driver's podium gesture

A statement has been issued by the FIA following a podium incident at a Karting European Championship event in Portugal.

The FIA have confirmed that an "immediate investigation" has been launched over a driver's podium conduct at a karting event.

A statement released by the governing body on Monday refers to an incident involving teenage karter Artem Severiukhin at the opening round of the OK category Karting European Championship in Portugal.

Severiukhin - a Russian driver competing under an Italian flag - made a gesture on the podium which has been interpreted by many as a Nazi salute. Footage from the event shows him laughing after making the gesture.

The FIA's statement reads: "The Federation 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 Kartodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal.

"The FIA will communicate shortly on the further steps that will be taken in this case."

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian drivers are only allowed to compete in FIA championships in a neutral capacity and under the 'FIA flag'.

They were also requested to sign a 'driver commitment' set out by the governing body if they wished to continue to compete.

Severiukhin's team terminate contract

Ward Racing, the team that Severiukhin had been competing for, have condemned the driver's actions, and also confirmed that his contract with them will be terminated.

A statement from the Swedish outfit states that they are "deeply in shame" of Severiukhin's behaviour.

"The actions of Artem Severiukhin 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," the release on the team's social media pages states.

"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."

Ward Racing say that they view Severiukhin's actions as a "manifestation of unsportsmanlike behaviour, an unacceptable violation of the ethical and moral sports code."

The post continues: "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 Severiukhin and will proceed with terminating his racing contract."

The team has apologised to "those who were hurt or distressed" by the incident.

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