A 15-year-old Russian karting champion has said sorry for being "stupid" after appearing to make a Nazi salute on the podium following his win in the first round of the European Championship in Portugal yesterday.
The teenager in question is called Artem Severiukhin and has been let go from his team for the alleged gesture.
The FIA, governing body of racing have said they will be looking and investigating the matter.
Severiukhin in the video footage is seen thumping his chest twice then appears to make the salute, before breaking out in a burst of laughter under the Italian flag.
FIA is launching a investigation into the incident where Russian driver Artem Severiukhin (competing under the Italian flag) showed a nazi salute at the World Karting Championship.
— F2.Addict (@AddictF2) April 11, 2022
The Russian posted a message on the Russian Automobile Federation’s Telegram channel and said he was sorry for what he did in a tearful apology that spread across social media
"I would like to apologize 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."
He added: "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."
Severiukhin was able to race under the Italian flag as a means to circumvent sporting sanctions against his homeland in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.
The FIA confirmed an "immediate investigation" into what it deemed the "unacceptable conduct" and Ward Racing, have cut ties with the teenager after the incident
In a statement the Sweden-based team said:
"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.
"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.
"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."
"I'm ready to be punished."
Artem Severiukhin, 15, has apologised after he performed an 'unacceptable gesture' when celebrating his victory in the FIA Karting European Championship. pic.twitter.com/5IHa3cP1hV
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) April 12, 2022