Russian go-karting champ, 15, investigated after appearing to do Nazi salute on podium before bursting into laughter

A RUSSIAN go-kart racer is being investigated after appearing to perform a Nazi salute while celebrating a race win.

Artem Severiukhin, 15, sparked outrage after seemingly making the gesture while on the podium in Portugal over the weekend.

Motorsport's governing body, the FIA, are looking into the matter after Severiukhin appeared to tap his chest and hold out his right arm.

A statement said: "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 International do Algarve in Portugal.

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

The FIA continues to allow Russian drivers to compete in events, but not under the Russian flag.

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As a result Severiukhin raced under Italian colours at the Junior European Karting Championship event in Portimao.

And after he won the opening race of the season, he appeared to make the gesture as the Italian national anthem played.

Severiukhin then proceeded to burst out laughing.

The far-right gesture was also used in Italy under the Benito Mussolini regime, but has been illegal since 1952.

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Social media has reacted with fury to the apparent gesture, with some calling for the FIA to ban Severiukhin from racing for life.

Severiukhin is not the only Russian sportsperson to cause outrage in recent weeks.

Following Vladimir Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine, Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak wore a pro-war Z symbol while sharing a podium with a Ukrainian athlete.

Putin's supporters have been seen wearing clothes and badges with the letter 'Z' on – referencing their support for the invasion of Ukraine.

The symbol – which represents the Russian phrase for victory – has been visible on Putin's tanks and killing machines in Ukraine.

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