Karter Artem Severiukhin has denied making a Nazi gesture on the podium at the FIA European Karting Championship event in Portugal but is "ready to be punished".
The 15-year-old Russian claimed victory in the OK category in Portugal on Sunday, and while on the podium he twice thumped his chest followed by what appeared to be a Nazi salute before laughing.
The FIA has launched an investigation into the incident while his team, Ward Racing, has terminated his deal. Severiukhin raced with an Italian licence despite his Russian nationality.
The incident is of concern given Russian president Vladimir Putin's attempt to justify his invasion of Ukraine as a 'de-Nazification' effort.
In a video posted on social media, Severiukhin said: "I want to apologise to everyone for what happened yesterday in the European Karting Championship.
"Standing on the podium, I made a gesture that may be perceived as a Nazi salute. This is not true. I have never supported Nazi-ism and consider it one of the worst crimes against humanity.
"But I raced under the Italian licence and the Italian flag, and the guys in front of the podium showed me that in Italy, in such cases, it is not customary to hit yourself on the chest in the heart area.
"I just wanted to make the gesture and how everything else happened, I cannot explain.
"I know that I am a fool and I am ready to be punished but please, believe that there was no intention in my actions, there was no support of Nazi-ism, of fascism.
"There was no desire to offend spectators, fans or the team. [To] all those that were watching the broadcast, excuse me."