Nightclub fight still haunts Sutil's career

Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1. Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Suzuka, Japan, Friday 7 October 2011.
Adrian Sutil

Jan.13 (GMM) Ex-Force India driver Adrian Sutil, and possibly Lewis Hamilton, will be heading to court later this month over a nightclub incident that occurred last April after the Chinese GP.

German Sutil, who has lost his Force India drive and is reportedly now out of the running for the Williams seat, is accused of cutting Lotus team executive Eric Lux with a broken glass at a post-event party in China.

The 29-year-old, who celebrated a birthday this week, will defend the Munich court’s charge of grievous bodily harm, with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) newspaper saying the prosecution is pushing for a one-year jail term.

The case will begin late this month.

“We are prepared for it,” Sutil’s manager Manfred Zimmermann is quoted by the SID news agency, “and hope that the matter will be cleared up.”

The FAZ report said 2008 world champion Hamilton, Sutil’s close friend who was present at the time of the incident, may be called as a key witness.

SID news agency said the timing of the case is “very bad” for Sutil, who is yet to secure a formula one seat for 2012.

Switzerland’s Blick newspaper said that because of the incident, the German “could have problems to go back into China” for April’s Shanghai race.

Zimmermann said: “Over the next ten days this issue should be dealt with. We plan to be in F1 (in 2012).”

But writing in the Telegraph, correspondent Tom Cary said: “It is believed the charges pending against him have ended any chance he had of taking the available seat at Williams.”