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Sutil’s manager seeks conciliation over injury, but it looks unlikely
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Sutil’s manager seeks conciliation over injury, but it looks unlikely
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 May 2011   |  3:50 pm GMT  |  56 comments

The situation surrounding the injury sustained by Renault F1′s Eric Lux at the hands of Force India driver Adrian Sutil in a Shanghai nightclub continues to fascinate the paddock.

Sutil in the spotlight (Darren Heath)


From Force India’s cryptic statement which fully supported their driver, for this race, to the last line of Lux’s lawyer’s press release which hinted that he would also be seeking redress from others who may have had an indirect involvement, the story has more twists and turns than this Catalunya circuit.

Sutil’s manager Manfred Zimmerman has made some interesting comments to a couple of my German colleagues which are worth noting. In reference to Force India’s temporary support, he said, “We’re taking it as read that Adrian will be driving in the next races.”

Force India has Nico Hulkenberg, arguably the most capable of all reserve drivers in the field at the moment, to fall back on if the situation requires it. He drove the car this morning, as he does every Friday at Grands Prix, so is current and ready to go if Sutil cannot continue for whatever reason.

Anxious to avoid this, Zimmerman says that he’s been seeking conciliation with Lux for the last two weeks but has not been able to get through.

“I called him on the phone straight after the event, apologised and said that as soon as Adrian got back to Europe he would apologise, as he has done. For the last two weeks we have tried to find a solution that would work for both sides. But Mr Lux’s side hasn’t been able to discuss it. Four weeks after the event there is still nothing official, just the press release from the lawyer in Switzerland announcing the intention to prosecute.”

French colleagues tell me that Lux is a very determined man and he has decided to go for it, unhappy at the way the incident occurred and by the way it was handled afterwards.

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56 Comments
  1. James, can you get the full lowdown on this? Everyone is tip-toeing with regards to this topic but no one really knows what’s going on. I’m so confused. And what is Hamilton’s role in this?

    1. frosty says:

      There will be a few that know exactly what happened.
      It was in a nightclub, and probably not a quite one with a post race party going on. I’m sure the place was plenty busy. Maybe even the odd journalist was there.

      But people close ranks and no-one is going to dare speak out of turn. There’s no benefit. You won’t get thanked for it as no-one is the ignored / helpless victim.

      Let the lawyers / court decide and we’ll hear about it. Or they’ll settle and it’ll go away….

      1. madmax says:

        What I read in some German paper is Sutil was at club with Hamilton to celebrate his mates win in the Grand Prix that weekend. Renault guys were also there in same VIP section.

        It became crowded and Hamilton’s body guards were making more room for him and in goings on after that a woman spilt drink on Sutil.

        As Sutil was complaining to woman Lux got involved and whatever happened between them Sutil went to throw drink in Lux’s face but instead caught him with the glass causing the injury.

        If that is true or not don’t know but the meaning to throw the drink and catching Lux with glass seems to add up from what Sutil is saying it been an accident.

        First time commenting, great insights in the articles James. cheers.

      2. Stephen Kellett says:

        If my memory serves me correctly, Lux had 24 stitches to fix the neck wound.

        A wound that requires 24 stiches is not caused by accident – it requires considerable force. I know someone that was injured by a moron throwing a spanner from a car at 70 mph and it hit their leg – hospital with a plastic surgeon, didn’t need anything like 24 stitches, despite the lump out of their leg.

        So either the 24 stitches bit is incorrect, or considerable force was used to create the injury. Certainly your story sounds plausible if the 24 stitches bit is wrong (or my memory of reading that is wrong).

        Not sure what conclusions to draw from this, seems to be conflicting information coming from various sides.

      3. Unoccv3 says:

        This is how rumours get started.

        Not saying your wrong, but given the lack of info, putting out theories on something that could effect Sutils career doesn’t seem right.

        I read someone saying somewhere (can’t remember where) that Hamilton was out celebrating victoriy. Sutil was out with him along with Glock (I think) in a VIP area. Renault guys were also there for something reason. (aka pretty much the same as you till this point).

        Then Sutil was dancing in a small area after having a bit too much to drink. While holding glass in his hand (bottle or glass, don’t think he specified), he accidentally hit Lux.

        Aparently, Lux thinks it was Sutils error for being an idiot and hitting him with glass int he neck. And Sutil thinks it was jsut a mistake while dancing.

        All in all it is just a rumour. I don’t like the spread them, and I think putting out a story is just that, a story and it will catch with some especialyl if we don’t here the full story anyway.

        I guess I just wanted to repeat another story I had read that was a bit different. So you never know with these things what happened.

      4. tEQUILLA sLAMMER says:

        Whaaaaaaaat?? Why didnt Sutil just slap the woman for spilling the drink on him? Then Lux wouldnt have got involved and all would be forgotten by now. Some of these drivers just dont have a clue how to behave in nightclubs anymore!!! Several times in Monte Carlo Ive had to dish out some bitchslaps to careless or drunken women falling all over the place, and Ive even hurt my hand once or twice delivering the coup de grace!!! :p

  2. goferet says:

    Okay, did these two have a nasty break up or what?

    This sort of thing only happens between people that are in a relationship.

  3. Victor Winarto says:

    Then why Lux needs to wait for 4 weeks before start calling Sutil into court and job done. That will actually be a win-win solution for both, Lux and Force India. First, charging Sutil is easy as evidences are already established and Sutil acknowledge it. Second, Force India then has excuse to allow Hulkenberg to drive and give him more experience before race for full season by next year for whatever reason after Di Resta has outperformed Sutil and Hulkenberg definitely has identical talent. Perhaps, by my mind, reason of Lux to keep the case running is to establish an uncertainty for Force India which therefore create his Renault’s competitive advantage clear from Force India that sometimes in the right circuit can give little trouble (mostly after first pit stop and find a Force India driver does no give away so easily). Anyway I could be 99% wrong and it is just a matter of collecting evidences and send Sutil into jail by weeks or months.

  4. Adrian Jordan says:

    James, in your opinion if official charges are brought against Sutil, will Force India still support him or will they (as I believe is the precedent in football) suspend him until he is cleared?

    1. Unoccv3 says:

      Football and F1 are different.

      If you train you are still playing. You just don’t play inmatches.

      If Force India take him out of the car then Sutil isnt’ driving and I’m pretty sure FI would then be on the end of a Sutil legal matter.

      + If your football is anything likes ours, the media makes clubs make roll models out of them all. F1 drivers aren’t for everything. In Australia we have Nick Riewoldt telling us to be nice to umpires and then this round is Aboriginal round so we get told to think about Aboriginies and then there is a Womens round and a Green round and when ever a player does anything bad he ends up dealing with it and then going around telling 5 year olds that what they did is bad.

      I’m pretty sure apart from the driving saftey F1 drivers aren’t required to act like tools of the trade in their private time.

      1. Michael says:

        not sure if you’re taking the mickey when describing the actions of AFL players…. the garbage they get away with and yet still get put up on a pedestal is farcical. It’s one of the reasons I can’t stand the sport.

      2. Unoccv3 says:

        I’m not taking the mickey.

        But that is my point. That they are put on a pedestal no matter what pretty much. F1 drivers aren’t and hence I don’t think Sutil will ‘suspend him until cleared’ as you said simply because football /= F1

  5. MR SERIOUS says:

    Why try so hard if he (Sutil) is innocent?

    At least there seems remorse which is good.

    Has anyone seen any footage of the incident -mobile phone – ????

    Yes all I know he is innocent until proven otherwise :<)

  6. Merlinghnd says:

    I am sure Sutil has a “good behaviour ” clause in his contract and that this is hanging over him at the moment.

    Does not sound good but the fact is there is little information of what actually happened out here at the moment to have a fully informed view on this topic.

    Surprised there is not a super injunction on this, everyoner seems to have them these days!!

  7. melonfarmer says:

    James, what do you make of the news in a German ‘paper that Lux was ready to settle in return for a public apology, a charitable donation and Sutil voluntarily sitting out a few GP’s? The first two points seem fair enough, but the last one is ludicrous. What do Genii have to gain by Hulkenberg being promoted to a rival team? I wouldn’t have thought Renault consider FI as direct rivals.

    1. Cabby says:

      The first two things-public apology and a donation- are easy, could even be turned into something positive PR-wise (Sutil visiting School/Project/Whatever).

      Sitting out a Grand Prix however, would be very painful and humiliating, too. No points, no premiums, one less GP in his resume, maybe permanent damage to his career in case the reserve drive appears to be faster.

      Apparently Lux is really feeling aggrieved. Given the results of Hulkenberg and his alleged MB-connection, Force India could even profit from Sutil beeing unable to race, so one could even argue, Lux is doing them a favor…

      1. James Allen says:

        I don’t think it’s conceivable that he would request Sutil sit out races. An apology was very much top of the list, I understand

      2. Cabby says:

        Well, I guess he couldnt just call in sick, could he? ;)

        The newspaper mentioning it, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, is very well respected and trustworthy, a “broadsheet” if there ever was one. On the other hand, Sutils manager is cited that he does not know anything abouth this, so it might really be a rumour, maybe even to discredit Lux as making unreasonable demands.

  8. Tim. says:

    ” at the way the incident occurred and by the way it was handled afterwords.”

    Does that mean Adrian…or is he going after others that were there….

    1. David Turnedge says:

      Silly boys games. Shanghai. Nightclub. Big egos. Leave it in the nightclub guys. Girls spilling drinks turning into boys facing off each other? Please…

  9. Alan says:

    Why on earth should Adrian or anybody at Force India be paying the slightest attention to this silly man ?

    The whole thing smells dodgy and the vague hints at trying to drag Lewis in to it all – while he appears to be the only man capable of stopping Vettel’s domination in a dominant car just smacks of politics.

    Are Renault so worried about FI catching them ?

  10. James says:

    So does anyone really know what the fight was about? Did someone tell a rich snob to shove it and followed up his words? All I hear is someone said something and then Lux fell or had the Plastic/Glass flute shoved into his neck. What has happened after that Lux is not happy about; noone knows anything except gossip and now he is pulling out his big money and lawyers and suing for a bar fight. What a man, F1 needs more of his type. So glad the drivers dont get into slapping fights.

    Maybe Lewis should of sued Kimi for his tap and “hey dummy, the red light was on, pay attention rookie” years ago. Sheesh. At least the drivers get after it and move on.

    1. . says:

      I am sure when someone breaks a bottle and stabs it in your or your son’s neck, you would be all cool with it.

      Unbelievable people actually defend Sutil on this. Innocent until proven? It is pretty obvious he did it, all accounts suggest it, even his own admitted parts of it.

      1. Stephen Kellett says:

        A friend of mine got “glassed” in a bar years ago. He is very mild mannered and was just trying to shield a girl from an idiot. End result, visit to hospital and nasty scar on his right cheek.

        Now, no one gives him trouble. They see the scar, draw the wrong conclusion and leave him alone. Ironic that such a disfigurement could be so useful.

      2. James says:

        Stabbing and an accident are two different things. Had a friend who was just talking next to a woman and had a full beer bottle thrown across the room, wasnt a pretty 12 months for him. Stabbing someone with a glass seems pretty serious. I would like to actually see the facts.

        I get intent, but as I have read so far its either an accident or Sutil is lucky to not be rotting in a Chinese prison. Until someone speaks on this, we wont know. Racing drivers are a hot bunch of people (no matter their station in life) and so are high profile money brokers. I am not going to assume a racing driver, who has to kiss major money-man ass to keep his ride is going to lung at a persons jugular, unless provoked. Provoked or not, a jugular stab is pretty serious and I think more poeople would be saying more to defend Lux or other parties no matter the case.

        Most fights, have two parties. Sounds like this was a fight over something. Until an actual report comes out, its all hearsay and speculation in my mind. Maybe he did try to end Lux’s life right there in a Chinese Dance hall. If so, an apology, charity gift and sitting out a race is far from the real consiquence he could/should suffer in China.

        Guessing by the silence, FIA/F1/FOTA dont want the rest of us commons to know what happens when they arent on the TV.

  11. this will either go quiet … or blow up big time i think.

    will be interesting to know the facts of what happened that night .. if they ever come out

    anyway .. on with the racing :)

    Matt

  12. Conrad M. Sathirweth says:

    I hope Lux does goes through with it and Sutil is prosecuted, all to often rich and famous people get away with stuff John Doe would be slammed for.

    1. Jack says:

      seems a bit harsh considering we’ve no idea whatsoever what happened. Wouldn’t it be enough to hope that the situation is resolved in the fairest way possible?

      1. Rich In Norway says:

        Second that

    2. David Turnedge says:

      You obviously haven’t been in Shanghai nightclubs. If this started over a girl spilling drinks on a star driver… Sheesh… VIPs at ten paces.

      Either this was a serious assault or this is being blown all out of proportion. Methinks it should have been dealt with at the time, not weeks later in other countries and in the media.

      One thing’s for sure: no one looks good in this story.

  13. Jonty says:

    What did actually happen? Baffling…

    Will we ever find out the full story I wonder.

  14. Born 1950 says:

    Wait and see. We don’t know what actually happened. If we start speculating we’re as bad as the red-top hacks.

  15. Chase says:

    Somebody needs to clarify, are we talking criminal charges being brought against Sutil are we talking lawsuit & compensation. I don’t see why Switzerland would prosecute a case against a resident over a barfight that took place in China.

  16. jonrob says:

    It is very obvious that this supposedly private incident is being used by certain parties to gain an advantage over other teams or at least make trouble for them. Someone has taken Lux aside and told him to make as much capital out of it as possible and to cast the net wide.
    Hopefully Lewis will talk about a writ for defamation if Lux does not retract the last part of his statement. However of course nobody knows what went on. In europe by now six witnesses would have been produced and sold their stories to the tabloids.

  17. what are the consequences of this happening in China? Would he have to go to court or get tried there? That’s what would scare me the most.

  18. CanadaGP says:

    No matter what really happened or what happens next….unfortunately for Adrian, I think his chances of driving for a top team are over.

    A year ago, he was the only driver aside from Kubica who could consistently get up to Q3 in addition to the top 4 factory teams. This year, Di Resta has put a lot of doubt on Sutil’s ability even before the incident.

    Now this off-track incident just won’t fit into the corporate image that a Mercedes, RBR, Macca, etc. requires of their drivers. Corporate sponsors wouldn’t want to touch it either.

    With talent like Hulkenberg, Di Resta, Kobayashi, Perez, a possible Kubica return, etc. waiting in the wings, and with a gaggle of German drivers on the grid, it becomes a difficult argument to justify hiring Sutil.

    1. Steve in Somerset says:

      Sutil only got into Q3 6 times out of 19 races, I wouldn’t call that consistent. He’s always been an average driver with occasional moments of good form.

      However, I agree that he’s unlikely to find himself in a top team but then, I thought that before any of this happened.

      1. Unoccv3 says:

        He is driving a Force India.

        Unless he makes a jump up (not inconcievable) then i see him as similiar to Hidfeld. Never in a good enough car really. GP winner in good car but not WDC

    2. CH1UNDA says:

      Look at it this way – Di Riesta outperforming Sutil in Force India should actually reinforce Sutil’s position in that team for the reason that Di Riesta is going to be grabbed up by a big team very soon; teams like FI who might not have big opportunities to win championships need steady drivers like Sutil not hotshots like Hulk and Di Riesta unless these youths come really cheap or even with sponsorship money. If Sutil plays his cards carefully, he should still come out of this with his drive intact.

  19. jose - perth says:

    The request for sitting out races – if true – can only stem off the nature of the argument, as in Lux saying Hulkenberg is a better driver and should be driving the car or something like that. Attention James: Kimi is about to enter his Nascar race – with all your knowledge wouldn’t it be great if you could write a piece on “True” racers – of which Kimi is undoubtly one. For someone to walk out and remove himself from F1 claws – and extremely powerful pincers they are – and go on to achieve success and recognition in other major motorsport categories is outstanding! He might not have been the complete racer but he certainly is a pure racer.

    1. Unoccv3 says:

      ‘true’ racers.

      Fallacy numero 2o.

      My favourite driver is awesome.. he’s a real racer… he loves to drive cos hes awesome. He even said that he wanted to drive in conditions that the stewards said were too wet to race in! And the only reason could be being behind in the points… but it’s cos he is such a racer.

      My other favourite driver is another real racer not like those pretenders who just drive in races but don’t really race cos they’re just so LAAAME!

      ———-

      Sorry, but there aren’t ‘real racers’ in F1. It’s a fallacy like driving beyond the limit of the car.

      All the drivers race in conditions and a suicidal mentality nor a massively introverted personality make them any more of a ‘racer’ than others.

      ——

      Kimi Raikkonen (and I am a fan) is very much a great driver. If he finds sucess in either or both WRC and NASCAR I think he will have even outplayed Jim Clarke as the most versatile WDC in F1 history. (WRC vs F1 are very different and I don’t Jim Clarke ever did rallies).

      A driver doing well in multiple disciplines should be congratulated, and it shows he is a versatile driver. But it doesn’t make him a ‘true racer’ as you put it. He is a racing driver who is versatile.

      Maybe if you go down to your track then you will see people who will becoming racing drivers and you could classify them as racers, while other just wanting fun maybe not. But when it gets to WRC or F1 then they are all racers. And calling one driver a ‘true racer’ is implying that there are other F1 drivers that aren’t true racers which is absurd.

      1. Onyx says:

        Raikkonen better than Jim Clark…are you serious?!Double world champ,indy 500 winner,Touring Car Champ,raced in Nascar and nearly won the 1966 RAC Rally..sorry but no comparison…

      2. Unoccv3 says:

        I didn’t say better. I said more versatile.

        I couldn’t remember the 1966 RAC rally, and in my books if a driver proves he can do
        Karting (barly did any car races before f1)
        F1 (open wheel ‘car’)
        WRC (Rally cars on dirt/snow etc..)
        NASCAR (stock cars on tacks including circles)

        sucessfully

        IS more VERSATILE than
        F1 (open wheel ‘cars’.. a bit more though in his day)
        Indy (same kinds of car as F1 really)
        Touring car (touring car)
        Nascar (as above)

        I would say F1 and NASCAR to WRC is a bigger difference than F1 and NASCAR to Touring cars. Indy is just a mixture of F1 cars on some tracks and some circles.

        BUT I forgot
        Rally (as above).

        So all in all, Jim Clark was more versatile as I had forgotten his rally. I never said better though.

        And my main point was that versatility =/ true racer because in top level driving like F1 all drivers = racers

    2. Jose - Perth says:

      @Unoccv3

      I hear you but I do not think we are talking about the same thing. Surely every F1 driver is a racer and anyone who wants to and is racing is trying the best they can and not doing so because someone put a gun on their heads ( or a glass ;) ). What I mean is that once you are in F1 the “racing” is one part of a complex sum : politics, money, sponsors, strategies, technicalities, the list goes on. I believe once the driver is into it the “racer” is affected and not able to race as he/she wishes. Also a “true” racer is a trait of the personality that puts the racing as the big number one motivation – not winning championships or loads of money. Also the “true” racer is not a selfish indidual in my opinion and these days many drivers are. It was VERY different at the time of a Jim Clark or a Jack Brabham. These people could do what they wanted, NOT what they were told. And that is why they could be found racing every week-end in whatever series there would be a car available to them and that is something you hardly see this days. They would every so often party with their fierce competitors, again something you hardly see these days. In fact now mostly they avoid each other. The true racer is bumped out and replies with a smile and a joke to the perpretator who in the heat of the moment shrugs the friendly hand away. To finish a great story and one I am sure MS would like to emulate:Zandvoort 1966; a bearded old man with a stick hobbles his way across to the car at pole position. To general astonishment he suddenly throws away his crutch and wig, swings himself into the cockpit and wins the Dutch GP. It is a youthful prank by the 40 y.o. Jack Brabham, directed at those who have relegated him to retirement (Hartmut Lehbrink)

  20. Vannman says:

    A public apology when the public hae no idea what happened, seems a bit daft.

    1. Steve in Somerset says:

      Good point.

  21. Adam Taylor says:

    I do love a good Formula 1 soap story

  22. Ralf F says:

    James, two questions, unrelated to this article, sorry!

    1)What is the deal with the Ferrari rear wing? Why is the FIA investigating it? I haven’t been able to find any pictures or any clear description for the uneducated fans like me.

    2)Why was there a question in Vettel’s Q&A in the official F1 site about Kobayashi to Red Bull? Is it just wild speculation out of nowhere or has there been some talk about it by someone connected to the mentioned parties?

  23. Dale says:

    Surely if Sutil had donesomething wrong the police would be involved in some way?

    Can you advise us as to why this is not the case James?

  24. Ben G says:

    That Sutil sure has a knack for accidentally hitting people.

  25. Old timer says:

    Ah, we haven’t had scandals for decades.
    Remember the playboy era, when drivers got
    evicted from casinos for drinking too much
    and relieving their bladders in the handbag
    of a supermodel?

  26. Brace says:

    This story is so inconclusive that it smells like a skunk.
    Either keep it 100% out of media or release complete picture.
    What I get from this is that someone is trying to manipulate media and public in order to prepare them for witch hunt.

    1. James Allen says:

      Bear in mind that it looks likely to be the subject of a criminal case and it’s not common for loads of details to be sprayed around when things get legal is it?

      1. Brace says:

        I didn’t mean that you should keep it 100% in or out, I know you are just reporting, I meant parties involved in this whole mess.
        I’m having a feeling that they intentionally released just the “right amount” of info to start the rumor mill going, thus making it even worse then if they released the whole story actually.

  27. Douglas says:

    I’m cynical: aren’t Renault looking to sell engines to more teams from 2012 or something? When does Force India’s contract with Mercedes run out?

    1. The end of 2012. So not much help for Renault…

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