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F1 driver Sutil to face criminal charges over China fracas?
F1 driver Sutil to face criminal charges over China fracas?
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 May 2011   |  6:39 pm GMT  |  77 comments

A statement has just been released by Eric Lux, the co-owner of Genii Capital and therefore of the Renault F1 team, who was injured in an incident with Adrian Sutil on the evening after the Chinese Grand Prix.

He says that he plans to press for criminal proceedings against the Force India driver,

“Mr Eric Lux has decided to file a criminal complaint against Mister Adrian Sutil for physical assault and grievous bodily harm.

“As soon as the complaint is registered, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the team Force India will be notified.

“Furthermore, please note that Mr Eric Lux does not exclude commencing an action against any other persons involved in this matter.”

The last line is intriguing. Although Sutil’s close friend Lewis Hamilton was present at the time, there has been no suggestion that he was in any way involved and he is reported to have left quickly after Lux was injured.

Lux was injured apparently by a broken glass during an incident in a nightclub in Shanghai after the race. He required stitches for a wound to the neck.

At this stage not many facts have been established. Sutil made a kind of apology for the incident but said that Lux’s injuries occurred by accident and that he did not deliberately wound the financier.

The reasons for the altercation are yet to be explained.

The last time anything like this occurred, albeit less serious in terms of injury, was when Bertrand Gachot was found guilty of assaulting a London taxi driver with CS gas in 1991. His subsequent incarceration led to the hiring by the Jordan team of a 22 year old by the name of Michael Schumacher.

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Is Hulkenberg the next 7 time world champion ?


GBH normally means something like really serious bodily harm, the next level of crime coming under attempted murder in British law (Not sure if GBH is different in Switzerland). That suggests he picked up a substaincial injury to me.

It's an interesting story and I wonder what really happened, perhaps we'll get to find out in time.


Well he can only bring criminal proceedings in China, so as long Ardian skips that country he's fine.


I'll be surprised if Hulkenberg ever drives in F1 again.


Driving for top team? Probably no. But getting race seat in some midfield team if perfectly possible for him.


Don't think so, but he should get another chance in a top team.

Victor Winarto

Another history after 20 years Schumi began his F1 career and with Force India which is accidentally Jordan. Then next 3 years, we will see Nico (Hulkenberg) fighting in Lotus Renault (Benetton) for world championship with unpredictable driver (currently, other than Schumi, no one has world championship for more than 2 titles, but could be Vettel for this year). Anyway, I'm just dreaming


...or Force India is going to hire a 42 year old German called Michael Schumacher 😉

Seriously now.

I hope they settle the argument without affecting each other's careers. It would be sad if they dont.


Haha, great chirp Jo, very witty!


I needed a translator to understand your sentence !


Sorry, Chirp, I guess, is a South African slang term only.

Chirp = one-liner


Jordan (now Force India...) driver replaced by promising young German after committing assault?!

Certainly some parallels to 20 years ago should Sutil lose his drive!


F1 needs to treat this as serious as it sounds. Clearly the wheels will move slowly in civil and criminal circles but a united front of damning this incident (appropriately) when all the facts are known about all involved is required if F1 is to be taken seriously as a responsible (moral) sport.

I suppose the fact that it happened in China will slow things further.

I for one am very surprised as I view F1 drivers as very responsible compared to many other sports such as the NBA or NFL.

Hence the reason so many sporting stars there all have morals clauses in their team and sponsor contracts.

Sutil did seem like a decent person. I wonder if the Hulk will be in the car until facts become clearer?


Sutil is innocent until proven guilty. Therefore there is no reason to replace him yet.

Mr You Can't Be Serious

Erm I'm pretty sure there is a legal code of innocent until PROVEN guilty. I would argue lets see what facts are established and verified, then make a conclusion rather than a blanket condemnation of what Adrian describes as an accident.

I would always trust Adrian over a "Financier".


That 'innocent until proven guilty' does NOT apply in China. I'm not sure where you come from, but I'd imagine you come from a country with Common Law jurisdiction.

In China, there is no right of innocence. The burden of proof lays in the defendant, hence Sutil needs to prove his innocence (IF he's charged). Just in case you are wondering, China also does not practice precendent / case law. So whatever you read in papers or wherever about there were previous cases that might favour Sutil, again this does not apply in China.

Good words on wait until facts are established, and more information are provided. I'm not one to say whether Sutil is guilty or innocent, I just wanted to state the facts with regards to legal issues / systems.


You don't know much about the Chinese legal system do you!


You are talking about Common Law. This is China here, innoncent until proven guilty does not apply. Not the entire world works on the same legal system.

Sutil might be in quite a bit of trouble here even though he might be innocent. He has to prove himself innocent, rather than the prosecution to prove him guilty.


This is not the Peoples'Republic of China vs Sutil; its Eric Lux vs Sutil. Since the incident took place in China and the case is being filed in Switzerland and the parties are not Swiss nationals, i guess there will be considerable arguments about the legitimate jurisdiction before the case is even heard - most likely it will return to China; without police having been called to the scene i don't know how advantagous that would be for Erix Lux


Hey, Mr Serious

What are you saying? Guilty until proven innocent or otherwise? Just because someone wants to bring criminal proceedings doesn't mean a criminal act was perpetrated.


You should change name into MR.JUMPING INTO CONCLUSIONS.

I wish noone would comment on this story until they know the facts and/or until more info is available.

All we have for now is all that is needed for "moralists" to come out, shouting their hollow lines.








time for a new keyboard, looks like your caps key is stuck


Give the guy a break, atleast he didn't say Sutil was 'Role Model'.

As you say, "lets get the facts before we make a judgement"


So which judiciary system has the complaint been filed with ?[mod]


It does fit: Sutil is the new Gachot, while Hulkenberg (the new Schumi) will be able to race for FIF1 in Spa this year, take 7th on the grid and then do something crazy and retire on lap 1... only to win 2 titles with Force India and 10 more with Ferrari (if they decide to stay in F1 after all).

On a more serious note, I hope Lewis was not in any way involved in this matter. Really there's something strange going on in the world of motorsport: them drivers misbehave at NASCAR races; MotoGP guys bump into each other or get physical on the straights; now this Sutil thing. We're lacking some education or wot?


It's very difficult to have an opinion on this given the whole picture as you said is still not very clear and I think it's a good thing for now that Lewis is keeping himself quiet on the matter.

On the other hand, if we take the brute fact that Sutil had a physical incident with Lux in Shanghai, then things are still complicated as to whether he intentionally or "unintentionally" had a coming to with Lux. I'm currently refusing to say it was as far as assault or any other description that may make it more severe than it may have been, hence why I said physical incident.

Suppose Sutil "intentionally" "attacked" Lux then Sutil presumably was provoked in a certain manner, albeit in his slightly tipsy state perhaps if he was a night club. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't. In which case then it's now interesting as to what Lux may have possibly done to "provoke" Sutil.

On the other hand, if we take Sutil's word that it was "unintentional" then how on earth did that cause Lux's requirement of stitches in the neck (apparently because again the details are very much dripping through). Did some other incident between Sutil and someone else occur and Lux was an unfortunate by-stander caught in the crossfire?

I'm hoping that this doesn't spell the absolute end for Sutil's career in F1 because he's developed very well from his early days with Spyker, but currently sadly in a sense it almost appears it may just.

Right now, a full proper opinion can only be held by those who were actually involved. The rest of us can only really speculate.


Apparently there were other drivers there including Alonso and Nico Rosberg according to http://mag.gpweek.com/ on page 21. Its interesting that despite the animosity that allegedly exists between Alonso and Lewis, the the Spaniard was hanging out with his former teammate amidst drivers who are considered close to the Briton.

Anyway according to the writer who claims to have been on the scene a few moments after the incident, few people remember anything. So getting witnesses looks like it is going to be difficult - i am imagining the drivers will stand up for their own in this case.


Fair enough. In regards to the animosity between Alonso and Lewis I think to be honest that's died down a lot since the fall out in 2007. I think Alonso has been seeing it more as a Ron Dennis favouring Lewis thing. Can't confirm if I'm honest, I just vaguely remember a discussion about it somewhere.

In addition, it could that Alonso was at that club with his group of friends and it just turned out that Lewis and others went there as well.

In any case, yeah it seems that getting any form of evidence will be very difficult indeed, including security camera feeds. It's going to be difficult to see what the final verdict will be.


To claim it was an accident after you take a broken glass to somebody's neck is ridiculous. You intended to do serious bodily harm and I don't care if you were drunk or not. Goodbye and don't let the door slam you in the a$$.


im sorry Eric, but you seem rather ignorant. You would make a terrible judge! How can you decide someones fate and career based on an ALLEGATION??? Secondly, the article says the wound was caused my broken glass, no one said Sutil stabbed Lux. [mod] FACTS have not yet been established so let us not act and comment as if we were there.


How does someone get stabbed in the neck with a glass by accident ? Innocent until proven guilty - certainly - but this is very strange indeed. The fact that a few well known people departed the scene immediately is another concern.


Read the article again, the word stabbed is not used at all. A wound being caused by something does not mean stabbing took place. If Sutil had stabbed Lux, I'm pretty sure the article would say so, and he would probably have been arrested.


The description has an implausible ring to it by any standard. Lux may have fallen on his glass after he was punched or pushed - who knows. That may explain Sutil's "accident" defense. Without witnesses, this is a he said - he said case.


A very markedly different attitude to the original statements from both Lux and Sutil which said that it was a private matter between the two of them, Sutil had apologised, end of!

Someone has seen a bandwaggon and jumped on with both feet, one name seems obvious but then far be it from me to even suggest......

Only if the FIA decide, after hearing all the evidence, that someone brought the sport into disrepute would it affect either the driver or team official.


If Sutil is jailed for assault it will certainly affect his career, even without any action by FIA. Even if he avoids jail, it may compromise his ability to concentrate on driving.

Also we don't know what his contract says. Maybe there is a clause, which allows termination of contract in such case.


If i recall FIA have so far refused to get involved - innocent until proven guilt; with the evidence available so far, Lux will show up with 10 chinese witnesses who back up his story then Sutil will show up with another bunch of 10 who dispute giving the judge one hell of a headache.


Get on an airplane to face criminal charges in China, I think not.


I hope this isn't true - I like Sutil and think given a good car he could win races. However In all likelihood I think we're gonna see Hulkenberg in a Force India in Spain on raceday. It would be commercial suicide for them to put Sutil in the car.


Why to release a statement? Its between two private persons.

Michael Prestia

Things are about to get more interesting. I'm sure in this day and age with all the smart phones etc and this altercation occuring in a high end club that someone has this altercation recorded.


I don't see why this incident should affect Sutul's super license? This was a private party, outside of Formula 1 commitments, and while Force India sponsors may not be impressed (nor the FIA), I don't believe that a drunken bar fight (if it was even a fight) should ruin a drivers career.

It would be difficult for Sutil to have claimed this was accidental with so many witnesses, had it been a deliberate action.

I just hope that the last paragraph of the letter from lux's lawyer doesn't mean Lewis will be dragged into this aswell.

Now if Vettel were facing an assault charge, i'd say lock

him up and throw the Red Bull keys to Ricciardo! But that's another story...


I know this is speculation..but to answer to your post, if Lux was pushed by Adrian and Lux triped and fell on a glass table and got an injury..this could qualify as unintentionally from Adrian, but could still have enough for Lux to sue him, since it was pushed.

I'm just saying..I hope they drop all this circus and get back to racing.


There are two sides to every story. I think we should all wait to see how this story unravels before suggesting Sutil get let go or be replaced.


CS gas? Surely you mean CS spray?


Why are there still not more facts out about this. There seem to have been plenty of F1 people in that club. (not only Hamilton) Can't you go grill some F1 people that were there James. I know it's very much a 'tabloid story' and probably not something a respected F1 journo likes to report on, but this could have a real impact on race seats at F1, making it relevant to F1 🙂


read page 21 here http://mag.gpweek.com/ ... i doubt the lawyers are going to allow anything more than what the writer claims here; unless of course other drivers who were on the scene are questioned by the likes of James and are willing to provide more information

Gareth Chambers

Punish him by all means (and I think that would have to involve him losing his race seat), but it would only be appropriate to do so if he were convicted.

This seems to be something the tabloid media in particular, tend to forget.


Hmmmm there's a sort of assumption that because someone starts legal proceedings that they must be innocent party... well that's not always so.

It's especially true for people with money to whoom the law and its costs are no object...

A little rucus in a pub happens every weekend, especially between people who have had a few drinks... in the end both side lick their wounds and walk away ... not so for prima donna rich people... why do that when you can get a lawyer involved...

They should both get it sorted between them without raking it through the tabloids...


It's the rich boy way of dealing with not being able to win the fight fairly.


Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Lux is probably embarassed that he lost a fight in public and has had a few weeks to exact his revenge. He is now looking to flex his economic muscle and teach Sutil a lesson.

Even more embarassing was that it was not a beer glass but a champagne flute.


There's some comments made about not judging sutil until the facts are known. The same applies to Lux - for all you know, Lux might have been attacked without provocation.

And unless I missed the news bulletin, entering a bar is not equivalent to entering the arena in some underground cage-fighting establishment. It does not imply that one is consenting to violence. All humans have a right to conduct their social lives without being the victims of assault.

Those who violate that right deserve criminal prosecution - though apparently not in the eyes of certain commenters drowning in testosterone overload.


I tend to agree with you.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Couldn't agree more. When you are in a bar you are no longer in a boardroom.

Lux is going OTT about what is likely to be a drunken incident.

And that pathetic comment about "not ruling out commencing action against other people" seems nothing more than a thinly veiled threat to any others that are thinking of acting as witnesses for Sutil.


Thats it. Sutil will no longer be an F1 Driver if this goes any further. He has put the sport into disrepute and I cannot see why Lux would let him off the hook now. Get rid of one of your teams rivals drivers because he hurt you, would be the perfect reason to press charges. That he didn't do it earlier is a bit fishy. But there you go F1 in a nutshell. Feel sorry for Sutil. I think he really had a chance to do very well in F1. He is very well known here in Germany. I personally like wathing him race and hearing his analysis of the races.


How do you know that Lux did not throw something first at Sutil and his alleged thrown champagne flute was merely a retaliation, and a genuine accident that it broke as it bounce off the wall and stuck in Lux's alleged neck. Sutil allegedly claims he thought it was plastic.

But the main point here is the sudden change from it being a private matter, into a high profile drama. I am pretty sure that Lux did not think this up on his own, had he been of that mind, the simplest thing would have been to call the police to the restaurant at the time in China.

No, he has been persuaded to make the accusatory statement by someone else, either interested in damaging other teams, or an ambulance chasing lawyer who has his eyes on some juicy fees. (even now billing hours to Lux)


Let's not jump to any conclusions and wait until all the facts are out before forming any opinions.


Get 'The Hulk' in now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


These are charges filed by a financier that is outside the inner circle of the sport. A man that I would guess is unaccustomed to the verbal give and take and trash talk that drivers deal in. Any one can file a law suit. The proof of these charges will be decided by a court. But let's get a few more facts and see if it's worthy of a court hearing. After all, when these amounts of money are involved, nothing is beyond negotiation. Adrian Sutil does not come across as a violent person.


Some very shy people became violent when drunk

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Mr Lux (did you family invent the soap?), stop being such a baby about this. With this public statement you are coming across as a bit of a drama queen.

You could have dealt with this privately and over 3 weeks have passed since this incident.

The cut and thrust of the world of F1 seems a little bit too much for these types of finance nerds that come and buy their way into the sport.


Hmmm it will get very messy if they start to ask questions of Lewis and friends. Apparently Lewis Hamilton left very swiftly with his body guards after lux came running out of the VIP area.

This story has been on a few boards last week but think if would be better all round if left alone. (no problem here mr officer). Think sutils stock will decrease further, I had high hopes for him but feel be has some what drifted into mediocrity.


Didn't know Sutil was disliked. Has always come across as amiable kind of guy, seems quite a few people are using this incident to spout an agenda.

I'd be looking at the accounts of Genii quite quickly if I were Boullier. If Lux is this publicity hungry it could indicate another Munto Finance.


Having read the comments above, of all this innocent until proven guilty issue, I think there are issues that needs to be clarified here.

1. Not the entire world work with the same legal system. What applies to your own country does not apply to China. Say, United Kingdom works on a Common Law system; China practices Civil Law with a mix of Socialist Law.

2. Having said that, in Common Law system, the 'innocent until proven guilty' applies, but not in China. In China, the burden of proof lays in the defendant, not prosecution. Hence Sutil has to prove his innocence, rather than the prosecution (Eric Lux) has to prove Sutil's wrong.

Personally speaking, I am not saying Sutil is at wrong or right, neither am I saying the same for Eric Lux. I would love to see Sutil come out without charges. All I am saying is guys here need to be clear we are talking about a different country here with a different legal system, and different ways in working with regards to their legal procedures and stuff. So please stop this innocent until proven guilty thing.


Chinese law is irrelevant as no complaint has been filed in China. Lux has engaged a Swiss law firm to file the suit so any court case will almost certainly be held in Europe. Besides, even if a complaint was lodged in China, it would be almost impossible to get Sutil to appear in court there if he refused to return voluntarily.


Hate this news with no details! One thing is certain, something bad happened and the location made this more interesting. Havn't heard a thing in Chinese media, and I will definitely share with you guys if I saw something like " Tiger Woods animations" in Chinese media.


I must say it really annoys me the way some of you people commenting are talk about how Sutil's career is over, and how he will loose his super licence. In civil court he may have to pay Lux compensation for his contribution to the injury. But in criminal court, quite frankly I dont see anything being proven 'beyond all reasonable doubt.'


If the FIA thinks Adrian has breached Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, then the court verdict will not be relevant to the matter of whether he retains his superlicence. Given that he's apologised (indicating he had something to do with this unfortunate incident), Adrian isn't in a position to say it didn't happen, only (assuming there is no guilty verdict) that the nature of his involvement was misrepresented by Eric.

Correct interpretation or not, 151c doesn't care - as written, it proscribes any action that does damage to motor sport's reputation and that is the danger to the superlicence.

If Adrian can convince the FIA that no damage has been done to the sport's reputation, then even a jail sentence won't take his superlicence from him; merely make his having it temporarily pointless.

Gareth Foches

Evolution have yet to completely shed our agressive alpha-male DNA (it would certainly makes for an interesting society when it does), but meanwhile, we compete in sports.

In days past, when two men get into a fist fight for whatever reasons, the loser swallows his pride, reflects on his actions and generally gets ridiculed for his position in the argument, whether it is the correct one or not.

However, these days, the loser can rope in others (the police or lawyers) in hope of retribution or restoring what's left of his argument or honor. That is so wrong on so many levels I can't even begin to describe it (crying to mummy comes to mind), this is clearly something between two blokes and best left at that.

I apologize to any female readers.


Gareth your comments are all fair and well when it's a bit of banter followed by some fisty-cuffs, but when there's glass involved it's a different story.


Most developed countries don't have an extradition treaty with China, so there is little chance of Sutil being put on trial unless he willingly agrees to travel there.

The real danger is that he may end up like Roman Polanski, with an arrest warrant hanging over him. That would effectively end his career because he would be unable to compete in any future Chinese grands prix.


James, what do you think the FIA's stance on this will be - could they remove or suspend Sutil's superlicense if he is charged with an offence? I remember at the start of the year the FIA reminding drivers to watch their behaviour away from the track(this was specifically around road safety/speeding etc)


I don't think that one's in the formal regulations just yet, possibly because there would be legal problems in using it unless relevance to working in F1 could be demonstrated. Ironically that would be easier in this case than the road safety examples the FIA wanted to use it for - it is not necessary to use a public road in order to be a F1 driver but it is necessary to be non-violent towards other people.

Quick Nick Rules

Is it fanciful to believe that Lux was the one who decided Renault would keep Petrov instead of hiring Sutil? Last autumn Adrian was making a lot of noises about needing to move on and up the grid, at the same time it looked very unlikely Renault would play another season of Russian Roulette but then all of a sudden Renault weren't interested anymore, around the time Sutil was having his abysmal Korean GP where he forgot to drive an F1 car despite normally being superb in the wet. Under pressure from the start of this season and up against the best team-mate of his career, maybe Sutil realised his big chance went last year and it was all because of lux, so decided to take his revenge!

This is all highly unlikely but I really hope Sutil doesn't do a Gachot as he deserves a drive at a better outfit - although what is happening with Di Resta does have all the hallmarks of what happened at Sauber in 2001 - where Quick Nick was overlooked for the McLaren drive he had been waiting all his life for by his young hotshoe team-mate - his career has never really recovered from that.


Seems like Sutil is painted as the bad boy. There are two sides to every coin. Action usually has reaction when it's unavoidable. It could be some scuffling that happened, until the real picture is exposed we will never know.

Look what's happening to the IMF chief.



maybe the jerk deserved to get clocked...but not by a glass...anyway, sounds like the rich dude got his ego out of whack and shot his mouth off and a fit young testosterone fuelled driver thought, screw you!

All supposition, can hardly wait to see what the witnesses say...


great issues altogether, you just won a new reader.

What may you recommend about your submit that you just made a few days in

the past? Any certain?

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