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F1 driver Sutil to face criminal charges over China fracas?
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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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1

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?

2

Hey,

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…

3

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.

4
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.

5

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)

6

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.

7

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.

8
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.

9

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.

10

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.’

11

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.

12

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.

13

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.

14

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.

15

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.

16

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.

17
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.

18

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.

19

Some very shy people became violent when drunk

20

Get ‘The Hulk’ in now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

21

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

22

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.

23

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)

24

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…

25

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

[mod]

26
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.

27

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.

28

I tend to agree with you.

29
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.

30
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.

31

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 🙂

32

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

33

CS gas? Surely you mean CS spray?

34

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.

35

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…

36

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.

37
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.

38

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

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