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Sutil to stand trial for wounding Lotus Renault boss in nightclub brawl
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Jan 2012   |  10:40 am GMT  |  94 comments

Public prosecutors in Munich, Germany announced on Thursday that former Force India driver Adrian Sutil has been indicted on charges of grevious bodily harm and will face trial at the end of this month on. The trial is slated for the 30th and 31st January.

The German driver was in a nightclub in Shanghai in April celebrating his friend Lewis Hamilton’s victory in the Chinese Grand Prix, when an incident occurred with a champagne glass which led to Eric Lux, the co-owner of the Lotus Renault GP team receiving a serious wound to the neck.

Lux went to hospital immediately and was angry that Sutil and his friends left the club without offering assistance or apologising. Sutil did apologise later.

Eric Lux

According to Anno Hecker, a colleague writing for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the charge if proven could carry up to a year in prison.

The case will revolve around CCTV footage from the club and depositions from both sides and from witnesses, which could include Hamilton.

Sutil’s manager Manfred Zimmerman has said that the incident was not as it appears and that having had a drink spilled over him, Sutil was intending to do the same to Lux when the glass accidentally made contact with Lux’s neck.

“We are convinced that the court will come to the conclusion that there was no intentional attack,” Zimmerman said. “We feel good. So the truth will come out.”

Sutil was one of the drivers in contention for the vacant seat at Williams this season along with Rubens Barrichello and Bruno Senna. BBC is reporting that Williams insiders say Sutil is no longer on their radar.

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Ever googled Sutil? What’s the first search google suggests? So whatcha think Eric Lux said that upset Sutl so much? I think that’s what happened… Sad story but F1 career over. Maybe a chance in the land of 2nd chances, the US.


Sure Sutil is German, but the crime was committed in China so shouldn’t the Chinese be the ones prosecuting Sutil ?


24 stitches will not bode well for Sutil. Just hope he will come out of this and not receive any jail sentence.

Stroke of bad luck IMHO. All the best to you Adrain.


This may be the reason S.Force India decided not to keep him?


James do you not think that Williams are harming their chances in taking so long to name their other driver? While it must be nice for them to be centre of attention again surely they are harming the driver’s chance to gel with his pit crew and shape the car’s handling to his own style.


Not really. As long as he has enough pre-season test mileage should be fine.


I just want to point out that probably Williams know which driver they want by now. Decision making does not take that long usually, so it looks like Williams are waiting for something. Assuming that the outcome of sutil’s trial will be quick, it matches perfectly that Williams wait for the outcome of this trial and that their preffered choice of a driver is Sutil


I’ve always been a little surprised why many here seem to rate Sutil as much as they seem to.

He’s shown a few flashes of speed over the years but has been in F1 since 2007 & not really shown improvement in that time.

People still go back to that drive at Monaco in 2008 yet fail to look at the point that he was never going to finish 4th or in the points as the stewards were going to give him a post race penalty for passing cars to move to 4th under a yellow flag.


I think Adrian’s done a decent enough job but I too don’t really understand why he’s as highly rated as he is. DiResta’s arrival seemed to put a rocket up Sutil’s behind; being beaten by a rookie spurred him to a level he hadn’t reached until then. Why didn’t he perform like that before?


The problem with the defence that he was trying to spill a drink on Lux is that an accidental coming together with his neck and glass would not result in a wound so severe that he needed 24 stitches to put him back together.

24 stitches is a large wound. Not something that I could imagine as being accidental (unless you lost your balance and fell into the other person with the glass between you and their neck).

For comparison, about 10 years ago myself and girlfriend were attacked by yobs in a car throwing spanners (at 1AM in the morning). The spanner that hit my girlfriend’s foot and bounced up and into her leg, cut a gash in her leg (through her jeans). We found the spanner. 8″ or more. Large. Heavy.

She ended up in hospital, plastic surgeon called out to give his opinion. Did she need 24 stitches? No, a lot less. And she had a hole in her leg (and still has a visible depression in that leg to this day).

Doesn’t sound right to me. Not that I have all the facts, just what you reported.


Could it be that they were tiny stitches done by a posh plastic surgeon so as to minimise the risk of scarring, so that Lux didn’t end up with a big scar like your unfortunate girlfriend did?


I have to agree, 24 stitches would make for a very long and deep cut. In that area of the body also would have left something quite noticeable.

I have no idea if Lux is stated as having 24 stitches but if he’s lying and using that as a point to charge Sutil then that ‘truth’ will come out.


So if the Germans are prosecuting can Lux go on the stand & say it was a mistake & settle out of court


I have no idea how strong the case would need to be before it would even get to court in Germany but I hope the outcome will be clear, unequivocal and not fudged or leaving doubt.

Sutil will need a very strong ‘not guilty’ verdict in order to have any realistic chance of resuming his career at F1 level. Think back to how Enge’s or the young Scheckter’s non-violent errors of judgement totally destroyed their F1 aspirations. They were, of course, both ‘guilty’ but mud sticks … well, mostly!


In 2012 Sutil will be busy on the wheels — inside a courtroom.


Sad that this will probably end his career, great potential that will never be properly realised.


is he standing trial, has been charged and being prosecuted, or is his case being assessed for trial?

i’m seeing conflicting reports elsewhere.


He’s standing trial at the end of this month. According to the BBC the prosecutors are pushing for a suspended prison sentence, which would obviously be better for Sutil in terms of being able to race but still bad in terms of being a criminal conviction…


For one, if he is convicted, some countries may not even let him to race as there are countries that are very strict on visitors with criminal records.

Japan is definitely one example. They didn’t let Paris Hilton in on a marketing campaign for instance as she had been convicted on a drug-related offense in the US before.

If you visit here, in Singapore, you have a checkbox on the immigration form whether or not you have ever been convicted on criminal charges as well. It might be quite difficult to get to the race in Singapore as well. And I wouldn’t be surprised some other countries would be difficult too.


How come German courts have jurisdiction in China?


The complaint was brought in Germany, as I understand it because you can do that if an alleged offence involving a German citizen happens abroad. I’m looking into that.


But doesn’t Sutil live in Switzerland? He’d need to be extradited to Germany unless he chose to go there of his own free will.

He could renounce his German citizenship 😉


That’s excactly right.

The answer lies in section 7 Subsection II Nr. 1.) of the german penal code.

You can find a translation of the applicable code here:


can you find the court documents online somewhere (since you seem to know whee to look, and perhaps sprechen zie deutsch)?

Hamilton's Funny Pants

How you can almost deadly wound someone with a severe cut accidentaly while merely pointing with a bottle of champagne is a mystery.

Those things don’t break easily, thick glass (see after the podium celeberations drivers dropping it to the mechanics below, who sometimes drop it on the ground and it’s still not broken).


Champagne glass, different matter


James, Can you provide a little insight into Adrian Sutil as a person? In his interactions with the Indian public during his forays to India as a Force India driver he seemed a very urbane, nice guy.

How is he regarded in the paddock? Is this kind of behavior consistent with his persona? If he is found “not guilty” would he be accepted back?


What a shame. James, do you suppose Williams will await the outcome or make their driver decision sooner?


Sounds like Bruno Senna is very close to it now.


Shame – should’ve been Ruby


“I think MarkF1 is referring to Senna’s decision to drive for the team (car) in which his uncle Aryton died.”

So he should turn down a race seat just because of something which happened back in 1994?

Thats just silly, OK Ayrton died in a Williams but I don’t see why that should affect Bruno’s career.


A disgraceful decision by Bruno and his Mother.


I think MarkF1 is referring to Senna’s decision to drive for the team (car) in which his uncle Aryton died.


Why what have they done?


Good on him! Thanks for the info James. Is there any chance of Sutil being in F1 as a reserve driver next year?


I just hope whichever way it is (guilty or innocent) that the truth does come out and everyone can move on. If Sutil did intentionally strike Lux with a broken glass, then he must bear the consequences. But if it were just an unfortunate accident, then I hope this resolves quickly enough that Sutil has some chance of rescuing 2012… Perhaps not in F1, but maybe in some other motorsport + reserve driver role?


Surely the case will be thrown out? German prosecutors need to get the CCTV footage, the police reports, witness statments (keep in mind some of these might require translation) and above all the incident took place on Chinese soil… I can’t see anything coming of it.


Paul, the issues you state are probably the reason it has taken this long to get to trial.


The thing is, it could drag on for a long time in court (all next season maybe) and no sponsor will touch Sutil while this is going on. He’s a pariah now.


Bad news from Sutil but good for Rubens!


You mean good for Senna …!!


James, the timing seems odd that Eric Lux would wait until this point to prosecute. Was he waiting for confirmation that Sutil is no longer in F1 before proceeding? – or some other reason?


I’m not sure Lux would have had anything to do with it – it’s the Germans who decide whether/when to prosecute.


I would think this simplifies things for Williams.

I also guess that this has probably been rumbling along in the background all year, and that Force India must have had some awareness and that it would have been a contextual factor in not signing him. Don’t get me wrong, I think FI made the right decision on driving terms, but it won’t have helped Sutil.

Re the quote: “…when the glass accidentally made contact with Lux’s neck”…hmmmm. Anyone else reminded of the Blackadder episode where someone was said to have “…accidentally, brutally stabbed himself while shaving…”


Or committed suicide by shooting himself in the back – three times?


Hi James,

It would seem that F1 drivers are becoming acquainted with the idea of going to prison of late, JJ Lehto for a speedboat crash which claimed the life of his friend, Sutil possibly, and apparently Jos “The Boss” Verstappen is in trouble.

Regardless of what happens to Sutil, the timing could not be worse after his solid conclusion to the 2011 season, the news of the trial is surely the only explanation for his non-signing at Williams.

It beckons as a long road back to Formula One for Adrian from here doesn’t it?


Whatever caused this, the Demon Drink or fate, Lux is a [mod] for timing this so to crush Sutil’s career.


Hold on, let him be tried first.

He may be guilty of nothing more than a moment’s clumsiness. I’m sure that if he’d intentionally and maliciously wounded Lux he’d have brought to justice long ago.


Yes. Will be very difficult


in the charge filed by Lux, is Hamilton seen as an accomplice in the assault?


nope, but a witness


Impossible for Williams to sign him knowing he could end up going to prison at the end of the month even if that outcome is unlikely. Shame. Hope he doesn’t turn doesn’t turn out to be another Bertrand Gachot!

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