Adrian Sutil, Force India, Interlagos, 2011

Suspended jail sentence for Sutil

2012 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Interlagos, 2011
Sutil was found guilty of grievous bodily harm

Adrian Sutil has been handed an 18-month suspended jail sentence by a court in Germany.

Sutil received the sentence along with a ?óÔÇÜ?Ľ200,000 fine after being found guilty of inflicting bodily harm on Eric Lux in a nightclub in Shanghai last year.

The former Force India driver told the court he had apologised and claimed he had only meant to spill his drink on Lux when he wounded him with a champagne glass during the fracas. Lux is the CEO of Lotus owners Genii Capital.

Sutil is without a drive for 2012 having lost his seat at Force India to Nico Hulkenberg last year.

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140 comments on “Suspended jail sentence for Sutil”

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  1. Yes, “he hasn’t got a drive” because MONEY talks loder than talent in F1. Look @ what is happening at Williams. A team with tradition who did’n cared about talent. The bigger the bag the best chances. 2 drivers perfectly suitable for HRT. Need another prove ?

    1. Sutil always carried Medion’s millions to FI…
      Talent? Yes. Top? No, too erratic/inconsistent. Paydriver? Yes, always been.

      1. Yes, but he succesfully managed to overtake his “pay driver” status. The quintesential pay driver is Bruno Senna. No offence.

        1. Neither of them are a quintessential pay driver.

  2. Sutils lawyers should have used the line that lux guy used in the media in last few days, that all he wanted was a face to face apology. the court should have just made him apologise face to face, as thats all lux ‘claims’ he wanted, which is bull anyway, he wanted sutil penalised as heavily as his lawyers could work the system. the situation sounds like the guy got a smack on the gob which he deserved for provoking sutil, and suffered no injuries, then he used high paid lawyers to get revenge on Sutil. is that being synical?

  3. themagicofspeed (@)
    31st January 2012, 15:42

    Well, given what ive read about Eric Lux wanting to destroy Sutils career etc and avoiding him, and all the other rubbish directed at Sutil about wanting him to leave F1, if thats true then Eric Lux got what he deserved, smarmy, arrogant man. HE is the sort of person I dont want to see in F1, not Sutil. He’s overblown it beyond all proportion and milked the situation to damage Sutil’s career, which has nothing to do with something that happened outside of his job as an F1 driver. Personally if whats been said is true, i dont criticise Sutil one bit.

    1. Wow, that is quite something you write there @themagicofspeed! Now, Eric Lux might not be the nicest person in the world, but certainly you cannot be serious about saying its perfectly fine if he ends up having his neck stitched because of a large gut he got from some kind of fight with Sutil?

      I can understand one lets things go out of control, especially with alcohol involved in it. But that’s quite a big step away from condoning what Sutil did, even if it was never meant to hurt Lux as it did.

      1. themagicofspeed (@)
        31st January 2012, 17:41

        @BasCB Sutil shouldnt have done what he did but Lux’s reaction to it was cowardly, unsporting and vindictive and rather than being a man about it and meeting with Sutil to allow him to apologise and settle discreetly out of court, he went hell bent on destroying Sutil’s F1 career because of an incident that happened outside of his role as an F1 driver, and for that reason i cannot respect him.

        1. Said that way it makes a lot of sense @themagicofspeed

  4. ive got no sympathy for anyone who tries to get rich on the back of a fight and then when he fails takes the guy to court. Utterly reprehensible by a man with no shame. I feel sorry for Sutil. Anyone can make a mistake in the heat of a moment. It takes a special type of lowlife to coldly try and use that position to his advantage.

    1. themagicofspeed (@)
      31st January 2012, 17:36

      @antonyob – amen to that. thats exactly what i was thinking too. Lux isnt as sweet and innocent in all this as people think.

  5. This is so sad. Not that Sutil was given this sentence, but the fact he committed the crime.

  6. I’m surprised by some of the responses here. There may well be more to the story than meets the eye and, as I said in my earlier comment, there’s a lot we don’t know for sure about what went on in that nightclub in Shanghai.

    Taking it at face value (excuse the pun) if someone hit me in the face with a glass I wouldn’t consider a fine sufficient – particularly if they were a well-paid motor racing driver.

    And I certainly would not want to have to meet them again in person for an apology. I’d expect them to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    I’m not trying to portray Sutil as a thug and Lux as a saint. Perhaps Sutil was provoked and Lux is conniving. But some comments here appear to be judging both in blindingly stark black-and-white terms, which tends to make me suspicious.

    1. Kieth,

      Have you seen Adam Cooper’s ( article regarding what he saw on the CCTV footage from the nightclub? Curious as to your opinion if you haven’t yet seen it.


    2. “particularly if they were a well-paid motor racing driver”

      Keith – what on earth has that got to do with anything? It’s completely irrelevant to whether or not he should be facing criminal charges.

      I’ve read quite a bit about the case, and it seems that Sutil was indeed threatened, and rather stupidly went to throw his drink in Lux’s face. He ended up glassing him.

      Now, there’s nothing in Sutil’s past to suggest a propensity for violence, and he’s a man that deals with incredible pressure when in a cockpit and doesn’t make rash judgements. In fact, that’s part and parcel of being an F1 driver.
      So the idea that he deliberately glassed Lux, whilst sat in a public bar having a drink with one of his best friends just doesn’t make sense.

      It was obviously an accident which could have had very serious consequences. If it was deliberate – fair enough, he should get the book thrown at him. It clearly wasn’t. That doesn’t excuse being punished but you have to take into account the circumstances.

      Personally, I think he’s been hard done by.

  7. I agree with Keith. When Sutil picked up that glass, thats ‘intent’. He may have been drunk and lost his temper, he may not have wanted to hurt Lux, but the intent was there. I could shoot someone in the leg and argue that I never meant to kill them! The answer to that would be though, then why use a gun? Sutil used a weapon, and there was the potential there for serious harm to Eric Lux. As others have said, Lux could have been killed if the glass had cut an artery. Prisons all over the world are full of people who didn’t ‘intend’ to kill others, but did anyway. When you cross that line, there is no way back.

  8. But Sutil can’t have just walked up to Lux, and whacked him with a bottle for fun.
    I’m not taking sides but Lux does sound like a slippery character.
    The courts do recognize physical and mental abuse

  9. themagicofspeed (@)
    31st January 2012, 21:17

    I’d be interested to know what Lux was saying to Sutil to provoke such a reaction – even when drunk, you don’t lash out so dramatically unless somebody directly and seriously insults you. He must have said something quite bad, I assume – as others have said, there was an intent – however i think its important to ‘split’ that intent as such –

    Did Sutil intend to do something to Lux with the glass, wether pouring drink on him or indeed attacking him with it? Yes.
    Did Sutil intend to hurt, or even kill Lux? I don’t think so. I dont know either of them, or what was said, but its questionable that regardless of what was said, that you would deliberately go out to seriously injure or kill somebody in front of a packed nightclub full of witnesses.

    All of this aside though, Lux’s reaction to it makes him the lesser men of the two. Sutil tried to apologize, and instead of accepting his genuine apology and perhaps some form of compensation and leaving it at that, he really tried his hardest to ensure maximum damage to Sutil as a sportsman, which for me is underhand and unsportsmanlike and i don’t want people like that in charge of F1 teams. If the two had met, Sutil had compensated him for the injury and damages, and the two sort it out between them like the professionals they are expected to be, this would be a different story. In the global press this is hardly the sort of press our sport needs.

  10. To anyone’s knowledge, has anything like this happened before in F1? Is there a precedence for whether or not Sutil will lose his license (I mean, besides the Shumacher example)? Maybe someone like Gilles Villeneuve smacked some people around or something? Haha!

    1. Hmm… Alan Jones injured his hand after a fight on Chiswick High Road in 1981, don’t know if any legal proceedings came out of that.

      However it was late in the year and he didn’t race in 1982 anyway (as will most likely be the case with Sutil this year) so it probably wouldn’t have mattered. Jones raced again in 1983 and again in 1985 and 1986.

    2. James Hunt hit a marshal in a race in 1970 (I think it was Formula 3, but I may be wrong). He continued his career but not before the marshal attempted to sue. This was well before the FIA introducing the concept of “disrepute to the sport”.

      As for the original entry, I feel sorry for both parties, but for different reasons.

      It can’t be nice to be involved in a fight like that in the first place, especially since it’s pretty clear neither Eric nor Adrian had intended on being involved in one prior to its occurrence. Getting as serious an injury as Eric obtained is considerably worse. I can understand completely why the court had to hand out a substantial penalty to Adrian, even if they completely believed him (which itself has not been fully confirmed yet). Yes, there’s an issue of “intent”, but there’s also an issue of “disproportionate consequences”. I don’t know what to believe of the other things that have been written about Eric’s response to the incident but I can see why he would have been extremely upset about the whole thing. Nearly getting killed by someone, no matter the circumstances, is a tough thing to forgive.

      As for Adrian… …I still believe it was basically an accident with near-tragic consequences. Remember he was initially charged with grievous bodily harm but only got convicted of bodily harm (one severity level below). It’s not too big a stretch to say it’s derailed his 2012 F1 chances (the judge implied as much in the summation) and it’s possible it could affect him a lot longer than it ultimately affected Eric. Yes, Adrian did something wrong and inevitably had to face the consequences for it, but he seems to have done his best to make amends. That shows character.

      1. Remember he was initially charged with grievous bodily harm but only got convicted of bodily harm

        That is just due to size limit of the article. He is convicted of the German equivalent of grievous bodily harm (“Gefährliche Körperverletzung”). since the only important part in the distinction between the two in the German justice system is whether a (in this case improvised) weapon or not.

    3. Thanks for the responses guys. I think it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, and I’m glad for your input. Cheers!

  11. I’m going to get on my high-horse…

    I find it pretty appalling that so many of you joke about such a serious incident and defend a person – who has now been found guilty – just because he’s a ‘nice’ F1 driver. Sutil could have killed the guy. He may say it was an accident and he tried to throw a drink at him … but that excuse isn’t really credible when you’ve driven a champagne glass into someone’s neck.

    If the courts found Sutil guilty, then you can be sure there was more to this than we know. And for sure the courts inspected the CCTV closely. The fact that Lux tried to grab him first – if correct – is pretty irrelevant. Or are you going to cry Provocation?

    Plus: Hamilton finding an excuse not to testify for his good friend speaks reams. He obviously wasn’t prepared to lie.

    It sickens me when stars get special treatment. And it looks like Sutil has got special treatment because any normal Tom, Dick or Harry wouldn’t have had their sentence suspended.

    Okay, I’ve got down again.

    1. I was wrong about Lewis not testifying…

      According to Germany’s BILD magazine (my translation – original article* in German):

      “The McLaren driver testified only in writing, not as a witness in Munich.

      Sutil, sour, told BILD: ‘Lewis is a coward, I don’t want to be friends with someone like that. He is not a man. Even his father wrote me an SMS and wished me luck with the process. But from Lewis came nothing. He has changed his mobile phone number. I could no longer reach him.'”


    2. From the Telegraph*:

      “Hamilton said in a written statement to the court that he could not remember the details clearly.”


    3. Okay, last entry, from*:

      “The report revealed previously unheard details of the incident, including Sutil telling Lux in the Shanghai nightclub: “Don’t you know I’m a formula one driver?”

      Lux said he replied: “Don’t you know I’m a formula one team owner?”

      Video surveillance footage of the incident showed Sutil seated on a couch next to Lewis Hamilton, who declined to appear as a witness, before Lux approached.

      Sutil responded with a gesture – a “nudge” according to the driver – towards Lux’s neck. A doctor testified that the injuries necessitated a movement with “medium power”.

      2008 world champion Hamilton said in a written statement to the court that he could not remember the details of the scuffle.

      Former Virgin driver and new Lotus reserve driver Jerome d’Ambrosio, however, did appear, testifying that he heard a glass break.”


  12. Thank God it wasn’t Hamilton that did it! The world was have imploded.

  13. Personally I think he is hard done,yes he has done something he shouldn’t have but on the other hand I guess this will hamper his F1 life for sometime.

  14. Lewis Hamilton is really the most disgusting person I’ve ever seen. Always thought the media had created an image of a selfish man who only thinks of himself, but with him not appearing in court to testify really shows what a coward he is. He really is a small child, whenever trouble’s coming wether in F1 or in private he hides and tries to be invincible. What a very very poor character he is. I wonder why they have been friends in the first place or why anyone would be friends with someone that selfish

    1. I would normally be constructive but what a load of garbage this post is.

  15. If all the things that have been said about Lux are true, I like Lotus even less than I did before. I thought there treatment of Heidfeld last year was deplorable and yes, while you can’t go around stabbing people in the neck, it does sound like it wasn’t intentional and wouldn’t have happened if Lux wasn’t forcing himself onto Adrian and provoking him.
    I only wish Raikkonen was with a different team as he is one of my favourite drivers.
    They had better treat him well!

  16. My wife always said Hamilton had all the charactaristics of a rat, and I think Adrian Sutil feels that way too. However, its Adrian Sutil who got himself in this mess. He can try a deflect his anger and blame Hamilton for the outcome of the trial, but if anyone looks ‘childish’ in all of this its Adrian Sutil.
    What is Lewis Hamilton supposed to do? Put his own career at risk by defending a fellow driver who’s career has been forever tarnished! I think Lewis has enough enemies in the paddock without creating more of them, so I can’t see how not defending Sutil is a bad thing. None of us were there that night in Shanghai, none of us saw Sutil attack Eric Lux. Hamilton was there, and knows more about what went on that we do.
    I was in a fight once and had people who I thought were my friends turn on me, and I took the can. Thats life, you have to accept it and move on. A real ‘man’ excepts responsibility for his actions, and that includes glassing people in Chinese nightclubs.
    The sad thing here is that this is supposed to be a professional sportsman here, behaving like a high street chav on a saturday night. Its embarrassing, embarrassing for the sport and embarrassing for all concerned.

  17. Why does’nt Sutil keep his mouth shut about Hamilton. If he really wants to pick someone, why in the hell does’nt he have a go at Mark Webber, then perhaps he will get some satisfaction, even if it is being sat on his ass.

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