Adrian Sutil, Force India, Istanbul, 2011

Eric Lux to pursue criminal action against Adrian Sutil

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Istanbul, 2011
Adrian Sutil, Force India, Istanbul, 2011

Eric Lux has confirmed he will pursue a criminal case against Adrian Sutil following an incident in a club in Shanghai.

Lux, the chief executive of Genii Capital which owns the Renault F1 team, issued the following statement through Swiss legal firm Lalive:

“In the view of the recent events which occurred in Shanghai on April 17th, Mr Eric Lux has decided to file a criminal complaint against Mr Adrian Sutil for physical assault and grievous bodily harm.

“As soon as the complaint is registered, the Federation 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.”

Sutil made a statement on Thursday apologising for the incident, in which Lux is reported to have suffered a cut to his neck.

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97 comments on “Eric Lux to pursue criminal action against Adrian Sutil”

  1. Chinese criminal court I guess?
    Will Sutil have to be summoned?

    1. I gather it will rather be a French (as that is where the FIA headquarters is) or Luxembourg (home to Mr. Lux) or even a German court (Sutils nationality).

      No country would extradite their citizen or indeed an inhabitant of a EU country to China for such charges.

      I guess this is the big scandal for this year then. Sadly enough.

      1. Or based on the fact the law firm is Swiss, it might even be in Switzerland (not sure where Sutil currently lives, althoug I guess its Monaco)

        1. Surely though it’s under Chinese jurisdiction? Especially since it’s a criminal charge?

          1. I’d agree, got to be in China and with the delay in reporting the fracas they’ll not be too keen on opening an investigation with all the impartial witnesses long gone!

            Going to the FIA won’t help as they only act on disrepute when something provable has occurred and as they readily accept they do not nor could they conduct criminal investigations. Lack of action in China will, in the absence of Sutil rolling over and suddenly admitting GBH, tie their hand and they’ll rightly do nothing.
            The whole incident sounds like handbags in the car park, Lux should have accepted the apology and let it go, instead he’s looking like a big girls blouse and will I suspect end up with egg all over his face.

          2. The whole incident sounds like handbags in the car park, Lux should have accepted the apology and let it go, instead he’s looking like a big girls blouse and will I suspect end up with egg all over his face.

            So they should just sweep this under the rug because… Sutil is an F1 driver? or because he has loads of money?

            If I was in China and someone glassed me in the throat I would hope that the perpetrator would be dealt with according to the letter of the law. And I’d be a ladies blouse for wanting justice against someone who thought it was okay to attach another human being in this manner?

            What kind of a horrible world do you live in?

          3. Cacarella is completely right.

          4. I agree with Cacarella, He should be punished of what he did. China is great court. No bias at all..

          5. What kind of a horrible world do you live in?

            I live in the real world.

            I suggest had the incident been as serious as you imply the correct response would be to pick up the phone and have the Chinese authorities deal with the matter. Waiting a month suggests Lux initially placed little importance on either the incident or injury.

            So what’s he bleating about now.

          6. I think Ice and Cacarella make good points.

            If the incident was as serious as it sounds from some quarters, and Lux feels it warrents criminal charges, then it most certainly merited talking to the Chinese police at the time and making a complaint there and then.

            If Sutil thinks anyone believes it’s possible to accidentally glass someone in the neck with a broken champagne flute, then he’s living in a little mental oasis of his own.

            Of course, I haven’t seen anyone suggesting yet that Bernie arranged for the whole thing to be suppressed by the Chinese police. I suppose that’s what it’s like living in a post-Max world, the maniac conspiracy theory isn’t the first thing that jumps to mind any more.

      2. i wonder if any one guessed thsi would be the big scandal this year in the pre season questions lol

        1. Well, I did think it would be something really non of us could even imagine at the time.

        2. What kind of a horrible world do you live in?

          I live in the real world.

          Way to go, Ice_Berg! That’s presence of mind. Strange how people don’t realize the plain facts of the real world.

      3. To be honest I prefer Ferrari’s faster than you piece…

      4. Well, Germany falls flat. In our law system, trials are held where the crime was commited.

      5. Gaston (@golarrazabal)
        17th May 2011, 0:37

        It seems to me that if this is not filed in China (which is the obvious choice) it would need to be filed in the country of Lux’s nationality, which I assume to be France.

        I initially thought it was bonkers to file a criminal complaint outside the country where the alleged crime was committed, but I googled it and found something called the “passive personality principle”. Apparently, this gives states the right to apply law to foreign nationals for crimes committed against its citizens outside its territory. Which would fall in the general idea that states have the right to “defend” their citizens.

        But then, I found this sentence: “The principle has not been generally accepted for ordinary torts or crimes, but it is increasingly accepted as applied to terrorist and other organized attacks on a state’s nationals by reason of their nationality, or to assassination of a state’s diplomatic representatives or other officials.”

        So, taking this into account and given that the Chinese police didn’t get involved (so I would not expect there to be any reliable forensic evidence), I don’t see how this could go anywhere. Likely towards an out-of-court settlement.

  2. What did the argument involve exactly?

    This could be quite serious for Sutil, GBH charges are nothing you take lightly.

    1. There have been lots of rumors flying around the internet, so its worth being wary of what you believe, but the theme emerged that sutil took a broken champagne flute to Lux’s neck, and as a result he had (depending upon what you believe) 16 or 24 (or none, nothing has been proved) stitches. Which is pretty serious…but I think it is worth remembering that nothing is particularly clear and at least one driver’s career (and more) is on the line so speculation is a little dangerous…

      1. The stories vary but certain aspects remain the same. The broken champagne flute is common in every version I’ve heard of and so is the fact he had 16 or 24 stitches. Sutil said the he injured Lux unintentionally and some of the rumours say it was self-defence.

        What I find interesting is the last sentence conforming the involvement of other in the incident.

        Also does it take this long to file charges? It’s been a month since the incident and that seems like a long-time to me.

        1. Interestingly both versions of that statement

          Sutil said the he injured Lux unintentionally and some of the rumours say it was self-defence

          wouldn’t allow Lux to legally slap Sutil.

          If it was self defence then if the story came to court Sutil would be the one sueing Lux as Lux started it and Sutil had to defend himself.

          If it was an accident then Lux could sue but it probably wont be succussful as it was an accident.

    2. Sutil claims it was an accident. Lux claims it was an assault. If Lux is right, what did he say or do to provoke such an alleged furious reaction? Stories are rife, some of which really could not be published.

  3. I think we might be seeing Hulkenberg race this year after all..

    1. Clearly a Hulkenberg conspiracy to land a seat before the year’s out:

      Nico: “Hey Adrian, just overheard Eric saying you run like a girl…you should go and ‘confront’ him”

      1. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey)
        16th May 2011, 22:11


    2. Well considering Sutil’s performances against Di Resta I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets replaced.

    3. Like Schumacher substituted for Gachot in 1991 IIRC?

  4. I just can’t imagine Sutil assaulting someone for no apparent reason. The whole story doesn’t make sense to me. Normally, when someone is out of control in a nightclub, the nightclub security takes that person out.
    I bet they exchanged some words then got to a fight. Who started? They were both drunk or only Sutil? What really happened?

    1. This is something that we won’t fully know, at least until the trial, and it will be behing closed doors, so i doubt we will ever get to know what exactly did happen.

      Hamilton can be called as a witness, though. That would be interesting.

      1. I take it that Lux implied that Hamilton could be accused of something as well, based on this statement:

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

        It sounds from the very vague accounts however as though Hamilton’s body guard was smart enough to get him out of there before he got involved. I hope for his sake that’s the case.

        1. It sounds from the very vague accounts however as though Hamilton’s body guard was smart enough to get him out of there before he got involved. I hope for his sake that’s the case.

          Yeah, Peter, I think that is the case. Theres not any new info available, only PR statements, but a guy from GP Week was there and have good first hand info:

          Then the crowd parted and, escorted by security, a man emerged with his neck and shirt covered in blood. He was holding the left-side of his neck, looking – as you might imagine – scared s#!7less. I didn’t recognize the man at first.

          Thirty seconds later Lewis Hamilton was hurriedly swept through the crowd by security, also. But, contrary to reports, he didn’t leave the club. I saw him in another area an hour later, all smiles.


        2. I doubt Hamilton was directly involved because that information would’ve been leaked and at least appeared in some of the rumours.

    2. This is my thought too. If someone told me to pick a person in the paddock that you thought might beat someone up or similar, the very last person on my mind would be Sutil. This whole story is just bizarre, though from what I hear Eric Lux is a massive c*ck.

      1. The lateness of the charges and the fact that FIA has distanced itself would seem to indicate that this was most likely a non-issue. Eric Lux seems very much like a team boss who is looking for a way of brewing up trouble for the young drivers either for PR’s sake (and get some media attention for his team) or just to put them in their place.

        As most have indicated, if it was more serious, the Chinese police would have been involved and so would the security at the club – without these two, it is going to be very much a case of “your word against mine” which by itself makes Eric’s intentions quite suspect.

  5. So does this confirm that it wasn’t an accident but a deliberate attack by Sutil?

    This is unprecedented as far as my memory goes, i don’t recall any other such misdemeanor by other F1 drivers in the past. I wonder how will it affect Sutil’s F1 carreer. F1 drivers theese days are role models that serve as a good example, this will haunt him surely.

    I remember Hamilton had to apologize time and time again for his speeding ticket he got in Australia. This seems to be far worse than that.

    1. This is unprecedented as far as my memory goes, i don’t recall any other such misdemeanor by other F1 drivers in the past.

      the only other one I can think of is Bertrand Gachot getting put in prision in ’91 for assaulting a taxi driver, which actually helped start Schumacher’s career. Other than that, can anyone else think of any others?

      1. Pretty sure Mansell choked Senna in a garage once following a GP.

        Also fairly certain that Senna did that same thing to Eddie Irvine, after an incident when Senna lapped him.

        These were on the race and handled internally, but I also cannot recall an incident besides Gachot either.

        1. Another internal event like that was Franz Tost allegedly assaulting Scott Speed in the team garage at the Nurburgring in ’07. It’s basically the only thing on the Wikipedia page on Tost.

          1. Cheers, I didn’t know of that. But Sutil’s case is worse in my eyes.

          2. They have mentioned on the bbc show that a driver once punched Eddie Jordan (I think). James Hunt has had a swing at most people. Mikka and Senna may also have come to blows once but i can’t be sure on any of these except we all know hunt liked a fight.

        2. Piquet punching Salasaar?

          1. Pink Peril
            17th May 2011, 5:44

            I was waiting for someone to bring up the Salazaar incident. I know I shouldn’t be saying this because it was quite serious, but that footage is hilarious. I could have fought better than him, and that’s saying something.

      2. Verstappen got rather close a couple of times, once for fracturing a man’s skull at a kart track (according to some accounts, after the man’s son overtook Verstappen on track!) and then more recently for threatening behaviour towards his now ex-wife.

  6. The next announcement we will probably hear is Sutil’s countersuit.

    1. I think sutil needs to counter sue, if just to save face…and btw is there any mention of any cctv footage?

  7. Well if Criminal charges are being brought it must have been a deliberate attack by Sutil in which case he would deserve to be prosecuted. Wonder what was said though.

    1. I still find it odd that a person can himself bring criminal charges. I would have thought a person can call in the police who then determine what happened, after which the government attorney (or whatever they are called in the location the crime was allegedly committed) will decide on prosecuting, or not. I can see a damage claim, but criminal charges should be up to a government, not private persons.

      1. To add to that, as I said before, I feel that I am biased against this Lux guy, but the more I hear him, the more I think he is full of it; taking a month before doing something and then also wanting to cast a net to get something from Hamilton, it sounds like someone has an agenda, or smells money to me.

  8. Here we have a really rich old guy,not letting body guards do their job…so Lux gets in young drunk guys face,an now wonders why he got cut up.

  9. Reading a little more seems to suggest Hamilton was not involved in the incident but did back Sutil’s version of events. A security camera tape exists apparently so if that doesn’t match the stories i guess Lewis could be in some trouble.

    I just wonder why it’s taken Lux so long to do this? Why say it’s all dealt with and then 2 weeks later start a Criminal Action?

    1. Hamilton won’t be in trouble unless he doesn’t tell the truth under oath. Talking about the incident to the press is not the same thing – I’m guessing you would do the same if one of your friends was in similar trouble. It’s a tough call though.

    2. verstappen
      17th May 2011, 9:04

      I think nobody, including Lux, wanted this to be in the hands of the Chinese authoroties.
      And then Lux came to Turkey and everybody asked him what is wrong with your neck? So he only then came to really realise how bad it all was, got angry and then a laywer called him et voila.

      1. Subaru_600BHP
        17th May 2011, 13:52

        We don’t know the details, just becuase it has taken a month for the public to know about the criminal charges! He could have reported it straight away to the Chinese authorities and have a crime number and cctv evidence, but by that time Sutil was already on a flight out of China.

  10. I remember reading somewhere (Joe Saward?) just after the China GP that Sutil had been called into a chat with some FI bigwigs. Everyone at the time presumed it was due to underperformance – was this the real reason?

    BTW if anyone could find the article I’m talking about I’d be most grateful!

      1. Some of the comments made below the follow up article to that are pretty explosive (about Joes thoughts on Renault GP ownership)

  11. Consulting with lawyers and stuff and them deciding if there is grounds for a criminal law case versus civil law only, I don’t think 2 weeks is a particularly long time.

    But I am curious if that means it will be served in China, because that might mean conviction in China and that might mean, depending on whether Sutil wants to serve his sentence and what that sentence is, that he might want to avoid entering China for a while. Which would be a bit of a problem for his driving career in F1..

    1. It’s been four weeks, which seems strangely poky to me.

      Agreed about jurisdiction, though — I don’t see how this can fall under anyone’s criminal jurisdiction but China’s (though please correct me if I’m wrong), and I don’t see how any European nation would have any interest in extraditing Sutil to China, though I’m not as up as I should be on relations between, say, Malaysia or Singapore with China (anyone?) At the very least, it will make travel sticky for Sutil.

      1. Gaston (@golarrazabal)
        17th May 2011, 0:43

        Technically, it is possible for the country of Lux’s nationality to pursue this, but apparently this principle is often applied only to ‘major’ crimes – terrorism, assassinations, and the like.

    2. Do any of you guys have any idea how the police work in china??

      Unless someone dies, they really don’t give a toss about a fight between two foreigners. About the most action they would take is to drive you to the nearest airport and kick you out the country. Seeing as both parties have already left they will file the report at the bottom of their filing cabinet and go back to watching their fake dvds and drinking their fake whisky.

  12. Here’s what i know to have happened, this is not fact but an hypothesis based on currently available sources and a few ‘friends’

    Sutil threw what he believed to be a Plastic champagne flute at Lux during the argument, Lux avoided it but as it was glass it hit the wall and shattered, a piece of it entering Lux’s neck. So although bad, not an assault.

    1. I would certainly hope that was how it all happened.

      It does sound more “normal” than Sutil actually breaking a glass and sticking it in Lux’ neck, but hard to be sure of what all happened there.

      1. More “normal” for Sutil’s character, a little strange though…

    2. O.o

      I think throwing a glass at someone, and then having it cut into their neck would probably still be classed a assault. I can’t see how it’s any better. The intention to do damage was there.

      1. Hardly. If he thought it was plastic, he would have thrown it knowing almost 100% that no harm would have been done.

        1. it doesn’t matter if sutil thought it would cause harm, it matters if lux felt an apprehension of immediate or imminent harm. If he did, then he can press charges for assault

  13. Very interesting, in a very bad way now. “File a criminal a complaint” can mean a lot of things depending on where he does it. If it’s just a criminal complaint, wherever it is, obviously its in the hands of the police and prosecutors to something, if anything.

    If Sutil is detained, conceivably any country could detain him based on the accusation, starting with where Lux and/or Sutil are citizens, and I suppose now any EU country. China might also want a look in, espeically since Sutil basically skipped town, but I can’t see that happeneing.

    What I’m afraid is going to happen, since this happened in China with obviously no physical evidence available or many eyewitnesses, given the severity of the injury, the relevant police/prosecutors will insist on interviewing Hamilton and his entourage, as well as other F1 people there. That is going to be a mess.

    Hamilton may be the key to Sutil’s fate, because otherwise this will be just a “he-said-she-said.” Hamilton could basically just say he didn’t see anything. But Lux seems out for blood, so he might try to accuse Hamilton of abetting Sutil somehow, which may force him to talk to rebut those allegations.

    If I were Sutil I would hang out for a spell in a country not keen to arrest a famous rich person, or to extradite him, e.g., Monaco, Switzerland. Hamilton for his part better stop talking about this incident with anyone, including Sutil. Especially Sutil. And get a proper lawyer (which I hear he can afford now.)

    But this whole story seems very odd to me. Sutil, in a crowded and very fancy bar, cuts a man so he needs 20 stitches. Then what—He calmly walks out the front door and catches a cab to the airport? Even if there was no security to intervene, how would anyone in the Renault group let Sutil just walk away? I also have a hard time believing that in China, in a fancy place lke that, it was not crawling with cops. Then there is Lux’s reaction. He had hours I’m guessing to have Sutil detained in China. Then after he leaves he waits weeks to file a complaint. Doesn’t add up.

  14. Goods news. No one should get away with gbh.

    1. Mark Hitchcock
      17th May 2011, 0:33

      Guilty until proven innocent is he?

      1. Innocent until proven guilty.

  15. Serious stuff indeed. It’s hard to know what to believe (if that’s not a contradiction in terms), so I’m just going to seen what happens. But surely Mallya can’t let him race if it goes to trial? Even if he’s innocent, it’ll surely affect his performance.

    1. But surely Mallya can’t let him race if it goes to trial?

      I doubt it will get to trial. There will likely be some kind of settlement before this even get anywhere near a courtroom.

      Right now, Adrian Sutil’s biggest problem will be the FIA giving him a race ban for bringing the sport into disrepute. The worst-case scenario will see him miss three or four Grands Prix.

      1. Sorry, did you just say Nico Hulkenburhg? ;)

  16. the perfect excuse for FI too kick him out of the team. Not the first time this happens in F1.

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

    So I suppose this means we can expect to see some of the following headlines:

    “Hamilton faces possible legal trouble after chinese night club brawl”

    “Hamilton allegedly concerned about potential legal row following an alleged assault that he allegedly witnessed”

    “Chinese night club assault victim doesnt say he wont pursue legal action against Lewis Hamilton”

    1. “Hamilton wary he might end up in court” – and one thinks he’s involved – subheading:
      “To assist to Sutil’s case as witness”.

    2. “Hamilton faces Hamilton Hamilton trouble after Hamilton Hamilton Hamilton brawl”

      That should just about do it.

      1. Oh I’m sure there’ll be some papers that run with a variation on:

        “Hamilton in attack on team boss”

        I mean since when have the press been bothered about the truth?

        1. ‘Hamilton in boozy brawl in a sleazy Shahai nightclub’
          With the subheading: ‘Goes to court…

          …as witness’

          1. Mark Hitchcock
            17th May 2011, 0:37

            Hammered Hamilton Summoned Over Sutil’s Shanghai Slashing

          2. Hammered Hamilton Summoned Over Sutil’s Shanghai Slashing

            That. Is. Brilliant. :-D

          3. Or: Hammered Hamilton Handed Subpoena and Sequestered Over Sutil’s Shanghai Slashing

    3. “Hamilton causes global warming”

      It’s true, in a way…

        1. “Hammered Hamilton Summoned Over Sutil’s Shanghai Slashing” – The Sun

  18. What if Sutil had whatever, in hand when the fight started, and only just held up his hands defensively.
    Lawyers out to get money, can sue the nightclub or any other high profile client, even if they were trying to intervene.
    If someone attacks you, you call the police. You don’t first go on a vacation then call your lawyer later.
    How can we tell if perhaps, Mr. lux was drunk and was just swinging wildly at anyone.
    So now while sober, he wants to sue Hamilton for inviting Sutil to the party.

    There is still a lot we don’t know. But my feeling is, Lux wants someone to be responsible for his injuries. In a chinese court he may get $20 max. Why not muddle everything up, including the facts, then have the case in europe.

  19. Well every year no matter what F1 needs to go to the court.

  20. My guess – Lux must have made an unpleasant comment to have stirred Sutil’s temperament for the slashing.

    What’s new with high ranking people shooting their mouths off just because they’re on the top level. As for Lux, bad luck that he got slashed but I’m sure he knows why.

    Don’t mess with racing drivers, they’re very gutsy people. One thing for sure, they have balls and temper.

    And would really like to know what was said to Sutil triggering this incident.

  21. Grant Gordon
    17th May 2011, 8:03

    If the allegations turn out to be true, then I will have lost a lot of respect for Sutil and expect the FIA to take appropriate actions against him.

    What really scares me is some of the comments here, what kind of people think it’s justified to harm another human being, particularly in a way as serious as stabbing them in the neck with broken glass, because they said something you don’t like? (This is not to speculate on what may have happened during the incident, but rather a comment on some of the other posts excusing the alleged behaviour.)

  22. In my {legal} experience it’s likely that something like this would have happened…

    Had the police been heavily involved that evening in China then Sutil would have been very unlikely allowed out of China. So you can half assume the police were uninvolved or told to go away with it being a private matter. There’s also probably a heavy amount of intoxication on both sides.

    Then in the following weeks the two men attempt to sort out their differences behind closed doors – Lux effectively says he will file civil action unless Sutil apologises and makes some form of financial settlement. Sutil and his manager don’t want it to happen this way as it makes Sutil appear entirely guilty of a GBH crime so they attempt to negotiate.

    Negotiations fall quiet, Lux’s lawyer suggests that he threatens to lobby for a criminal case. Lux ignorantly decides to tell the media about all this, making it even more messy.

    With this {probably} only having happened once before with Gachot, the profile of F1 drivers being so high, Sutil’s Median contracts and the fact that he’s always seemed relaxed and good natured – it’s highly unlikely to have been intentional GBH. It just seems a very messy turn of events.

    As someone else has already mentioned – I can’t see this going to trial. Both men have a lot to lose.

    1. Ah, there you go – as mentioned by @f1enigma – ‘Sutils management tells that they tried to contact Lux without any luck.’

  23. These rumours get more over the top every day. If Sutil had deliberately ‘thrust’ (which implies considerable force) an already broken glass into someone’s throat as some are claiming it wouldn’t have taken this long to get this far. As someone who has been accidentally glassed in the face, I know how easy it is for it to happen. More likely they were talking in close proximity in a crowded room, he had a glass in his hand, contact was made, possibly as a result of general pushing around from friends or security. Champagne flutes are fragile, no real force is needed for them to break and 20 stitches would be about right.

    It’s all supposition, so why don’t we suppose an alternative to the ever intensifying, Sutil-is-a-killer school of thought? For example, if someone tries to pull you away from a verbal argument and you shake them off, it’s quite natural to be looking to the side and as you pull your shoulder forward, for what’s in your hand to make contact with someone who’s up in your face shouting. The sort of thing that happens every week in fact, with no intention to cause harm at all.

    A total guess, but no more so than some of the ‘rumours’ (i.e. mendacious Schadenfreude) doing the rounds.

  24. I heard Hulkenberg was filing criminal proceedings against Lux for waiting almost a month before helping him get Sutil’s race seat.

    1. Now that is mean!

    2. Subaru_600BHP
      17th May 2011, 13:59

      lol, thats a good one

    3. I heard Hulkenberg was filing criminal proceedings against Lux for waiting almost a month before helping him get Sutil’s race seat.


  25. Nico who?

  26. Chris Goldsmith
    18th May 2011, 14:15

    I heard it was all a misunderstanding. Lux had said “For our competitors, I’ll raise a glass: Force India!” but Sutil misheard it as “Nothing’s better than having a glass… forced into ya!”

    Sutil was just trying to help him out.


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