A Munich court has found Adrian Sutil guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to Lotus F1 executive Eric Lux during an April nightclub brawl in Shanghai. He has been hit with an 18-month sentence, although he will serve no time behind bars as the term has been suspended. He has also been fined €200,000 (£165,000).
The German was alleged to have stabbed Lux in the neck with a broken champagne flute following an altercation at a party celebrating his friend Lewis Hamilton’s win at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Lux suffered serious injuries, including a three-inch gash to his neck, and required two-dozen stitches to patch together his wounds.
During the hearing, both Sutil and Lux took to the witness box to air their version of events, with Sutil acknowledging that the incident took place, but pleading that it was entirely accidental.
Video surveillance footage of the incident admitted into evidence showed Sutil seated on a couch next to Hamilton – who declined to appear as a witness but issued a written statement that claimed he had no recollection of the scuffle – before Lux approached.
Sutil responded with a gesture – a “nudge” according to the driver – towards Lux’s neck. A doctor testified that the injuries indicated Sutil’s movement was made with “medium power”.
Another witness at the hearing was former Virgin Racing driver (and new Lotus F1 reserve driver) Jérôme d’Ambrosio, who testified that he heard a glass break, but that he also did not directly witness the attack.
It is not yet known if Sutil will appeal the verdict, although the outcome of the case will undoubtedly have done significant damage to his future F1 prospects, which were already in limbo after he was dropped from Force India’s 2012 line-up, despite finishing an outstanding ninth overall in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
In light of the verdict, the FIA may deem it appropriate to withdraw his FIA Superlicense, which he requires in order to have any driving participation in Formula 1.
[Images via Auto123 and Formula1Blog]