I know that I’m the last person to mention this, but I didn’t want to make any quick statements. The facts have slowly been trickling out, and there are more rumours still bubbling around. But… Adrian Sutil could very well be in trouble.
After the Chinese Grand Prix, just before the three week break before the Turkish Grand Prix, some F1 drivers were taking advantage of that fact by hanging out in a nightclub to celebrate Hamilton’s victory. You can drink a lot more when you’ve got three weeks to burn off the calories. So Sutil and a bunch of other F1-related people including Hamilton and Eric Lux, CEO of Genii Capital (owners of Renault), were there. And things got out of hand.
Somehow, Sutil managed to end up severely injuring Lux, reportedly with glass. He had several stitches on his neck. Incredibly, this incident didn’t get out into the open until after the Turkish GP. Sutil says it was an accident, but today it appears that Lux is going to press criminal charges on Sutil. There are reports here (F1 Fanatic) and here (The F1 Times). It sounds like Sutil wasn’t the only person involved in the incident.
It seems a strange situation for the likeable Force India driver. People do crazy things when they’re drunk, but you’d expect an F1 driver to be more careful. As it stands, it is rumoured that he could have his FIA Super License suspended. This is well within the provision of the FIA Sporting Regulations. He could also face a fine and/or jail. Nico Hulkenberg might well have to step up for the team – a role he is more than capable of fulfilling.
Whatever happens, Sutil’s image is not going to be the same. Of all the drivers who you’d expect to be involved in this kind of situation, he’d be down the bottom of the list. Not that you would expect an F1 driver to do this. This saga hopefully won’t last too long. We can probably expect Sutil to be driving in Spain.
As a last piece of trivia, according to Grand Prix Diary, the last F1 driver to be convicted for Gross Bodily Harn was Bertrand Gachot, who drove for Jordan. They’re now Force India. Gachot’s incident in 1991 involved spraying CS Gas on a London taxi driver. He was jailed, and this gave Schumacher his debut. He didn’t get his driving seat back with Jordan, failing to qualify with Larrousse for the final race of the season. He stayed with Larrousse for 1992, but his F1 career was basically over. After one CART race in 1993, he tried to work with Pacific GP. Most of the time he failed to qualify, and only managed two finishes in 1995.
I don’t want to cast a damper on the situation. Adrian is already an experienced driver, and has proven ability. We don’t know what the results of this court case will be. And as a generally likeable person, hopefully we’ll see him stay on track.