Sutil considers future after conviction

Thursday, 2 February 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Former Force India Formula One driver Adrian Sutil considered his future on Tuesday after receiving an 18-month suspended sentence and 200,000 euro ($262,300) fine for causing grievous bodily harm in a Shanghai night club brawl last year.

“Maybe I will take some time out now,” the 29-year-old German, who has yet to find a race seat for this year, told reporters after the Munich court’s verdict ended a two-day trial.

“Maybe I will do something completely different, think about things in peace.

“At least I shook Mr (Eric) Lux’s hands. That’s a good thing,” added Sutil, an accomplished pianist whose parents are both professional musicians.

Judge Christiane Thiemann found Sutil guilty of injuring Lux, chief executive of Renault F1 team owners Genii Capital, after the Chinese Grand Prix last April.

Lux needed several stitches for a neck wound after Sutil injured him with a champagne glass.

The Renault team has since been renamed Lotus while Force India have already announced Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg as Sutil’s replacement.

Only one team, HRT, still has a clear vacancy for the season starting in Australia on March 18 but Sutil - who finished ninth overall in F1 last year - could still have a chance of landing a reserve role.

Sutil had told the court on the first day of proceedings on Monday that he had repeatedly apologised to Lux and denied it was his intention to hurt him but rather to throw a drink in his face.

The prosecution, however, had asked for a 21-month sentence and a 300,000 euro fine, saying that as a professional athlete Sutil should not have acted that way.

“Pushing someone away with a glass is adventurous and not in line with our experience of life,” prosecutor Nicole Selzam told the court.

“Professional athletes play a role model function in public life and such incidents should not occur.”

The fine will be paid to charities.

The court had also wanted to hear from McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who won the race in China and was in the night club at the time, but the 2008 world champion was excused due to team commitments.