Sutil To Appeal Conviction With Future Remaining Uncertain

Wet-weather warrior Adrian Sutil yesterday signalled his intention to appeal the conviction handed down to him for GBH last week. He has been given an 18-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of over £150k. It is the first time an active F1 driver has been found guilty of a crime since 1991.

The act which he committed the offence was in April 2011, at a post-race party. Sutil was in a Shanghai nightclub to celebrate his friend Lewis Hamilton’s race victory at the Chinese GP, which finished earlier in the day. Whilst there, there was an incident with a champagne glass between Sutil and Eric Lux, executive of investment group Genii Capital, and co-owner of the Lotus-Renault team.  What transpired has never been explained by both parties, but what is known is that Lux required stitches to his neck.

Sutil’s manager has come out and told of the intention to appeal

“We are convinced that the judgement handed down is not appropriate. There are many things that went against us,” Sutil’s manager Manfred Zimmerman.

The prosecution however, are also appealing as they feel the sentence given was too lenient.

Two men who have been friends for some time

In the aftermath of the trial, he has been especially strong towards his friend Hamilton. The Englishman was requested to appear as a witness in defence of Adrian, but was unable to attend due to commitments with his McLaren team. In a strongly-worded quote which has met no denials, Sutil being dismissive of the man:

“Lewis is a coward. I do not want to be friends with someone like that. He is for me no man. Even his father sent me a text message and wished me luck for the process. Lewis came with nothing. He has changed his phone number. I could not reach him any more.”

When Hamilton was asked to comment at the following day’s launch of his new McLaren car, a McLaren spokesman intervened:

“We’ve been told Lewis shouldn’t really go there because it might go under appeal, so can we move on to the next question”

Lux not smiling over the court case

The investor from Luxembourg was very unhappy with the racing driver’s attempts to make things better as he pledged to make donations to charity in a bid to stop the trial from continuing. It was seen as a hollow effort and did not leave either man looking good. Lux, while wounded, could have heavily impacted the German’s career, whilst Sutil never took the chance to meet Lux in-person, which could have solved everything. Sponsors sometimes carry a heavy say in who does and who doesn’t get recruited to the team, and anyone with a criminal past is unlikely to be looked upon favourably. Whilst some may look at him purely for his racing qualities, it is undeniable that a conviction is never good news.

Senna got the Williams drive

Sutil was believed to be in the running for the second Williams seat which was eventually given to Bruno Senna. His contract with his previous team, Force India, was not renewed and the failure to land the Williams seat has left him with no F1 drive for the 2012 season. Since 2007, he has been a solid performer. Particularly efficient in the wet, he topped a wet practice session at Monaco in 2007 in the lowly Spyker car and was looking good for a career-best finish of 4th place at the 2008 Monaco GP only for Kimi Raikonnen to have an incident which ended the German’s race. While not having the ability of a future world champion, it is a shame that a decent, committed, young driver may have his career cut short when golden-aged men such as Pedro De La Rosa get race drives for teams at the wrong end of the grid.

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