Posts Tagged ‘adrian sutil’

F1 driver Adrian Sutil has been convicted on charges of grievous bodily harm arising from an incident in a night club in Shanghai in April 2011.

Former Force India F1 driver Adrian Sutil has been found guilty on charges of grievous bodily harm against Eric Lux, the CEO of Lotus F1 team owners Genii Capital, arising from an incident in a Shanghai nightclub on April 17, 2011.

Sutil has received an 18-month suspended sentence at the end of a two-day trial in Munuch, and also been ordered to pay 200,000 euros (US$262,200) in fines that will be paid to charities of the court’s choosing.

Sutil and Lux were guests at a party to celebrate Lewis Hamilton’s victory at the 2011 Chinese Grand Prix when the incident occurred. Lux needed two dozen stitches after receiving neck injuries from a champagne glass in Sutil’s hand.

“I’m terribly sorry. I never wanted what happened there to happen,” Sutil told the German court on the first day of the trial, insisting that the injury had been totally “unintentional and accidental.” He added, “I regret the incident very much. It’s a lesson for me.”

CCTV footage from the club had initially appeared to support Sutil’s claims that he was reacting instinctively to push away the other man who had apparently lunged towards him during a heated exchange, and that he only intended to throw the drink at Lux and not to cause any physical harm. However, Sutil’s actions were still deemed sufficiently dangerous and irresponsible enough by the court to result in conviction.

“Pushing someone away with a glass is adventurous and not in line with our experience of life,” argued the prosecutor in the case.

“The defendant knew that he had this glass in his hand,” agreed the judge in her final ruling. “The glass was moving in an intended direction.”

Sutil has previously issued a formal written apology for the incident, but Lux insisted that he had never received the face-to-face apology that he had demanded, which is why he had continued to press on with the legal charges. “A phone call is not enough,” said Lux.

Sutil responded by saying that he had “tried everything” to settle the case out of court, including the offer of a charitable donation and “tens of millions”, but had been rebuffed by Lux.

It’s unclear whether the verdict and the sentence will have an effect on Sutil’s F1 superlicense that enables him to drive an F1 car.

Sutil lost his race seat at Force India to Nico Hulkenberg at the end of the 2011 season and is yet to find a new role in the sport. A Ferrari test driver job has been speculated, but the uncertainty of the trial and now the verdict will not have helped him in his endeavours to get back to active duty.

Sutil’s friend and fellow F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, although he had been present in the club at the time the incident took place, did not give testimony after being excused due to McLaren team commitments.

A dramatic and eventful Korean Grand Prix more than delivered on high expectations of this brand new circuit – and made a dramatic and possibly decisive intervention in the the 2010 championship battle.

After all the doubts over whether the Yeongam track would be finished in time – and after Herculean efforts by the organisers to ensure that it was ready against the odds – it was especially ironic that the race itself should be delayed after all, albeit only by 10 minutes, because of the weather. Persistent and at times heavy rain overnight and all morning had left the place sodden, echoes of the atrocious weather than had plagued construction work earlier in the year. The race was eventually started behind the safety car, red-flagged when the rain continued and conditions didn’t improve, and then restarted again behind the safety car nearly an hour later. The clock was ticking – how much of the race could they get through before the light started to fail?

Pictures courtesy CrashNet/CrashPA

It would be wrong to absolve the circuit of all responsibility for the struggles at the start, however. While the immediate cause for the delays was the rain, it was no worse than we’ve seen at many venues where the race has proceeded normally. Here, however, the water simply refused to clear off the track – the drainage wasn’t proving effective, and the bitumen-rich composition of the new track was also stopping the water soaking in. Add to that the fact that the tarmac – laid only two weeks ago – was still weeping oily chemicals and the combination with the rain was leaving the track treacherous for all concerned.

The cars ran behind the safety car for a total of seventeen laps. All the time the rain was easing off and the full wet tyres were shifting water off the race surface, as demonstrated by the safety car going visibly faster and faster. However, there were still remonstrations from some of the drivers with most to lose – Sebastian Vettel, Mark Weber and Fernando Alonso chief among them – claiming it was too dangerous to start the race proper. Lewis Hamilton was almost a lone voice in saying there was no problem, conditions were fine, why couldn’t they get underway?

And finally on lap 18 they did: ironically it was Vettel (who hadn’t wanted to start) who leapt away at the front thanks to the clear visibility resulting from not having anyone ahead of him, while Hamilton (keen to get going) immediately fell victim to Nico Rosburg who put in a lovely move down the inside of turn 3 to claim fourth place. Further back, Michael Schumacher – who had been putting all those peerless old skills to good use behind the safety car, really exploring the Mercedes’ limits under yellow – was past Robert Kubica before turn 1. Other cars slithered off the track into that first corner but everyone got through the first lap unscathed and it looked a good call to get racing underway.

But the luck didn’t last long, and next time out there was a crash. And a big one when it comes to impact on the championship: Mark Webber drifted wide out of turn 12, over the kerb on the outside, and lost grip. The Red Bull was thrown into a one-eighty spin across the width of the track to hit the wall, which was enough to wreck the car on its own. No longer controllable, the car then rolled backwards across the racing line – Fernando Alonso was already through, but Nico Rosburg was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and was left with no where to go even after taking to the grass. The impact wrecked the right hand side of the Red Bull, and terminated the Mercedes’ involvement in the race. A safety car was immediately called for and the track went yellow once more for another four laps; a handful of backmarkers came in for a switch to intermediates, but most of the field felt it was still too wet.

At the restart, there was early contact between Jarno Trulli and Bruno Senna that left Trulli’s front wing on the track at turn 6, and Trulli himself into the pits; Lucas di Grassi slid out and into a heft impact with the tyre wall a couple of laps later; and Michael Schumacher continued to perform strongly, taking on the struggling McLaren of Jenson Button – who simply could no find no grip today – to wrest away fifth position. Button’s response from this was to pit for intermediates, but they would turn out to be no improvement in terms of grip and it also left him behind a long train of backmarkers.

Button’s only hope was that he would pick up positions when the rest of the field came into pit, but it turned out that this hope was also in vain because just three laps later the safety car was out again after Sebastien Buemi misjudged a move on Timo Glock and smashed into the side of the Virgin Racing car (earning Buemi a five place grid penalty for Brazil for causing the accident): now everyone had the chance to pit under yellow and Button’s race was well and truly screwed.

Most of the cars came in straight away and it initially appeared that the two leaders – Vettel and Alonso – had lost out. But they were able to make another circulation without picking up the safety car, pit and still come out ahead of the field. Or at least, Vettel did; Alonso would have done if not for a problem with a front wheel nut that caused him to rejoin the race just behind Lewis Hamilton, effectively a position lost; but fortune smiled on the Spaniard and at the restart Hamilton slid off into turn 1 and handed the position back to Alonso straight away.

The top five – Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton, Felipe Massa (having a quiet but effective race) and Schumacher – seemed set barring any further incidents or crashes, allowing attention to turn back down the field to some of the other battles going on. Where Japan had turned into The Kamui Kobayashi Show, so Korea was quickly becoming the Adrian Sutil Special as he tangled with car after car, some with more success than others. On lap 36 he tried a move up the inside of Jenson Button, drifted wide in the process and ended up forcing the McLaren off the road entirely, costing Button yet more positions and putting him down to 15th place. He would never recover into a points position, which meant that – along with Webber – two of the five title contenders had ended up with total disasters this weekend.

Sutil went on to make swift work of Jamie Alguersuari, then was past Nick Heidfeld on lap 38 and then Kobayashi the next time around, only to then outbrake himself at turn four and hand the position straight back to the Japanese, and another mistake a lap later than promptly let Alguersuari back past as well. Sutil then set about recovering his positions and was back past Alguersuari and Heidfeld before finally badly misjudging a braking on Kobayashi into turn 1 on lap 48, the car getting unstable and putting him into the side of the Sauber. There was major damage to the Force India and Sutil retired on the spot, but amazingly the Sauber stood up well and Kobayashi was able to continue through to a very creditable eighth place by the chequered flag. Sutil was handed a five-place penalty for Brazil for causing the accident, and also got a $10,000 fine “in view of the driver’s admission that he was aware of brake problems with his car throughout the race” which went some way to explaining his dramatic and erratic performance.

By this point – with all the safety cars and the red flag period – it was half past five local time, and sunset was imminent. The rain had stopped, and while there were patches of water on the track it was now very much into manageable intermediate territory; but the big problems were the rapidly fading light and the fact the intermediates were now getting very worn and losing the tread that gave them their grip. A lot of cars were struggling out there.

Pictures courtesy CrashNet/CrashPA

Whether it was the tyres or some standing water, Vitaly Petrov lost grip in the direction change through the kink between turns 17 and 18, spun and went off-track and across the pit lane entrance to make a heavy impact into the tyre wall, completely wrecking the Renault. He climbed out and the stewards were able to avoid calling a safety car out, which this late in proceedings would almost certainly lead to calls for an early finish because of low light and unsafe conditions.

Vettel for one was claiming that he couldn’t see into turn 1, and wanted the race to be called; in a replay of their respective positions at the start of the race, Hamilton continued to be more gung-ho and dismissed suggestions there were any problems at all. The TV cameras made it all look perfectly reasonable, but anytime a light source strayed into the picture – like those of the lit pit lane buildings – the dazzlingly bright lights demonstrated just how much the cameras were amplifying the twilight conditions. But the stewards were determined to do everything they could possibly do to allow the inaugural F1 Grand Prix to run its full allotted distance.

Then, out of nowhere, there was the sound of an engine in distress as the three leaders came down the start-finish straight. Who was it? How bad was it? It was quickly evident that it was the race leader, Sebastian Vettel who was slowing down. He was passed by Alonso into turn 1 and by Hamilton seconds later; and as for “how bad”, the answer was soon visibly “as bad as it gets” – smoke spewed out and so did large chunks of engine parts as the cylinders and internal workings seized and ripped each other apart, annihilating the engine and leaving a trail of sparks and metal down the long straight after turn 2. Vettel was composed enough to coast the car to a gap in the wall to leave the track clear, and then he was out and immediately in search of a fire extinguisher as the destruction led to the car catching fire. Like Heikki Kovalainen in Singapore, Vettel was temporarily the world’s most highly-paid fire marshall.

Pictures courtesy CrashNet/CrashPA

That was it: Fernando Alonso was in the lead and looking as though he was managing his tyres better than anyone else, meaning he was able to pull out a big gap over a struggling Lewis Hamilton who was nonetheless safe from Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher. They nursed their cars home and crossed the finish line just before six o’clock local time with the light now fading fast: by the time the podium ceremony took place just ten minutes later it was pitch black, the podium spotlights and the flashes from the press photographers competed with the high-beam huge smile on Alonso’s face as he celebrated not only the race win but taking over the world championship lead from poor Mark Webber.

The Korean Grand Prix may have taken an inordinately long time to get going today, but once it did it was hugely worth the wait and enthralling from eventual start to twilight finish, and with a profound impact on the championship as well as being highly entertaining on track as well.

Perhaps the best and most accurate comment on the afternoon’s proceedings came from the radio communications between Ferrari and their race winner. The team bosses put in nice, diplomatic, politically-correct, carefully-worded (possibly even scripted) messages of congratulations to their number one driver. And then the radio switched to Alonso, and all that could be heard was a long stream of manic, hysterical laughter. It summed up the jubilation, the relief, the release from tension, and the sheer absurdity and unpredictability of Formula 1’s first visit to Yeongam.

Let’s hope that all future visits here come close to this standard. But maybe, without the hour and a half delay next time, ‘kthxbye.

Pictures courtesy CrashNet/CrashPA

Race results

Pos  Driver      Team                 Time
 1.  Alonso      Ferrari              2:48:20.810
 2.  Hamilton    McLaren-Mercedes     +    14.999
 3.  Massa       Ferrari              +    30.868
 4.  Schumacher  Mercedes             +    39.688
 5.  Kubica      Renault              +    47.734
 6.  Liuzzi      Force India-Mercedes +    53.571
 7.  Barrichello Williams-Cosworth    +  1:09.257
 8.  Kobayashi   Sauber-Ferrari       +  1:17.889
 9.  Heidfeld    Sauber-Ferrari       +  1:20.107
10.  Hulkenberg  Williams-Cosworth    +  1:20.851
11.  Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari   +  1:24.146
12.  Button      McLaren-Mercedes     +  1:29.939
13.  Kovalainen  Lotus-Cosworth       +     1 lap
14.  Senna       HRT-Cosworth         +    2 laps
15.  Yamamoto    HRT-Cosworth         +    2 laps

Fastest lap: Alonso, 1:50.257

Not classified/retirements:

Driver    Team                 On lap
Sutil     Force India-Mercedes 46
Vettel    Red Bull-Renault     45
Petrov    Renault              39
Glock     Virgin-Cosworth      31
Buemi     Toro Rosso-Ferrari   30
Di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth      25
Trulli    Lotus-Cosworth       25
Webber    Red Bull-Renault     18
Rosberg   Mercedes             18

F1 Championship standings after round 17

Drivers:               Constructors:             
 1. Alonso      231    1. Red Bull-Renault     426
 2. Webber      220    2. McLaren-Mercedes     399
 3. Hamilton    210    3. Ferrari              374
 4. Vettel      206    4. Mercedes             188
 5. Button      189    5. Renault              143
 6. Massa       143    6. Force India-Mercedes  68
 7. Kubica      124    7. Williams-Cosworth     65
 8. Rosberg     122    8. Sauber-Ferrari        43
 9. Schumacher   66    9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari    11
10. Barrichello  47   
11. Sutil        47   
12. Kobayashi    31   
13. Liuzzi       21   
14. Petrov       19   
15. Hulkenberg   18   
16. Buemi         8   
17. De la Rosa    6   
18. Heidfeld      6   
19. Alguersuari   3   




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