Just weeks after JJ Lehto was jailed for his part in a powerboat tragedy that resulted in the death of a friend, the Benetton 'class of '94' has taken another hit amid claims that Jos Verstappen has been charged with attempted murder following an altercation with an ex-girlfriend.
Lehto and Verstappen both spent time in the second B194 as team-mate to Michael Schumacher as the German headed towards his first F1 world title, but have drifted away from the F1 scene recently. Lehto was sentenced to 28 months in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter following the boating accident last summer [see full story here
], while Verstappen, like the Finn heralded as a potential F1 champion following a rapid rise through the ranks, was arrested late last weekend charged with assault.
The Dutchman has a history of such accusations, having been found guilty of assault on his ex-wife in 2008 and of GBH following a fight with rival kart circuit customers in 2000. He did not serve a jail term in either case, but may do following the latest incident, in which De Standaard
reports claim that he struck a 24-year old ex-girlfriend with his car, leaving her with 'heavy bruises and abrasions', before fleeing the scene.
Verstappen, now 39 and looking after the karting career of his son, later handed himself in to police in the south-eastern city of Roermond, but is accused of previous attacks on the same woman.
Verstappen contested 106 grands prix between 1994 and 2003, driving for Benetton, Simtek, Footwork, Tyrrell, Stewart, Arrows and Minardi. He has denied the accusations of attempted murder.