McLaren's Lewis Hamilton
will give evidence at the trial of former Force India
driver Adrian Sutil
at the end of this month.
Sutil will appear in Munich's district court after being charged with assaulting Genii Capital's Eric Lux in a Shanghai nightclub last April.
The incident occurred in the wake of the Chinese Grand Prix
when Sutil and some friends, including Hamilton, were enjoying a night out in Shanghai to celebrate the Briton's race win, but reports on exactly what happened remain unclear.
Lux claims that he was injured by a champagne flute thrown by Sutil following a row over the Lotus Renault
GP investor's girlfriend, resulting in 24 stitches in a wound that came close to severing a major artery in his neck. While Lux's lawyers insist that the incident could have resulted in their client's death, other reports suggest that the injury was the result of an accident in which Sutil went to throw a drink over Lux only for the glass to break while doing so. Sutil has already issued a public apology for the incident, and maintains that he never meant to inflict any injury.
It is being reported that Hamilton is keen to co-operated, although with the trial set to take place on January 30 and 31, and McLaren
set to launch its new 2012 car on February 1 at Woking, it is not exactly ideally timed.
A spokesperson for the court, Ingrid Kaps told German newspaper Hamburger Morgenpost
: “The first day Lewis Hamilton
is called as a witness. This is a mandatory appearance.”
Meanwhile, Sutil's manager Manfred Zimmermann, has insisted that the German will be exonerated.
“We have a video where it can be seen clearly that this was not Adrian attacking or intentionally hurting someone,” Zimmermann told the UK Press Association
. “We expect an acquittal, or at worst a conviction for negligent injury. But that would not jeopardise his career.”
Sutil has yet to confirm his plans for F1 2012, although with only a vacancy at HRT left, his options, at least in terms of racing, are limited to say the least. A test or reserve role now looks more likely, unless he is found guilty, in which case he could face up to a year behind bars.
Sutil made his F1 debut back in 2007 with Spyker, before continuing with the Silverstone-based team – re-named Force India
from 2008 – for the following four years.
To date he has taken in 90 races and has scored 95 points - his best finish, a fourth in 2009 at the Italian GP.