Lewis Hamilton has told a court in Germany that he won't be available to give evidence on the day he was due to appear in the case of friend Adrian Sutil.
Sutil is set to appear in court in Munich accused of causing grievous bodily harm after an incident involving Renault's Eric Lux in Shanghai earlier in the year.
Hamilton was set to be called to appear on the first day of the trial – 30 January – with the McLaren driver reported to be ready to co-operate if asked to give evidence.
However, the BBC
reports that Hamilton - who has yet to be summoned – as informed the court through his lawyers that he would be unable to attend on the date currently set aside.
With McLaren set to launch its 2012 car on 1 February, Hamilton has commitments in place with his team in preparation for the unveiling of its new machine.
The court will now decide if the hearing will go ahead as planned or if it will be adjourned to a different date.
Sutil, who was driving for Force India at the time of the incident, is without a drive for 2012 after being replaced by Nico Hulkenberg.