Sutil 'unintentionally' injures Renault boss in nightclub
12 May 2011
Adrian Sutil has confirmed that he was involved in an altercation in a nightclub in the wake of last month's Chinese Grand Prix in which he 'completely unintentionally' injured Eric Lux – chief executive of current Lotus Renault GP majority owners Genii Capital and Gérard Lopez's right-hand man.
Sutil had accompanied his friend Lewis Hamilton to the M1NT club in Shanghai to help celebrate the McLaren-Mercedes star's maiden grand prix victory of the F1 2011 campaign. Sources have revealed that a row broke out in a private VIP room between the Force India ace and Lux, with French journalist Cédric Voisard reporting that it was initiated by the latter approaching Sutil to tell him to calm down.
What happened next is unclear, but it is claimed that the German struck Lux with either a glass or a champagne bottle, prompting the latter's immediate departure from the club with blood streaming from a neck wound, for which he subsequently required stitches. Hamilton was not involved in the fracas, and both he and Sutil similarly left shortly afterwards, the Briton ushered away by a bodyguard.
“I can confirm that there has been an incident on Sunday after the Chinese Grand Prix involving Eric Lux, from Genii Capital,” a Lotus Renault GP spokesman is quoted as having said by the Daily Mail. “Lotus Renault GP is however not in a position to make any comments, as it is a private matter between Eric and the other person.”
Although a FIF1 spokesperson similarly stressed that 'it is a private matter between the parties involved and we don't have any information on that, so we don't want to make any comment', Sutil has since corroborated the incident but insisted that the injury had occurred accidentally.
“At this event, which I visited as a private person, something happened which was a very unfortunate action on my part, in which I hurt another person completely unintentionally,” the 28-year-old told German newspaper Bild. “I regret the incident very much and have apologised accordingly. As it is a private matter with no connection to F1 or my job as an F1 driver, I hope you will understand that I will not answer any more questions on this.”
F1's governing body the FIA has told Italian website 422race.com that it is not investigating the matter and plans to take no further action, and will leave it in the hands of the relevant authorities.
Meanwhile, returning to the racing and reflecting upon a battling 13th-place finish in last weekend's Turkish Grand Prix, despite missing out on the points in Istanbul, Sutil admitted that 'it was a good race'.
“We tried a new front wing on Friday that we will hopefully introduce in Barcelona, and we got some important data,” he told Force India's website, “but we put the car back to normal for Saturday, because that was still a better solution for Istanbul. In the end, we knew that it was going to be another difficult one to score points in.
“Qualifying went well, and twelfth position was not too bad. Before the race, we knew we had to hope for a lucky race – maybe some retirements in front of us – and then we could score points. There were no problems or mistakes from the team or myself and we did the optimum strategy, but the pace was not there. That's why I actually lost one place and finished 13th after [Kamui] Kobayashi came all the way from the back.
“I think the strategy was the right one. Paul [di Resta – team-mate] was actually trying a four-stop before he retired, and he would have been behind me by ten-to-15 seconds out of the pits. Maybe he would have gained a little bit back in the end, but I'm pretty sure my strategy was the right one.
“[With the Pirelli tyres] there are always some lessons, some learning curves that you go into. Turkey was again something different, with people doing four stops. The soft tyre was the tyre to be on; the hard didn't really work for us. It was a bit slower on lap time and the drop-off was quite big, with a lot of understeer that made the car undriveable through Turn Eight. It all makes it very interesting, of course, and freshens up the races.
“I had a lot of fights, and that's why I enjoyed my day! With both Sauber drivers I had a lot of fights. I was also chasing Rubens [Barrichello], and I passed Michael [Schumacher] once. There were always some cars in front and behind, so you had to really attack and defend quite a lot. It was a good race – I really enjoyed it.”
Acknowledging that whilst he has retained his 100 per cent finishing record this season to-date, 'we need more points', Sutil went on to assess the Silverstone-based squad's prospects for the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, where the team will introduce some major updates in the guise of its evolved 2011 aerodynamic concept.
“It's a nice circuit,” he mused, “but I've driven there so many times, it gets a little bit boring! I'm quite confident, though. [The upgrade] looks promising. It will be a big step if it works, and that's what we need right now.”