No FIA consequences for convicted Sutil

Adrian Sutil’s manager on Tuesday said the German driver is free to return to F1.

29-year-old Sutil had emerged from a Munich court with a criminal conviction for grievous bodily harm, an 18-month suspended jail term and EUR 200,000 fine. The former Force India driver also has no job at present.

“I can not say whether anyone in the sport wants to work with me,” he was quoted on Tuesday by the SID news agency.

Sutil’s manager Manfred Zimmermann, however, said the path is clear for his client to resume his career.

“This (conviction) does not mean Adrian has no future in formula one. There will be no consequences with the FIA and his driving ability has never suffered.”

His conviction is for attacking Lotus team executive Eric Lux in a Shanghai nightclub last April.

“The only positive thing is that I am now at peace with Mr Lux. At least it’s over,” Sutil said after Tuesday’s hearing. “Maybe I’ll take a break, maybe I’ll do something completely different.”

The judge Christiane Thiemann said Sutil is lucky not to be heading to jail.

“Penalties exceeding one year are normally not suspended,” said the judge, explaining that Sutil’s current situation and his clean criminal record were taken into consideration.

Thiemann added that the punishment is “sufficient” and would probably have “serious professional consequences” for the F1 driver.

Source:GMM

Suspended sentence, fine, for guilty Sutil

A Munich court on Tuesday found Adrian Sutil guilty of grievous bodily harm, wire news services reported.

The former Force India was on trial for attacking Lotus team executive Eric Lux in a Shanghai nightclub last April.

The court imposed an 18-month suspended jail sentence and ordered the 29-year-old to pay EUR 200,000 to charity, the BBC, Associated Press and Reuters said.

It is not clear what effect the conviction will have on the status of the German driver’s mandatory F1 superlicense.

Source:GMM

Abu Dhabi link could power Alguersuari to Mercedes

After his Toro Rosso ousting, Jaime Alguersuari could emerge with the Mercedes team in 2012.

The Spanish sports daily AS reports that Ipic, Abu Dhabi’s international petroleum investment company, is unhappy with Red Bull for ousting the young Spaniard from its driver programme. IPIC owns the Spanish oil company Cepsa, which last year became a major Toro Rosso sponsor.

Alguersuari, according to the report, “had become the image of the company in its international expansion plans”. Through its investment vehicle Aabar, Abu Dhabi is also involved in F1 as a significant shareholder and sponsor of the works Mercedes team. AS said the Abu Dhabi link could see Alguersuari, 21, line up as the official reserve driver for Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg this year.

The report added that an Abu Dhabi-backed Alguersuari could be important to Mercedes, amid rumours the team’s title sponsor Petronas might leave the sport.

Petronas, the Malaysian oil company, recently stopped sponsoring the Yamaha team in MotoGP.

Source:GMM

McLaren plays down link with Pollock’s Pure

McLaren has played down reports its cars could be powered by engines produced by Craig Pollock’s new venture Pure in 2014. Former BAR founder Pollock is targeting at least two customers for his new turbo V6 engine, and Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport said there has been contact between Pure and McLaren.

With Mercedes now running its own works team and no longer even a minor McLaren shareholder, the Woking based team faces the prospect of paying for its power beyond this season. Gazzetta said the change in engine rules would be the ideal time for McLaren to switch.

“McLaren has had absolutely no contact with Pure for many months,” a McLaren spokesman told Reuters. “Moreover, the contact we did have with Pure, many months ago, was of an entirely informal nature, and was merely a courtesy gesture.”

In late November, reports linked McLaren with rumours Honda is looking to return to F1 in 2014 as an engine supplier.

“We are very happy with and enjoying our partnership with Mercedes-Benz,” team managing director Jonathan Neale insisted at the time.

Source:GMM

Indycar boss urges Barrichello to switch

Indycar’s boss has admitted he would “love” longest-serving F1 veteran Rubens Barrichello to switch codes for 2012.

Having lost his race seat after a record-setting 19 consecutive seasons, the 39-year-old Brazilian is this week testing the 2012 Indycar in Florida, with his close friend and KV team driver Tony Kanaan also in action. Barrichello has previously ruled out racing on dangerous American ovals, citing a promise to his wife Silvana, but now he is not ruling out the switch.

“By the time he gets out of the car he’ll have a pretty good idea what he wants to do,” countryman Kanaan said. “Right now, we don’t have anyone signed for the other two cars. You can tell by his face he’s having a lot of fun.”

Indycar chief executive Randy Bernard is hopeful Barrichello will make the decision to race in 2012.

“He’s a champion, a driver who would be a tremendous addition to a series,” he is quoted by the Associated Press. “Indycar would love to have him.”

Bernard is quoted by racintoday.com: “If there is a transition, I want him to know that we’re here to help him.”

Source:GMM

Bianchi says Ferrari ‘worked hard’ for career

Jules Bianchi has thanked Ferrari for helping him make the next step in his F1 career. On the face of it, the Frenchman’s switch from Ferrari to the same reserve role at Force India is a backwards move. But the new deal involves driving on the Fridays of grand prix weekends, while in the same role last year Nico Hulkenberg successfully found his way onto the race grid for 2012.

Some reports have suggested Ferrari wanted to clear the reserve role so that it is free for Robert Kubica to step in this year with a view to replacing Felipe Massa in 2012.

While Kubica’s Ferrari link could be true, the famous Italian team is undoubtedly still pushing on 22-year-old Bianchi’s career. Indeed, he has been training in the Canary islands in the past days with Ferrari’s Massa and Fernando Alonso.

And “Jules will still be part of the Ferrari driver academy” in 2012, the team confirmed.

Even Bianchi reinforced the fact the Ferrari connection is still very much alive.

“I’m very happy. I want to say thank you to Ferrari who have been working hard for me,” he told the French-language RMC Sport. “It was very important to find a team and the aim now is to find the way to keep going.”

Source:GMM

Reports hint at June Ferrari test for Kubica

Robert Kubica’s comeback could be at the wheel of a turbocharged 2010 Ferrari, according to reports in the Italian media.

It emerged this week that, despite the recent setback of a re-broken leg after an icy fall, the Pole could be only months away from attempting some laps in a F1 simulator. As for his track return, it is rumoured Ferrari sees Kubica as a potential test driver, with a view to ultimately becoming Fernando Alonso’s teammate.

The new Italian reports say a private test at Fiorano in June or July at the wheel of a two-year old Ferrari equipped with the marque’s 2014-specification turbo V6 prototype has been set as a tentative target. The same reports suggest some sort of agreement may have been signed.

The unknown factor is the final phase of Kubica’s recovery, with the 27-year-old believed to be still unable to fully rotate his right arm that was almost severed in his rally crash last February.

Source:GMM

Sutil wanted Lotus seat in Lux case settlement

Adrian Sutil offered to drive for Lotus this year with a discounted retainer, it emerged on Monday.

In Munich, the ousted Force India driver’s two-day assault trial, surrounding injuries sustained by Lotus team executive Eric Lux last April, began. T-Online reports that the German driver and his management proposed “various solutions” for an out-of-court settlement, including payments to Lux’s African charity.

Another proposal was a race seat at Lotus featuring a “reduced salary”, according to the report. Lux recently dismissed as “a joke” earlier speculation Sutil – charged with causing a nine centimetre cut on Lux’s neck with a broken champagne glass – might drive for Lotus in 2012.

The hearing concludes on Tuesday but SID news agency reports the possibility of an eleventh-hour settlement.

The report said Sutil and Lux’s lawyers had private talks at the conclusion of Monday’s proceedings.

A last-minute settlement would have to be approved by the prosecutor, Nicole Selzam, according to Auto Motor und Sport. The report revealed previously unheard details of the incident, including Sutil telling Lux in the Shanghai nightclub: “Don’t you know I’m a Formula One driver?”

Lux said he replied: “Don’t you know I’m a Formula One team owner?”

Video surveillance footage of the incident showed Sutil seated on a couch next to Lewis Hamilton, who declined to appear as a witness, before Lux approached. Sutil responded with a gesture – a “nudge” according to the driver – towards Lux’s neck. A doctor testified that the injuries necessitated a movement with “medium power”.

2008 world champion Hamilton said in a written statement to the court that he could not remember the details of the scuffle.

Former Virgin driver and new Lotus reserve driver Jerome d’Ambrosio, however, did appear, testifying that he heard a glass break.

According to Sutil, it also emerged that Lux demanded a “double digit million sum” in compensation and a voluntary multiple-race grand prix ban in the midst of last season. Sutil’s lawyer put it to Lux that it would have been an opportunity for one of his team’s Genii-managed drivers to drive for Force India.

“I never thought about that for a second,” Lux hit back.

Source:GMM

Sutil: I did everything I could to settle case

Adrian Sutil on Monday said he is “extremely sorry” for hurting Lotus executive Eric Lux last year. The former Force India driver’s two-day assault hearing, relating to an incident in a Shanghai nightclub after which Lux needed 24 stitches in his neck, began in a Munich court.

“I’m sorry, extremely sorry, I didn’t want it to happen,” Sutil told the court, according to SID news agency.

The 28-year-old German said he tried several times to apologise, but Lux did not take his calls. Lux testified that he wanted a face-to-face apology.

“I expected him to come to Luxembourg and apologise to me. A call is not enough,” he said.

Sutil, whose F1 career could depend on the outcome of the hearing, was wearing a dark suit and salmon-coloured tie.

Judge Christiane Thiemann read out a mail from Sutil to Lux dated last May, in which the driver offered to support Lux’s African charity project. Sutil said Lux’s counter-offers for an out-of-court settlement were “comical”, for a “very, very high amount” of money and involving voluntarily sitting out several races.

“He wanted to destroy me, to make sure I’m in jail for years,” said Sutil. “I did everything to try to settle this.”

Source:GMM

Force India can be like Red Bull – Mallya

Force India’s new investor Subrata Roy wants the Silverstone based team to be like Red Bull – that is the claim of fellow Indian billionaire Dr Vijay Mallya, who with title sponsor Sahara’s Roy co-owns the team.

Mallya bought the former Jordan team some years ago when it was known as Spyker and finishing grands prix in last place.

“The Indian people are proud that we have been able to create a team for the country to play an important role in formula one. Without our success we have attracted a larger group of supporters,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.

“Now it’s getting difficult to meet the demands,” Mallya told the German magazine, after Force India finished the 2011 season sixth behind Renault and the four top teams.

“The people of India expect us to beat Mercedes now,” he admitted.

If Force India can do that, is the sort of success achieved by Red Bull – another non-carmaker team – a realistic target?

“Why not?” answered Mallya. “Subrata Roy’s vision is to be as good as Red Bull but he’s so excited that I have to stop him a bit.

“There are no short-cuts in Formula One.”

Source:GMM