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.