A Munich criminal court has excused Lewis Hamilton after he declined to appear as a witness next week in the assault trial of his friend Adrian Sutil. It emerged this week that, despite being asked to attend on the opening day on Monday, the McLaren driver’s lawyer told the judge he will be engaged in Britain as the Woking based team prepares to launch its 2012 car.
“Through his lawyer, Mr Hamilton has given a sufficient reason to the judge,” a court spokeswoman is quoted by the Kolner Express newspaper. “The judge has excused him for Monday.”
Also through a spokeswoman, McLaren said the 27-year-old is due at the team’s headquarters on Monday and Tuesday – the days of the Sutil trial – for photos and filming ahead of the MP4-27 reveal the following day.
“On Monday, the other four witnesses will be heard,” the court spokeswoman revealed.
It is believed former Virgin driver Jerome d’Ambrosio is one of these witnesses.
“After the two days of the hearing the judge will consider whether and when Mr Hamilton must appear at a second appointment. The process can be interrupted for ten days,” she said.
Ten days after 31 January, McLaren will be in the midst of its crucial winter test programme for its 2012 car.
The court spokeswoman said it will not be acceptable for Hamilton to submit a written statement.