Free Willy IV - Sutil's Salvation

The piano-playing German driver Adrian Sutil, who famously had a rubbishly brilliant tiff with fellow driver Jarno Trulli (check out the aftermath video below), is to stand trial for grievous bodily harm after a nightclub incident with Lotus co-owner Eric Lux following last year’s Chinese grand prix.

Sutil potentially faces a year in prison, which is the sort of thing that prospective employers generally frown upon when they look at your CV (unless they’re Flavio Briatore, of course.)  Whereas, on a scale of 1 to Pol Pot, cheating is pretty much just a slap on the wrist, if that.  You can’t call yourself a genuine Formula 1 World Champion without at least a whiff of scandal along those lines.  I don’t make up the rules!  If I were more of a cynic, I’d say that Formula 1 is an ingenious, elaborate PR machine, with some intermittent racing which serves as a tidy showcase for all the PR goods and wares they want to flog to us.  Which is why, if convicted, most teams probably won’t touch Sutil with a barge pole.  Still, he’s always got his musical talents to fall back on, eh?

But let’s not single out Sutil.  What about the other drivers and F1 personalities who’ve come a cropper with the boys in blue?

  • Ross Brawn – I know!  An F1 team boss … speeding?  Well I never.  100 mph no less.  Who can be in that much of a hurry to get to Cornwall anyway?
  • Michael Schumacher – whilst I could devote an entire series of articles to the misdemeanors of everyone’s fave F1 driver and all-round good guy, Michael Schumacher, I’ll just mention in passing his 2008 crash into a Kent car dealer whilst driving a Fiat van.  “I told him that you’ll never guess who I’ve been run over by, he wouldn’t believe me” said the lucky crash victim, before promptly flogging his beaten up car for 10 times the price to some Schuie-fanatic.
  • JJ Lehto – whilst googling “F1 prison” (it’s wall-to-wall top notch cutting-edge journalism here on BadgerGP), the search  revealed that former Formula 1 driver JJ Lehto has recently been jailed for 2 years for his part in a fatal boating accident in 2010.  Lehto drove for various (largely now defunct) teams from 1989 to 1994, garnering one podium at the 1991 San Marino grand prix.  Well, Sutil, your thunder has officially been stolen.
  • Bernie Ecclestone – [this paragraph has been redacted at the request of Mr Ecclestone’s legal team]
  • José Ramón Carabante – the owner of Hispania was convicted for fraud in June of last year.  Might be worth a punt for a drive, Sutil?

In other news, it turns out that Sir Jackie Stewart has a pen pal … who is in prison in Scotland (well, just Scotland).  “He’s doing about nine years. It’s pretty bad stuff, I think” said the F1 legend Stewart, clearly unperturbed by his new friend’s shady past.  Definitely a silver-lining for Sutil – pen pals with a plucky Scotsman, who could ask for more in life?