|© Force India
Adrian Sutil is certain that his conviction for assaulting a Formula 1 team owner in China in 2010 won’t hinder his chances of returning to the sport.
The German driver is negotiating to make a return with his former team Force India next season to fill in the vacancy left by Nico Hulkenberg, who moved to Sauber, although he faces an uncertainty whether he could take part in all the races in 2013.
Found guilty of causing harm to Lotus co-owner Eric Lux in a nightclub shortly after the Chinese Grand Prix two years ago in April, a court in Germany sentenced the 29-year-old to an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for three years, in addition to a €200,000 fine.
Canada, United States, Australia and China, all of which host a Grand Prix, have strict rules that forbids entry to an individual who has been sentenced to jail but Sutil is confident that it won’t be an issue.
“We checked, of course – me and my management,” Sutil told the Race of Champions website. “We checked all the countries and there’s no problem for me to travel… So, all my problems I had last winter are solved. It’s a new beginning.”
Sutil feels that he’s the best option among the several choices Force India has for next season - including its test and reserve driver Jules Bianchi - considering his tenure with the team before although he acknowledged that the decision should be a mutual one.
“They know who I am, they know how to work with me,” he said. “It’s all up to Vijay (Mallya). It’s his decision and hopefully he’ll make the right one. I was in this team for five years. They know how good I am. They know my qualities.
“But I am not the one who is going to this team and saying ‘please, please, give me the drive’. They also should come to me and say ‘yes, we want you’. I want to drive for this team but they should also want me as a driver.
“I am quite relaxed. I know how to handle this situation. I did the maximum I could do and now it is all up to them to decide if I am in the seat or not,” he pointed out.