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Sutil seeks F1 return after guilty verdict

updated 8:47 AM EST, Wed February 1, 2012
  • Adrian Sutil hopes to return to F1 after being found guilty of grievous bodily harm
  • The German was handed an 18-month suspended jail term and fined $262,000
  • Sutil has lost his place at Force India for 2012 to compatriot Niko Hulkenberg
  • He finished ninth in the drivers' championship in 2011, scoring 42 points

(CNN) -- German driver Adrian Sutil is confident of returning to Formula One despite receiving an 18-month suspended jail sentence for grievous bodily harm on Tuesday.

The former Force India driver was also fined €200,000 ($262,000) for injuring Eric Lux, chief executive of the Lotus team's owner Genii Capital, with a champagne glass in a Shanghai nightclub after last April's Chinese Grand Prix.

Sutil lost his seat with Britain-based Force India for 2012 and was replaced by his compatriot Nico Hulkenberg -- who last raced for Williams in 2010.

The 29-year-old's agent is hoping to find Sutil a position within F1 before the new season begins in Australia on March 18, but his options are limited with Spanish marque HRT the only team on the grid with a seat yet to be filled.

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Manfred Zimmerman

"He's still a race-car driver," Manfred Zimmermann told CNN. "His talent didn't suffer from the verdict. We are now exploring the possibilities that exist in Formula One.

"We will do our best to find a place there again and only time will tell if we're successful. The most important thing to Adrian is that Lux accepted his apology.

"They shook hands and now they can move on. A load has been taken off Adrian's shoulders. Otherwise, we're assuming Adrian has a future in Formula One and will find his place again soon enough."

Zimmerman said Sutil has no contingency plans outside of the elite motorsport should he not have the chance to add to his 90 race starts.

"We'll only think about that if everything else falls through," Zimmerman said."But we're assuming that everything will work out."

Sutil finished ninth in the drivers' standings last season with 42 points. His highest finish was sixth, which he achieved at his home race in Germany and at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

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