Lewis Hamilton has been summoned as a witness in the forthcoming Munich trial of his friend and F1 rival Adrian Sutil.
It was expected the McLaren driver would have to appear, given the fact that - on the night of his Chinese Grand Prix win last April - he was present when German Sutil allegedly glassed Lotus team executive Eric Lux in a Shanghai nightclub.
The Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper said the former Force India's grievous bodily harm trial will take place over two days beginning 30 January.
It means that Hamilton will have to head almost directly from the trial to attend the launch of the 2012 McLaren on 1 February.
"Lewis Hamilton will be called as a witness on the first day," a Munich court spokeswoman confirmed.
"The appearance is mandatory," she added.
Sutil's manager Manfred Zimmermann said he is not worried.
That would not jeopardise his career
"We have a video where it can be seen clearly that this was not Adrian attacking or intentionally hurting someone," he said.
"We expect an acquittal, or at worst a conviction for negligent injury. But that would not jeopardise his career," insisted Zimmermann.
It is reported that former Virgin driver Jerome d'Ambrosio and a F1 journalist might also appear as witnesses.