Sauber appeal rejected

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Published: Thursday 12th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Giedo van der Garde stands on the brink of driving in this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix after Sauber suffered another defeat in their legal battle with the Dutchman.

Van der Garde was axed by Sauber from his role as test driver at the end of last year as the Swiss-based marque employed Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.

But, with a contract from the team stating he was to be given a full-time seat for this season, Van der Garde has pursued Sauber through the courts these past few weeks.

An arbitration panel in Switzerland initially ordered Sauber “to refrain from taking action” that would deny Van der Garde a drive.

That decision was then upheld on Wednesday by the Supreme Court in Victoria, Australia, following a hearing on Monday.

Although Sauber immediately launched an appeal, that has now been rejected following the latest hearing on Thursday.

At present, Van der Garde is now pursuing an enforcement of the order to ensure Sauber comply, which would result in the 29-year-old taking part in first practice from 12.30pm local time on Friday.

For Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn, she has three drivers on her books, but only two seats available.

Should Kaltenborn ignore the ruling and opt to continue with Ericsson and Nasr she and the team could find themselves in contempt of court.

In pursuing the enforcement in a separate hearing and in front of a different judge less than an hour after the appeal verdict was handed down, van der Garde’s lawyer called for the potential sequestration of Sauber’s assets and committal of its directors if the team failed to comply.

Sauber have since been asked to provide a list of those assets, which includes their cars and equipment at Melbourne’s Albert Park in place for the race.

Court proceedings are due to continue at 10.30am local time (11.30pm UK), just two hours before the start of first practice.

Sauber’s failure to comply could result in the sequestration of their assets, and the possibility of action being taken against Kaltenborn given her position as a director.

For his part, van der Garde is also attempting to acquire a valid and temporary super licence – required for any driver to compete in F1 – as the one in place for last season has since expired.

The 29-year-old must do so through his local motor-racing authority in Holland, who in turn contact world governing body, the FIA.

Speaking outside court, van der Garde said: “Sauber has to work with us now. There is no other issue. I’m also confident the super licence can be fast-tracked.”

Former Sauber driver Felipe Massa, now with Williams, speaking ahead of the appeal verdict, believes van der Garde had taken the correct steps to pursue his case via the legal system.

Massa, speaking in the paddock at Melbourne’s Albert Park, said: “It shouldn’t be the way people should be treating drivers. They should respect drivers.

“A driver can be quite powerful. We are working here, we need the work, the career, so it’s not fair when people treat you the way he has been treated. It doesn’t matter if you are a driver or an engineer.

“Everyone should be treated fairly, and if there is a contract then that should be respected because there are rules and they have to be followed.

“Sometimes you hear stories in F1 of drivers having a contract with a team and they just get kicked out, or drivers who are owed money.

“Giedo is a good example. Drivers should stand up for their rights, so I see it as a good thing for all drivers, but also anyone in F1 as they should be treated the same as any worker in the world.”

Published: Thursday 12th March 2015 by The News Editor

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