Sauber contest Van der Garde ruling


Published: Wednesday 11th March 2015 by The News Editor

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The legal battle between Sauber and Giedo van der Garde will continue on Thursday, just 27 hours before the start of first practice for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Van der Garde was axed from his role as test driver at the end of last season as Sauber instead employed Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, both of whom brought considerable sponsorship.

Van der Garde, though, claimed to have proof he was offered a race seat for 2015 and so took his case initially to an arbitration panel in Switzerland which recently ordered Sauber “to refrain from taking action” that would deny him a drive.

There followed a hearing at the Supreme Court in Victoria, Australia, on Monday, with Mr Justice Croft announcing at 10am local time on Wednesday he found in favour of the 29-year-old Dutchman.

Sauber immediately appealed, and by 3.15pm three different judges in Justices Simon Whelan, David Beach and Anne Ferguson heard the case.

That lasted just 45 minutes, however, with the appeal to be reheard from 9.30am local time on Thursday, allowing them the opportunity to weigh up overnight the merits of the case.

Notably there is the fact Ericsson and Nasr have contracts with the team for this year, and are expecting to be in the cockpit on Friday, with the first practice session due to commence at 12.30pm local time.

Following the initial verdict, and prior to the appeal, team principal Monisha Kaltenborn was left stunned by the decision, but vowing to do what was right for her two current drivers.

Kaltenborn said: “We are disappointed with this decision and now need to take time to understand what it means and the impact it will have on the start of our season.

“What we cannot do is jeopardise the safety of our team, or any other driver on the track, by having an unprepared driver in a car that has now been tailored to two other assigned drivers.”

By contrast, Van der Garde was naturally happy to have won the initial decision, although faces an anxious wait to see if it will be upheld on appeal.

“I’m looking forward to going back to the team and we’ll work hard to do our best for this weekend,” he said.

“I’m the fittest ever. I’ve been training the last three months flat out.

“I still have a very good relation with the team, and I’m looking forward to racing this weekend.”

Asked as to the other drivers, he replied: “It’s up to them what they are going to do, and up to the team. It’s not my thing.

“I’m happy we won the case. Now I’m looking forward to getting back to business.”

Published: Wednesday 11th March 2015 by The News Editor

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