Van der Garde ends Sauber dispute

Published: Wednesday 18th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Giedo van der Garde believes his Formula One dream is likely over after he ended his contract dispute with Sauber by reaching a settlement with the team.

The Dutchman was at the centre of a bizarre storyline in the build-up to last Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix, arriving at the Melbourne circuit on Friday suited up and ready to drive, despite the team intending to field Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr in the race.

Van der Garde, who drove for Caterham in 2013 and was Sauber’s reserve driver last season, held a contract with the team which guaranteed him a full-time drive and had won a series of legal battles both in Switzerland and Australia which left team principal Monisha Kaltenborn under the threat of arrest if she failed to comply.

A deal was struck on the eve of the grand prix, with Van der Garde agreeing to sit out the race, and on Wednesday he announced he had settled the case, dropping his claim to a drive and receiving “significant compensation”.

“We have reached a settlement with Sauber and my driver contract with the team has been ended by mutual consent,” the 29-year-old said on Facebook.

“As a passionate race driver, I feel sad and am very disappointed. I have worked very hard my entire career, ever since starting with go-karts at the age of eight, to live my dream and become a successful Formula One driver.

“I had hoped at last to be able to show what I am capable of, driving a car for a respected midfield team in the 2015 season. This dream has been taken away from me and I know that my future in Formula One is probably over.”

Van der Garde, who said he now hopes to secure a drive in the World Endurance Championship and race at Le Mans, claimed that it was his sponsors who had kept Sauber afloat last season.

“There has been a lot of speculation in the media over the past week, so I want to set out clearly that my sponsors paid the sponsorship fee related to the 2015 season in its entirety to Sauber in the first half of 2014,” he added.

“This was simply in good faith and to help the team deal with its cash problems at the time. Effectively, it was my sponsor’s advanced payments that helped the team survive in 2014.

“Sauber’s financial decision-making in this case is bizarre and makes no sense to me. I am not at liberty to discuss details, but Sauber paid significant compensation to avoid honouring the contract they had with me. Only in that respect can I be satisfied that my rights have finally been recognised and that at least some justice has been done.”

Sauber did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

Published: Wednesday 18th March 2015 by The News Editor

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