Giedo van der Garde’s claim to drive for Sauber is upheld


garde courtIn just 12 short minutes, the court in Victoria has just upheld the judgement previously granted in Switzerland, which forces Sauber to provide a car for Giedo van der Garde to drive this weekend. This will see either Felipe Nasr or Marcus Ericsson forced to sit out the F1 season opener in Australia.

Giedo van der Garde had a contract to drive for Sauber in 2015, which was disregarded by the Swiss Formula One team in favour of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. The team claim they were short of cash and the extra sponsorship these new drivers brought was vital to the on going survival of the team.

It became evident during the proceedings that Giedo van der Garde was not even offered the courtesy of a discussion on the matter and discovered only following a press release stating Felipe Nasr would be driving for Sauber in 2015, that his contract had been dropped.

Sauber claimed on Monday in the Supreme Court in Victoria that there was insufficient time for them to prepare a car safely for van der Garde to drive this weekend and it would be “dangerous” and “put lives at risk”. Sauber lawyer added, “Mr. van der Garde has no experience driving the c34 Ferrari and would not have sufficient time to learn.”

victoria court“Sauber could not allow him to race… it would be reckless and dangerous to do otherwise. It would result in an unacceptable risk of physical harm or even death.”

Despite these dramatic claims, the justice Croft was unmoved and declared Sauber’s safety concerns as invalid. He announced, “The application is successful and … will be enforced.”

Ironically van der Garde’s defence team reminded the court of how in 2011, Pedro de la Rosa stepped still clad in his McLaren overalls stepped into the Sauber on Friday lunchtime in Montreal after Sergio Perez was declared unfit.

Giedo was clearly delighted with the verdict and declared, “I’m very fit and very strong. I’m looking forward to going back to the team and we’ll work hard to do our best for this weekend. I’m the fittest ever, I’ve been training the last three months flat out, and I’m looking forward to going back to the team. I had a very good relationship, I still have a very good relation with the team. I’m looking forward to racing this weekend.”

vdgWhen asked about the drivers Sauber had replaced him with, van der Garde stated:

It’s up to them what they are going to do, and up to the team. It’s not my thing.

“I’m happy that we won the case, and that we stand here. Now I’m looking forward to getting back to business.”

Justice Croft stated his decision is not a reflection of the merits of Van der Garde’s case but based solely upon the law. Further the judge stated his decision applies not just to this weekend, but to “the whole of the F1 season”.

Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn has in masters degree in International Law from the London School of Economics and worked for the UN Commission for International Trade Law.

Kaltenborn was loose with her words during the weekend of the US Grand Prix in Austin last year when she commented to journalists that, “contracts in F1 are worth nothing”.

Following the judgement, Kaltenborn reflected: “We 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”

vdg2Neither the Manor team car nor their drivers have tested this year, which is something Kaltenborn may be forced to reflect upon.

Tom Clarke, Giedo van der Garde’s lawyer, claims his client has been attempting this week to contact the Sauber team, but his communication has not received a response. “Mr Van der Garde remains ready, willing and able to perform his obligations. He wishes to meet with the team. He wishes to have his seat … organised and he can do so forthwith.

“Unfortunately our email last night at 7:44 (p.m. local time) has gone unresponded to but we would call upon Sauber Motor Sport AG to fulfill it’s obligations and meet with Mr. Sauber forthwith.”

It should be noted that Adrian Sutil is also pursuing legal action against Sauber because he too had a contract to race for the team this year.


Some F1 journalists are questioning van der Garde’s actions, however this is an important decision to remind team’s who play fast and loose with legally binding driver contracts to be more careful before they commit ink to parchment.

Sauber played a risky game claiming in a court of law that putting an unprepared driver in their car could lead to death, because once again Formula One has been dragged into farce before the eyes of the world.

Sauber have decided to lodge an appeal which will be heard in a few hours time. This of course delays them having to agree to a seat fitting for Giedo van der Garde.

You can read the full judgement of Justice Croft and the Australian Supreme Court in Victoria here

39 responses to “Giedo van der Garde’s claim to drive for Sauber is upheld

  1. Monisha Monisha, as a trained lawyer I thought you’d be well versed in contract lawyer. This is beyond embarrassing for Peter Sauber.

  2. So who’s going to get the boot? That

    should be a fun meeting….

    “Hey guys, unfortunately one of you wont be able to drive because we’ve only got 2 cars and 3 drivers. I’m sorry, but my maths isn’t that good, I thought 2+3 = 4”

    • It would sink Sauber either way. Ericssons backers are believed to have paid up to 70% of the dough upfront of Sauber wouldn’t have survived the winter

      • GvdG’s lawyer said that the two “current'(?) drivers’ contracts had clauses that allowed for them to be replaced. But then that might not mean that the money would still be paid…

        Regardless, this has to be the right answer – especially as this case was already rules upon in Switzerland. For Sauber to claim they can’t put Giedo in the car at this late stage is disingenuous at best; they’ve known that they have a legal obligation to run him for some time. No excuses.

        I have no desire at all for Sauber to be at risk financially, but this isn’t the way to run a team. I can’t imagine Peter being ok with this – he’s always talked about as an honourable man.

      • Definitely. How can she even hang on now? This is a total sh*tshow, and it’s all on Ms. Kaltenborn.

        A team can only use 4 drivers in a season. Get Sutil in the other car!

  3. yeah well… already disliked Sauber from my list when they sacked Frijns. What more can I say?

    oh yeah:
    HA — HA

  4. I really don’t want this to cause the end of Sauber, but just ignoring GVG’s contract like that is not cool, and he should be driving. Shame that whole 3 car thing didn’t come through – although it’s probably unlikely Sauber could provide 3 cars.

  5. And Sauber has gone to the court of appeal already. I wonder if we’ll actually see any Saubers out on track at all this race weekend ?

    • This is a delaying tactic – as the judge in his full decision clearly states his judgement is not based on the merits of the case – Sauber tried the ‘safety’ defence and it failed – he is in effect upholding the ruling made in Switzerland.

      • So basically they don’t have an argument and just want to say “hey, sorry, we won’t have time to prepare a seat for Giedo”?

        • Right: perhaps the plan is to “run out of time” to run GvdG and, as they are legally obliged NOT to run anyone else, claim “Force majeure” with FOM/FIA and not run at all in the race; thus giving themselves a whole lot longer to sort out this sorry mess (or “shit show” as we would normally call it).

      • I know it’s a delaying tactic, I’d imagine Sauber will either comply or forge ahead and find the cars being impounded and management possibly being handcuffed and led away from the race track. Farce 1 for the new season.

  6. “we need to take time to understand what it means”? haha. what it means is youre a twat. she may have a fancy degree. but I know plenty of booksmart people that are as dumb as a chair.

    • this is quite usual, people with fancy degrees in top Universities, whose abilities don’t match their graduations

      • Pause to consider…..
        I can recall a time some ten or 12 years ago when I would field offers of degree qualifications in any field I wanted to name, from any school of higher learning……
        I dare say there are some out there…..

        • here in Brazil there’s a medical university in Minas Gerais state, with grades under 2,00 in government tests, and it is filled with stupid coke heads from privileged backgrounds whose intelligence are not enough to be approved for the best universities

          so, it appears that the same stuff happens in other countries too

          /social rant off

  7. Decision postponed to Thursday, they are using the nonsense argument of the safety of using a replacement driver to confuse the judges.

    • Not sure about that. It will more likely indicate teams that contracts can be enforced, and episodes like Heidfeld getting dropped by Enstone mid-season will become less likely in the future. A very good thing indeed: if the driver fulfills contractual obligations, they shouldn’t be treated like a stray dog.

      • Looking at the bigger picture this will not be good for van der Garde because whatever happens, unless he shows the speed of a future world champion no F1 team will want him as he has put his own interests high above that of a team, to the degree that he is willing risk his own team’s survival for the possibility to be on the grid. His F1 career is done after this.

        The net future effect on driver contracts, and sponsorship contracts is likely more contract clauses to enable teams to take advantage of future opportunities presented by their improved value. We rarely see such details and will be unlikely to know of such changes.

  8. Anyone else think Sauber might decide to not race at all? Pull out both cars just to deny Giedo any chance of getting in a Sauber car

    • No way. They have only 2-3 suhc wildcards, and best use them to protest against Bernie than in vain.

  9. I wonder if Boekhoorn wants to buy Sauber for a penny. He previously denied wanting to buy Force India or any team, but maybe if the price is right and it gets Giedo a seat…

    The best way would than to make Sauber suffer as much as they can and when they’re almost bankrupt, buy them. Not asking for money now but for a seat fits brilliantly in such a scheme.

  10. Sauber has dropped to the level of a rather amateuristic organisation with regards to the way they have treated their drivers so far (GvdG and Sutil).
    If I was Nasr or Ericsson I would be very suspicious about my contract, because this is obviously a very bad example being set by Ms ColdBorne……………and I would like to know what Peter Sauber has to say about all this. That will be a nice conversation in the BoardRoom!!

    He should fire her ass very quickly now, IMHO……..

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