The Australian Supreme Court in Victoria has not been kind to Sauber, then again it has not been particularly unkind. However, the attitude of the Judges towards the representations made by the Swiss team’s lawyers has been firm and dismissive of their delaying tactics and weak arguments for failing to fulfill the contract with Giedo van der Garde.
The efficiency with how the court has dealt with the issue given the inordinately narrow window of time available has been impressive and the stage is next set for a contempt of court hearing at 10:30 Friday local time (23:30 GMT Thursday).
The very fact the court agreed to list a what is a breach of order hearing, just minutes after the order was confirmed – is indicative of the impression Sauber have created this week. They clearly have every intention of running down the clock to make it impossible for Giedo van der Garde to drive the C34 this weekend.
Free Practice 1 begins 2 hours after the start of the hearing, so if Sauber have any intention of putting Van der Garde into the car, both parties will now have agreed.
Giedo van der Garde holds an FIA class A competition license, which allows him to test drive an F1 car only. He does not require the full F1 super license to drive in FP1, which of course means this negates the debate over whether he has or can be awarded the full FIA super license required for qualifying.
Charlie Whiting indicated yesterday that there was still time for Van der Garde to be awarded the full racing license, because he meets the criteria and all that is required is for Sauber to complete some minimal paperwork.
It will be clear to the court whether since their order was confirmed Sauber have any intention of complying or not. Further, it will not require the court to wait until after the actual breach occurs i.e. qualifying begins – to rule that Sauber are in contempt of court.
It would appear the litmus test of whether the Swiss F1 team are in breach of court order will be whether they have completed the necessary paperwork for Van der Garde to be awarded his super license and race.
The deadline for that is the time at which the hearing has been scheduled.
Some F1 pundits appear to believe Sauber will deliberately fail to complete the super license paperwork to time Van der Garde out before their next appearance in court.
However, should this be the case, then the court can rule immediately Sauber to be in contempt and order the seizure of their assets and even arrest directors of the company – Monisha Kaltenborn being one.
It would be easy to believe the timings of all this have been planned by Van der Garde’s legal team to perfection, and Sauber’s option is to race him – or not race at all.
Not long to go.