#F1 Features: Sauber’s options

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.

26 responses to “#F1 Features: Sauber’s options

  1. Well argued.

    I don’t understand how some pundits say that Sauber will be ok if they “drag their feet” on the paperwork, just because GvdG didn’t apply for a Super Licence in time. It seems to me that, if the team would normally initiate the application, they have been willful in not making that happen ever since they lost the case in Switzerland (not to mention in Oz).

    That would certainly run the risk of being held in contempt – especially, as you say, given their questionable conduct in court this week.

  2. Last week was the verdict of the Swiss Arbitration Court upon which Van der Garde acted by going to court in Australia, because Sauber ignored the arbitration as well as the verdicts of two other verdicts in November and December.

    I do not see a deliberate timing here, because it was dependent on the verdict of the Swiis Arbitration, which started in December as far as I know.

  3. Let’s see if Team Clean can salvage some of their reputation and come through this weekend without more dirt for them to clean up…

    Wonder how long Ms Kaltenborn can keep her job?

  4. How does super licensing work then? Is it something that needs to be renewed every year? I assumed once you had one, you kept it forever (barring life changing accidents etc)

  5. Police officers on the grid come sunday doesnt seem that unlikely anymore lol… Apparently Kaltenborn is not even answering calls nor e-mails from Team VdG. #Professional

  6. Bernie must be clenching his butts together rather tightly right now because of Sauber don’t/can’t race and Manor continue having programming issues for their PU, then we are down to just 14 cars. After the Australian race promoter kicked off last year over the engine noise and threat court action over ‘breach of contract’ then only having 14 cars on the starting grid will see him having kittens over it, because it diminishes the spectacle even further and possibly more than the noise loss did last season.

    • Yes, but if a car shows up but doesn’t race that still counts, I believe. So actually 20 for this race. Now, if teams boycotted and didn’t show up……………

  7. I really really would tell you more, but that would spoil some of the fun ,,,, Whahaahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaa

  8. Judge – I wonder if there are a couple of things missing from this article.

    1) One of the best reports, Adam Cooper, who has provided excellent coverage of this ordeal, is saying that vdG must have a contract in good standing with the Contracts Recognition Board, which vdG currently does not.

    2) What is vdG’s end-game?

    While vdG is right to correct the wrongs committed egregiously against him, the way that he is going about this exercise suggests motives that are not apparent. One paddock rumor is that this exercise by vdG and his management, is part of an attempt to force the collapse of Sauber to pick up the team (or their pieces) for cheap.

    • Been reading elsewhere of VdG finally getting overalled with access to the Sauber pit.

    • Been reading elsewhere of VdG finally getting overalled with access to the Sauber pit. At ME’s expense.

      • Looks like he’s having a seat fitting going by the pics posted on twitter in Erricsons pit garage.

  9. A couple of comments.

    First of all, there is no “Australian Supreme Court”. Presumably you mean the Victorian Supreme Court. The highest court in Australia is the High Court.

    Second, this is just wrong:

    “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.”

    That is not indicative of any such thing. The Court would list the matter urgently at the request of a party if satisfied by that party that the circumstances require it to be dealt with in that way. Here, the race is about to start, so the Court would obviously have regard to that. Nothing to do with any “impression” Sauber has created.

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