Giedo van der Garde starts legal action against Sauber ahead of Australian GP
Reports say Dutchman is claiming that Swiss team reneged on 2015 race deal; Hopes Victoria Supreme Court ruling will secure drive in Melbourne
By Sky Sports Digital
Last Updated: 16/03/15 2:18pm
Giedo van der Garde has started a legal action against Sauber in an attempt to make the starting grid for next weekend’s season-opener in Melbourne.
Australian media reported on Thursday that the Dutchman has lodged documents with Victoria’s Supreme Court which claim that he was unfairly dismissed by the Swiss team.
Van der Garde, 29, was Sauber’s reserve driver last year and had hoped for a race seat this coming season. He is claiming that the offer was made in June 2014 but team bosses subsequently reneged on the deal.
Sauber instead chose Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, plus Raffaele Marciello as reserve, but Van der Garde hopes a court hearing on Monday will find in his favour.
"In early November 20l4, Mr van de Garde was informed by Sauber's Chief Executive Officer, Ms Monisha Kaltenborn, that Sauber's two seats had been given to other drivers and that, as a consequence, Mr van der Garde would not have a place as a driver in the team in 2015," the court documents claim.
"The Respondent was ordered to refrain from taking any action the effect of which would be to deprive Mr van der Garde of his entitlement to participate in the 2015 Formula One Season as one of Sauber's two nominated race drivers," they added.
Van der Garde, who raced for Caterham in 2013, has already taken the case to the Arbitration Institution in Switzerland, which ruled that Sauber should retain him.
In an official response, Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn said: “As this matter is currently before the courts it would be inappropriate for me to comment on specific details. However, we will take all necessary steps to protect our company, this team and its interests. Last year was a challenging time for us but going into the 2015 season we have been focused on putting steps in place to ensure that we are delivering the best outcomes for F1’s fans.”