Wednesday verdict for van der Garde’s Sauber case

2015 Australian Grand Prix

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An Australian court will rule on Wednesday whether Giedo van der Garde is entitled to drive for Sauber in this weekend’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The Victorian Supreme Court’s decision is due at 10am local time, just two days before the first official practice session for the race.

Van der Garde’s claim has already been upheld in Switzerland, where a court ruled Sauber could not deny him a place in the team. The driver made seven appearances for Sauber in practice sessions last year but missed out on a race seat for 2015 when the team appointed Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson instead.

A lawyer for Sauber today claimed it would be “reckless and dangerous” to replace one of the team’s regular drivers with van der Garde at short notice, and “would result in an unacceptable risk of physical harm or even death” as there was insufficient time to adapt one of their C34 chassis to suit him. Van der Garde’s lawyer dismissed the argument.

Nasr and Ericsson were present in court to hear the deliberations.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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85 comments on “Wednesday verdict for van der Garde’s Sauber case”

  1. …think that now he’s going to be lucky getting a drive for Uber…

    1. Well, seeing Sauber’s unbelievably weak defence, it certainly seems like VdG has a legally binding contract in place. Sauber is trying to plead safety issues, and they made the uncomprehensible blunder to claim that VdG does not have a super licence. Of course he has – he has driven the entire 2013 season and he has done free practices for Sauber in 2014. How could he NOT have a super licence?

      But no, there won’t be too much positives out of this in terms of his career.

      1. Superlicenses are issued yearly – just because a driver has previously held one, he/she has to apply each year and they’re evaluated at the time for eligibility (hence the noise re: Susie Wolff – she qualifies for 2015, but is ineligible in 2016 under the incoming rules re: performance).

        Where Sauber’s defence really collapses is their arguments re: short notice & car suitability. The very notion of a reserve driver is the need to parachute someone in at short notice – they’ll have his seat mouldings from last year available and given how Ericsson & Nasr rocked up to the team fairly late, it’s hard to believe the C34 could be ‘designed around’ them, even though it was their money that essentially allowed its birth.

        1. @optimaximal Super licences are issued yearly but for drivers that previously held a super licence, this is a mere formality.
          The situation going to 2016 will fundamentally change with the new rules in place, but that’s not yet the case for 2015.

          Not that they have a case elsewhere but I can at least understand how they are trying to plead safety. But the super licence thing is just mind-boggling.

          1. It’s not like Superlicense holders are a massive secret. All Sauber needed to do was ring up the Dutch ASIN and ask if Van der Garde held a valid 2015 license. Making such an easily refutable argument will rebound on them: judges tend to start doubting every argument you make.

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        9th March 2015, 13:34

        @optimaximal The fact that he’s taken them legally and a Swiss court where Sauber is based upheld his contract means that Sauber ROYALLY screwed him. I sincerely hope the Australian court is just and does the right thing.

        I hope they apply financial penalties to Sauber as well to teach them a lesson for bringing it to another court when the Swiss court has upheld the decision. If any promise was made, please smack Sauber with a 5 million dollar penalty and force them to have Giedo drive for 5 seasons! I hope Sauber then take it to another court and they can pile additional penalties:-) The only winner will be their attorney who I presume is the law firm that Monisha will be working for in the near future…

        1. If Sauber wishes to get out of the impasse and gets anything other than “totally not guilty” from the judge, it will have to pay a lot of money it didn’t budget for to one of the three drivers who is angling for a seat. Even then, Giedo would still be eligible to sue Sauber for breach of contract if he isn’t in the car (even if the Australian court says it’s OK for that to happen) – unless Sauber decides to solve the matter by buying out the reinstatement order that Australian law requires to be possible. So the financial penalties are inevitable no matter what the court rules about it.

          I don’t think Sauber can take it to another court as this is already one court beyond the maximum for which provision exists in the regulations. (The Swiss Court of Arbitration can’t be appealed).

      3. Agreed the defence of “Dangerous and unacceptable risk of harm is basically Sauber saying that they have no leg to stand on to defend the real case which is GvdG was given a contracted seat therefore I hope they get screwed – although the only outcome which will help Sauber is if they pay of GvdG to not drive as they have signed contracts with 2 others – Sauber owe Gvdg money for NOT honouring their contract but taking his money”

  2. A bit strange from Sauber giving the reason for van der Garde not to drive is because it is dangerous to let him drive. It is not that he doesn’t have any experience in a F1 car, or that he doesn’t have his own race seat. So what is it about the sauber that could possibly kill van der Garde if he was to race?

    1. There were the various reasons behind the safety argument:
      – he hasn’t had time to get familiar with the car
      – he hasn’t had a seat fitting
      – the C34 isn’t tailored towards his body
      – they don’t have the proper seat belts

      1. If this is the case that these things can lead to death then nobody can arrange test drivers anymore?

        1. Unless said driver had had a seat fitting and proper belts, but then still the chassis would never have been made with the temp driver in mind.

          Mind you, we’re talking about Sauber here, who dropped Pedro de la Rosa in a seat in 2011 (Canada) because Perez hadn’t fully recovered after crashing the race before. Pedro de la Rosa was McLaren’s test driver at the time, hadn’t done a race that year for Sauber, and was dropped in the car between FP1 and FP2.

          1. Well van der Garde does have a race seat, because he used it to drive in F1 before. And about the seatbelts: I doubt that seatbelts are created specially for the driver. The seatbelts are all standard and just have to be adjusted to the driver as soon as he gets into the car. Sauber can do this during FP1 for example and probably before that.

      2. @mattds Most of those arguments are rubbish – given how F1 teams are fairly adept at rapid prototyping and production, I don’t think it’s beyond even Sauber to adapt and use his seat mould from last year.

        I also fail to see how it can be ‘tailored’ for Ericsson or Nasr’s bodies, given a) the latter wasn’t really part of the team until 2 months ago and b) the car would have been long laid down before either driver signed. The chassis is, IIRC, not much different to last year – just blue.

        1. @optimaximal: I agree entirely with you. Those points aren’t my opinion, they are the points brought forward by Sauber’s lawyer.

          Sauber’s reasoning is weak at best.

          1. @mattds I’m not arguing with you, I’m simply using your bulleted list as a springboard. :)

          2. el presidente
            9th March 2015, 11:32

            Sauber is more or less arguing that they ditched Giedo solely for the sake of the continuation of the company “Sauber”. And although financial reasons can be used in such cases, i feel here it is a clear-cut-case of Sauber being haughty, and now biting the bullit. (i really hope it kills the team, i dont like one little tit-bit about that team. good riddance when they are gone, and give way to racers instead of some corporate lawyers. and not even a great one for that matter)

      3. was it dangerous for Magnussen to test 2 different f1 cars in one day? one he no experience of before that day. non of those arguments work as there is so many previous cases of all of those points happening, and it is within the f1 rules.

      4. But Van der Garde’s lawyer Tom Clarke cited a 2012 case where an F1 driver was fitted with a seat just three days after an emergency ruling put him in the car.

        “Teams are very flexible to make adjustments for every specific driver,” he said.

        Clarke said clauses in Nasr and Ericsson’s contracts allowed Sauber to replace a driver without breaching their deals.

        “Sauber does have the ability to substitute Mr Van der Garde this weekend for one or another driver without falling into breach of those existing contracts,” he said.

      5. If that is all Sauber has managed to give us is the safety reason, then that can only be because Sauber failed to comply with the Swiss Court of Arbitration’s order, and thus caused itself the unnecessary expense and time expenditure of creating a seat for a driver it could not race. Giedo is not extremely tall and by regulation all cars have to be able to accommodate a 190 cm (6 foot 4 inch) driver (albeit with no allowance needed to be made for things like knee position, which has caused issues for Justin Wilson and Alex Wurz in the past), so it should have caused no especial difficulty for Sauber to get Giedo a seat fitting and other modifications. I’m pretty sure courts don’t excuse companies for making their own difficulties.

    2. Presumably Will Stevens and #2 Manor driver are in mortal danger, then. If only they were allowed several practice sessions before the race. Oh wait…

  3. Well, if he succeeds, that’s going to be one awkward weekend for the whole team! Wouldn’t be surprised if a “mechanical fault” prevented him from starting the race…

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      9th March 2015, 9:07

      Exactly my thoughts, haha!
      I don’t think they’d actively damage their chances of getting points out of spite to VDG, but I can’t imagine Kaltenborne/management will be talking with him much :/

      I think he should atleast be retained as a test driver.

    2. Better yet – the team could “accidentally” mix-up his setup so the car would be almost undriveable.
      Or send him out on full wets with no rain on track – as Perry McCarty experienced.

      Van der Garde should probably just take as much money as he can and go somewhere else, ’cause driving for a team who basically resents you could really damage his reputation as a driver.

      1. On the other hand if Sauber go bust and its team personnel have to write their CVs for other teams, sabotaging a driver isn’t going to make you an attractive prospect.

      2. I don’t think van der Garde has any other F1 options left, and F1 is where he wants to be, so…

        1. If he succeeds in forcing Sauber to let him drive my guess is that he will destroy his chances in F1 and maybe his driving career all together.
          I myself would never want to work for anyone who doesn’t want me.
          On the other hand, if he feels that he already have payed for something that he has not received…
          But then again if Sauber didn’t get the money from Nasr and Ericsson he wouldn’t have a seat anyway and Sauber would have followed Caterham or Marussia’s paths.

  4. At first I wasn’t very fond of Van der Garde suing Sauber over this, but to be fair, Van der Garde has a point here. They signed a contract, so Sauber not running him would be contract breach. However, if the court rules that Sauber must give a seat to Van der Garde, it will be interesting to see what will actually happen. I can’t imagine Van der Garde would want to drive for Sauber, because of the hard feelings this court case is producing. I’m not sure, but I guess it’s more likely Van der Garde and Sauber will come to some sort of settlement: Sauber will probably have to pay Van der Garde a large sum of money. I’ve heard some rumours that Sauber may give him the second seat at Manor – could happen, who knows.

    1. but would that (racing for Manor) also not be dangerous and could lead possibly to death because for the same reasons as why they say its dangerous to drive for Sauber?

      1. I’m sure the judge will recognise that that argument from Sauber is completely nonsense.

    2. – Indeed, racing for Manor would be a nice solution, if bigger teams are not interested in placing one of their young drivers.

      1. Manor shouldn’t be bound to pick up the mess left by other teams just because they have a seat available.

  5. As a lawyer, I think court will rule that Sauber has breached his contract and will award him compensation, but will not return him to his job, because Sauber has already contracts with current drivers and it would cause too much damage to Sauber to establish him as their driver again. But maybe it’ll be a good precedent for F1 teams to respect their contracts, because nowadays a contract does not guarranty driver a thing and it shouldn’t be like that. Contracts must be respected.

    1. @osvaldas31 I thought that F1 had a contract recognition board that all driver contracts had to be lodged with. I think that they made a decision when there was a tussle caused by Button signing for BAR and Williams at the same time – not sure why this body hasn’t been involved in this case?

      1. It does. The Swiss Court of Arbitration is the appeals court for the CRB, and Giedo van der Garde has already won a case against Sauber there.

    2. I agree. By the nature of their argument Sauber seem to be conceding that Giedo has a valid contract to drive for them in 2015. So the judge will rule in his favor and Sauber will have to pay him to go away. I’m wondering what kind of contract he has since drivers have been fired before to make room for someone else (HHF is a good example), so his contract must have had some silly (from a team perspective) guarantees.

  6. I assume the immaterial of the Swiss verdict derives from the fact there is no Swiss Grand Prix and therefore no means by which to compel Sauber to run van der Garde in other parts of world? An important question must be why Giedo left this legal assault so late, but the Swiss verdict proves he has a good case, as does the fact that Sauber are threatening “physical injury or even death”. He could well be on the grid come Sunday…awkward!

    1. @countrygent Sauber as a legal entity operates from Switzerland, so my guess is the jurisdiction is against the team’s head office.

    2. The Swiss Court of Arbitration is the appeals court for the Contracts Recognitions Board, which enforces F1 driver contracts worldwide. Giedo left the case this late because he was hoping until now that the Swiss Court of Arbitration’s binding verdict would be, well, binding.

    3. Does anyone know what enforcement powers the Contracts Recognition Board has?

  7. There is no way he will drive, and he knows it. So it is all about obtaining a settlement. If indeed Van der Garde brought funding to Sauber last year and for that was promised a race seat for this year, Sauber’s behaviour is shameful. I believe Sutil said he had a contract with Sauber for a race seat as well for this year by the way!

    1. what if a court rules sauber may be faced with having to pay him out and damages also, and then sauber might get into financial trouble like manor/caterham and force india.

    2. Desperate times at Hinwil…

  8. Looks like hiring pay drivers has cost Sauber more than championship points!

  9. There maybe a reason for the court in Switzerland, both Sauber and FIA have their headquarters there.
    Sauber has already lost a huge amount of goodwill and the new sponsors are not getting any positive PR.
    Their management has done some serious blunders, the team principle is not qualified for her position.
    It may be a matter in van Der Garde’s case if I can not driven nobody else can. The Victoria Supreme court will give their verdict Wednesday am 1000lt (2300 GMT Tuesdaypm)

    1. I would definitely not blame Monisha Kaltenborn for this. She seems to be a very skilled businesswoman and a good team principal. I’d rather blame the PR department or perhaps the lawyers Sauber used to terminate the contract.

      1. the team have gone backwards with her as principal.

      2. M.H.Phillips
        10th March 2015, 3:21

        Why not? Sauber’s legal department may play a hand in contract management, but who do you think made the decisions concerning the enactment or the reneging of Van der Garde’s contract? Furthermore, as a business attorney that started with Sauber as their supervising counsel, this matter totally falls within her educational jurisdiction.

      3. Couldn’t disagree more about Monisha being qualified for role of team principal. If I recall correctly, she was responsible for sponsorship and/or PR for the team. I felt there were many other more qualified persons available for that role at the time. In retrospect, it appeared Peter rewarded her more out of loyalty than out and out qualification when he decided to take a step back from the day to day operations. This team has been a joke ever since he’s left.

    2. The other reason is that it’s the Contract Recognition Board’s appeal court, thus the correct place to take a case like Giedo’s and Sauber’s if either party was dissatisfied by the CRB’s original verdict or indeed didn’t feel like consulting it.

  10. What a pathetic and weak defence from the Sauber lawyers. Also, by focussing on the risk and safety side when putting him into a seat they technically admit he is entitled to his seat!

    1. It is weak. Their argument seems to be that whilst he had a contract, they ballsed it up by not getting him fitted for it or allowing him to test it and therefore they should be let out of the contract. And they’re not even managing to back up their already weak argument with any actual facts either.

      1. Why the circus? Why didn’t Sauber offer a settlement?
        The vd Garde team appears to be well prepared – 10 steps ahead of Sauber.
        Perhaps their ultimate goal is bigger than claiming his seat..

  11. lame excuse..Sauber did ist in 2011 1,5 day before the race…

  12. If this is Sauber’s defense they must be desperate.
    It’s a difficult situation and in a way I’m sorry for Sauber, because they’ve been struggling for the last few years and this is certainly not going to help. But you can’t ignore a contract, so I think that van der Garde is doing the right thing.

  13. Re sporting disputes: Australian courts will get involved when two teams/clubs are disputing who has the right to a player/driver’s services, but are very reluctant to tell a club/team that they must use a player/driver.

    There was a case in 1995 where Rugby League players where overlooked for selection in a representative team (for reasons I won’t go into here). They challenged the relevant sporting body (from memory, in a Federal Court) to be reinstated. The court found that despite there being no valid reason why they shouldn’t be selected, it was not the court’s duty to make/enforce selections on behalf of a sporting body, because selections need not be made according to strict criteria.

    So despite “winning” the case, the players weren’t selected and didn’t play the games in question.

    In GvdG’s case, I can see a similar decision being reached: teams only 2 race seats, but (almost) all teams have more than 2 drivers contracted. Being a reserve driver is a valid reason for the team to contract a driver.

    There may be valid clauses in the contract about being a race driver and money paid etc., but will that enforceable by a state court? How quickly can Sauber or GvdG get the Federal or High Court of Australia to sit for an potential appeal or to get an injunction pending the appeal? Why didn’t GvdG launch legal action in France, where the FIA operates from, to compel the FIA to force Sauber to allow him to keep the race seat?

    If I had to bet, I’d say GvdG will be told that while he may have a contract to be a part of the team, the court cannot enforce the selection of him to drive on the weekend.

    1. Using that line of argument, it may well be that one of Ericsson or Nasr (probably Nasr as he signed last) does not have a valid contract since Sauber had already contracted two race drivers.

    2. Giedo wouldn’t have launched the case in France, or anywhere other than where he did, because the correct pathway is Contract Recognitions Board -> Swiss Court of Arbitration (for contract declaration) and then the jurisdiction for any location where CRB/Swiss Court of Arbitration decisions appear likely to be breached.

      Logically, whichever of Ericsson’s or Nasr’s contracts was lodged with the Contract Recognitions Board last is invalid, unless and until Sauber compensates Giedo for the non-performance of contract or the court rules Sauber was right to ignore it. If Sauber is found guilty and does not pay the compensation fee that the judge sets for the contract (this being Australia, a fee of some level will be set, but it is unclear whether Sauber is in a position or mind to pay it), then Sauber is obliged to replace whichever of its current race drivers it registered with the CRB last (not necessarily the last-signed) with Giedo.

      1. There are also potentially contracts with Sutil and Bianchi as well (although the latter is easily cancelled by force majeur). In that case both Ericsson and Nasr would have invalid contracts. The court could end up in a position where it grants an injunction preventing Sauber running both their drivers,

      2. I don’t know the correct avenue for contract recognition, it was just a thought/example of a possible avenue of action. But:

        Just because Van Der Garde had a valid contract for 2015 signed before either Nasr or Ericsson doesn’t invalidate either of them. There is nothing stopping a team from having 10 drivers contracted if they wanted to.

        If Van Der Garde had clauses relating to a guaranteed race seat then there should have also been compensation clauses for breaches of that condition and that is what Sauber should be paying.

        The “dangerous with a chance of death” line by Sauber is ridiculous, but it underlines to the court that it is NOT in the position to be making judgements on a technical matter it has no expertise in. The court would then have the onus of Duty of Care placed on it, and I cannot see any judge doing that.

        Deciding on a breach of contract: Courts are very good at that. Deciding who gets a race seat: An Australian court won’t enforce that.

        It’s a bit like the Heidfeld situation in 2011. Only Sauber have handled it in an even more sub-optimal fashion than Lotus.

        This situation, theoretically, also could have happened with Ferrari. They signed Vettel while having Kimi and Alonso as contracted drivers. Does that mean that a court would decide which drivers Ferrari would have to use? Or that Vettel’s contract was invalid until Alonso sought a mutual termination?

        1. the Ferrari case was different because Vettel only signed with Ferrari when Alonso has terminated his contract. There was only a delay with Alonso with signing for McLaren

        2. There is no paralell between teams that pay drivers and drivers that pay teams.

  14. How pathetic and unprofessional Sauber now is. Every major announcement/headline involving them seems to lower my opinion of them a bit more. You can’t just go around signing everyone’s contract then taking you’re pick once the financial terms become clearer (because Sutil says he had one too). Van de Garde probably had every reason to expect he’d be driving as it would have been fairly clear he was only doing the 3rd driver role for this opportunity. Considering the weak defence and desperation to get out of this, I hope Guido either gets the gig, or as the decision was probably made for financial reasons, at least all of the profit is lost after this case.

    1. yeh it is weird, if they did it for financial reasons, they risk losing more if Van de Garde sues for damages.

  15. Funny, that when asked whether signing new drivers would be a breach of Sutil’s and GvdG’s contracts, about two months ago, Kalternborn said it’s not a problem and Sauber has a strong case?
    Seriously? This is their “strong case”?

    We all know, that Mansell had real trouble fitting into a McLaren at the begenning of ’95, and they had to widen the cockpit for him, so I guess the “the chassis is not prepared for him” point could be valid (still – highly doubtful), but the seat and seatbelts? Come on!

    In the late 90′ Wilkinsaw and Arrows had similiar problems regarding driver’s contracts (Verstappen and Diniz if i recall correctly) – they were taken to court, had to pay up and eventually folded as a F1 team as we all know.
    Just like an infamous Andrea Moda team…

    I really hate that Sauber seems to be going the same path ATM.

  16. Sauber are in trouble. Their choices are, buy out VDG (won’t happen) run a 3rd car (won’t happen) or drop one of their race drivers who also have a contract. Their only hope is Bernie, if he stays out of it, Sauber might well miss Melbourne.

    1. They can’t run a third car, and if they drop one of the race drivers, they have to be bought out. Whatever happens, Sauber’s going to have a big problem…

  17. I imagine that VDG paid a considerable sum of money to Sauber for a race seat, and even if eventually he doesn’t get it, that sum of money should be returned due to the breach of contract.

    It appears Sauber have acted pretty badly, but they are only protecting their interests – trying to survive.

    1. that is not good enough, you try to survive fairly. why didnt they just get some dodgy investors onboard for a year or 2 like others do.

    2. Besides the money vd Garde also invested in -waiting- a year to finally get into that more challenging seat. Sauber is more or less responsible for killing his F1-career – this court action won’t help him either and he is probably well aware of that.
      Sauber (ab)used him in many ways as it probably also helped Sauber in their financial negotiations with Ericsson and Nasr. Not ‘Sauber’ at all.. There more to it!

  18. I feel for Sauber, because they’re in an impossible position. The bottom line is that they are so squeezed financially that they are absolutely relying on money from pay drivers in order to survive. But they’ve put themselves into this particular bind all by themselves. They signed a contract with VdG and are legally obligated to honour that contract. There’s no way they can weasel their way out of it, unless there were some clause in his contract about him being ditched in the event that someone with deeper pockets was available. No driver in the world would ever sign a contract like that.

    The outcome seems pretty clear. The court will find in VdG’s favour, and Sauber will either have to let him race (and lose the money from Ericsson) or pay him damages (also a big financial blow). Either way, Sauber have backed themselves into a corner where there seems no way for them to escape without incurring a serious financial penalty. That’s their own fault.

    Driver contracts (and a heck of a lot of other types of contract) have been increasingly ignored within F1; by teams, by drivers, and by FOM (when negotiating race hosting deals and then pulling out). This absolutely needs to stop.

    1. If GvdG gets a race seat for this weekend then or Erricsonn or Nasir is to step down, but they also have a contract stating that they are the main race drivers. So they could go to court as well.
      Sauber has only 1 choice here and that is settlement. They obviously didnt come to terms with GvdG and that could hurt them bigtime now.

      This is very poorly managed by Sauber and could potentially be Saubers downfall.

  19. So VDG wants the seat, not the money, right?
    He might get the seat. He won’t finish a single race.

    1. First of all it is probably not even his money but McGregors money (his main sponsor) and yes Giedo wants to race in F1. all drivers want that of course.
      But why do you say that he wont finish a single race if he might get the seat? Sauber will of course continue to do their best to get championship points in order to get more money from the constructors championship pool.

    2. He probably wants “a” seat. But the one in Sauber? Not so sure. People in general – no only drivers – tend to not want to be put back into a job or situation where they know they’re not wanted. Going to court can prove they should legitimately have the position, but that verdict is then most often used to negotiate a settlement. The work environment would simply be too hostile.

      I have seen speculation that Giedo’s underlying goal is to:
      a) get released from the binding contract with Sauber
      b) get a nice bag of settlement $
      c) take said bag of $ to Manor GP, for the second seat there

      Now, having a court rule that you have a valid, binding contract for a Sauber race seat would be the logical first step in that sequence. Of course, this is all speculation. But I can’t see Giedo actually trying to get the Sauber drive – he must be smart enough to not stick his head in that type of hostile situation.

      1. Would be the best solution and I think that this would also be the reason why Manor has not announced their 2nd driver yet.

        1. Meanwhile, there are also rumblings about Manor applying for a super license for Roberto Mehri. The plot thickens… :-)

  20. GB (@bgp001ruled)
    9th March 2015, 16:20

    sauber, as led zeppelin would say: “your time is gonna come..” and it is coming this week! sauber (or monisha): you really really screwed up!!! amazing!!! and sutil wants his money, too! i dont want less teams on the grid, but i am going to be glad the justice puts such a dishonest organization in its place! this will be the end of sauber! if they would have to put vdg in the car, that means one of the other wouldnt race and that would mean they will sue saber for the same reason as vdg! way to go sauber/monisha!!!

  21. If there is any good from this, it is that a brighter light will be shined on F1 and the perilous financial position of its smaller teams. For a team to allegedly swap out a driver under contract for an inexperienced one- who is essentially nothing more than a cheque- just makes all involved look bad. Now with courts involved, hopefully the negative press embarrasses the rights holder(s) to do the right thing and have a more equitable distribution of prize money.

  22. Oh dear, what a mess Sauber have got themselves into.
    Still, I can see a easy solution for this. 3 car teams!
    Now why hasn’t Bernie thought of that?

  23. Finally, we will have a 3 car team :)

  24. I must have been sleeping – this is the first I’ve heard of this case.

  25. kenneth chapman
    10th March 2015, 21:37

    if sauber are so strapped for cash that they are prepared to shaft VDG then all i can say is ‘i hope he’s on the grid when the lights go out on sunday’. peter sauber is an extremely wealthy man and if he wanted he could’ve helped to fund his eponymous company out until some other source of funds became available. the swiss court has upheld the VDG contract yet sauber are proceeding to an appeal which makes me think that they are desperate and VDG has been discarded like an old boot with a hole in the sole! we will know what is happening a a couple of hours anyway. if the court rules in favour of sauber one can only hope that VDG can take out an injunction in time to stop this farce from proceeding.

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