Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015

Sauber ‘will not risk safety’ after Van der Garde ruling

2015 Australian Grand Prix

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Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Sauber has responded an Australian court’s decision to uphold Giedo van der Garde’s claim to have a right to drive for the team.

Van der Garde, who drove for the team in practice sessions last year, successfully argued he had a valid contract for a race seat this year. Sauber has already signed Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr to drive for them.

“We are disappointed with this decision and now need to take time to understand what it means and the impact it will have on the start of our season,” said team principal Monisha Kaltenborn.

“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.”

The first practice session for the Australian Grand Prix begins at the Albert Park circuit in just over 48 hours’ time.

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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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124 comments on “Sauber ‘will not risk safety’ after Van der Garde ruling”

  1. This is the team that put a McLaren test driver in their car at the 2011 Canadian GP between two practice sessions.
    I never liked Kaltenborn, and she’s just strengthening my opinion about her.

    1. +1 – Her background is as an accountant and now she will re-analyze the spreadsheet. GvdG doesn’t really want to drive, he wants his money back – which now he will get. Good for him!

      1. Probably more than just his money back. Believing that he had secured a seat with Sauber for 2015, he didn’t bother negotiating with other teams. Now he’s out of F1, which severely affects the future of his career.

        1. Good point! As for Monisha, she’s done. Can’t see how she won’t be fired or forced to stand down after this.

          1. el presidente
            11th March 2015, 19:06

            good point, if he ends up driving Monisha will be an official fraud,and has to stand down,.. even Bernies ‘BFF’ Flavio had to lay low for half a decade. ;)

      2. I think he does want to drive… the sauber looks pretty good. im sure he gets along well with everyone at the garage level, only at the top they will be angry at him

      3. Thought she was a lawyer, which if I’m right makes this situation even more puzzling.

    2. I guarantee you that if “Michael” Kaltenborn had signed four drivers to just two race seats this year in a major contractual snafu, there would be far less venom being directed at the hypothetical *Mr.* Kaltenborn.

        1. Basically, a male team principal who made these same errors would not face even half of the criticism that Monisha Kaltenborn has for this, or the pointless 2014 season, or Frijns losing his test driver role, or Kobayashi being sacked…

          1. So on top of the “safety” card, you say Kaltenborn should now play the “gender” card. It is not an error when you sell the one single item to 2 different people, that is tantamount to fraud but since it is a civil matter big business relies on the huge cost of litigation to get away with it, obviously in this case the cost to VdG and his sponsors made it imperative to sue.

          2. @rjoconnell to say that Kaltenborn is the victim of sexism is easy to assert, and in one sense impossible to disprove, since the counterfactual (a male team principal making the same errors) never occurred.

            However, I think you’re wrong. This is a terrible pickle which Sauber finds itself in, although it is of course still possible for some kind of negotiated settlement to be achieved.

            It seems that Monisha has signed two new drivers for 2015, without having proper grounds to terminate vdG’s existing contract for 2015. As the team principal, she has to bear ultimate responsibility for that. Seriously, can you say why this is anything other than a giant stuff up?

            Of course I have great sympathy for the financial plight with Sauber finds itself in, which no doubt is at the root of this particular snafu. But you really do expect better from a team principal when it comes to decisions of this kind, regardless of the gender of the person fulfilling the role.

            Anyone who visits this site regularly knows that all team principals and senior leaders cop plenty of flack for their decisions, every day of the week. Think of all the things said over the years about Horner, or Dennis, or Domenicalli, or Mattiaci, or Boullier or numerous others.

            Women are perfectly capable of filling senior management roles in all walks of life, including in F1. But part of the territory in any senior role is that sometimes the buck really does stop with you, and that means from time to time you will be on the end of some perfectly justified criticism when you get things wrong.

          3. @rjocononnell Making errors leads to criticism regardless of gender in my opinion. I couldn’t care less about whether a female or male made them – in this case it was a female, and in the English language I couldn’t get around without that pointed out – in my native language we have the same word for he and she, I wonder if you would have thought from me saying “I never liked Kaltenborn, and [he/she regardless of gender]’s just strengthening my opinion about [him/her regardless of gender].” that my opinion was about a woman. Because it wasn’t, it was about a bad team principal regarding the stupid argument said by that team principal.

          4. Doubt that… Male or female this was a sloppy piece of management. Though to your point, Kaltenborn is not doing the idea of women in F1 any favours.

          5. Exactly the opposite, a male team principal would’ve been fired by now or had (been forced to) resign. The only thing keeping her job is her gender.

          6. @hunocsi
            I never liked Kaltenborn, and they are just strengthening my opinion about them.

          7. @fast

            I think the fact that she owns one third of the team is the reason she hasn’t yet been fired for this mess.

            http://www.grandprixtimes.com/news/display/06007

          8. I don’t see Claire Williams coming in for unwarranted criticism.

      1. I’m pretty sure we’re would all consider it just as foolish regardless if sex. We just wouldn’t have to mince our words as much for fear of being accused of sexism.

        This isn’t just a risky business model, it’s just outright wrong ethically and i don’t care if it’s a women, man or Bernie Ecclestone doing it they shouldn’t get away with it.

        1. I agree, @philipgb, that Bernie is definitely in a separate category to the normal classification of sex ;-)

      2. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        11th March 2015, 7:17

        Gender has got nothing to do with this.
        As is has got nothing to do with most issues it is discussed in.

        1. we’ve reached the stage in equality where women can be criticized for their screw-ups just like men.

      3. No, not really. It’s not the lack of a Y chromosome that people are taking exception to, it’s the combination of a legal background, and the statement that “Contracts are meaningless”. As near as I can tell, she signed *four* contracts with drivers for 2015, and at least one of them (van der Garde’s) doesn’t have any reasonable escape clauses for Sauber.

        Given that they’re a publicly traded corporation, this was either negligence or arrogance. Either way, Sauber F1 has a problem.

        To my knowledge, no one has accused Kaltenborn of criminal conduct, so she’s definitely faring better than some former (and current) team principals.

        1. el presidente
          11th March 2015, 19:10

          well, let me do it then..

          Kaltenworn is a Bilk.

    3. so who gets the flick if he gets to drive or do they get a 3rd car on the grid

    4. Wo wo ow wo…WO!!!!!… Really Sauber?… We all have to witness Pastor Maldonado almost killed a marshal, crash almost every single race, cause some drivers to DNF because he drives like a maniac and you are worried about the safety of the race because the hasn’t tested the ’15 car? How about the Manor Team’s cars that haven’t tested yet and their drivers whom haven’t even driven the cars?

      1. FIRE YOUR LAWYER SAUBER
      2. FIRE WHOEVER GOT YOU IN THIS MESS
      3. IF IT COMES TO SELECTING A TEAMMATE FOR VAN DER GARDE CHOOSE NASR.. HE BROUGHT THE BIGGER SPONSORSHIP. YOU HAVE NO OTHER OPTION.

      1. Politics of F1 are stupid and rather petty. If this was a normal company they would be shut down, forced to pay the bill leaving a hole in everyones pocket.
        No doubt this is another team going bankrupt at the end of this season which is a shame and then this “sport” is then really at risk.
        Personally I prefer WEC now they support their teams that race and WEC cars aren’t much slower.
        Also the safety card is a little ridiculous to play in this matter and someone posted about the sexism card. What does sexism have to do with fraud?

  2. I wonder if they will run after Bernie or Todt for help.

    1. I believe they already have a $10m. advance, It would be a pity if another team of long-standing goes broke but better that than survival by de-frauding backers and employees.

  3. Somehow, I find this a travesty of the sport of F1. This driver, (born Giedo Gijsbertus Garbagertus Garbage Gurva Geido Garden Gobble Gobble Garage Gerrit Gayj Gone Gal van der Garde according to Wikipedia) has not raced competitively for a year and a half, has not been involved with the development of this year’s Sauber, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Sauber can do their best to keep him off the track for safety reasons. I’m sure he’s got his fans who will not appreciate my comment, but I’m against the idea of lawyers and judges dictating to F1 teams.

    1. Well I’m not his fan, but I can’t take your comment seriously. Please tell me you are joking.

    2. I’m all for drivers who willl stand up against teambosses neglecting promises and contracts! So yes thats why you have lawyers and judges!

    3. Well maybe a team will learn that once a contract has been signed it cant simple be forgotten if a driver with more sponsorship money comes along waving the cash, there is a reason the Sauber is blue & yellow this season and it’s not because they liked the colours. Hopefully Sauber and other teams who would be prepared to do a similar move have learned a lesson here.

    4. “has not been involved with the development of this year’s Sauber” @paul-a He actually did as he did some Friday running for the team last year & gave them feedback which would have gone into the development of this years car.

      Giedo has driven more than 1 F1 car, He’s done a full season of racing & did running in a Sauber a dozen times in 2014. A driver of his level of experience with as much F1 running as he’s had will be able to jump into any F1 car & figure it out within a day of running.

      I would also point out that going into 2013 Adrian Sutil hadn’t raced an F1 car for a year & yet he had an exceptionally good 1st race back at Melbourne & was not a safety issue at all in that race.

    5. @paul-a, as @hunocsi has pointed out above, this is the same team which in 2011 borrowed McLaren’s reserve driver on a few hours notice and put him in Perez’s seat part way through the Canadian GP weekend –

      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2011/06/10/pedro-de-la-rosa-takes-sergio-perezs-place-canada/

      The safety argument is complete nonsense, and everyone in F1 knows it.

    6. He’s driven last years car 7 times in free practice sessions, and survived an entire season driving a Caterham.

      He’s probably at least as qualified as Nasr to be behind the wheel of the C34.

  4. Isn’t Monisha Kaltenborn not only CEO of Sauber but a Lawyer as well?? And she ignored a legally binding contract with Giedo? Can’t a lawyer be disbarred for something like that?

    1. No. A contract is not a representation to a court.

  5. I believe this is the beginning of the end for Sauber. I don’t see an easy way out for them, and as a team they don’t deserve this but they need to pay the price for the actions of those in charge. I’d like to know what Peter Sauber thinks of all this.

    1. @dpod It doesn’t look good for Sauber. I think that Renault is still looking for a new works team. Maybe they could buy Sauber after this season.

      1. I’m not sure how far into bed Sauber are with Ferrari for Renault to buy the team and for it not to get messy.

      2. @corix Not a bad suggestion, but I’m not sure if they would want to walk into the mess they are currently in :/

      3. If Renault go through with becoming a works team again, I think they will be looking elsewhere before considering Sauber. How much debt do Sauber have?

  6. It would ridiculous for him to race. Ridiculous for Sauber to give someone who hasn’t tested the car at all a drive; but even stupider for the old, very average journey man rich kid who’s trying to drive. I really hope they just pay him off, van der Garde’s a moron if he thinks anything good will come of driving for a team he just sued.

    1. i disagree with everything you have just written.

    2. (@jmc200) disagree with you 100%

      1. To be honest I’d just got in from the pub when I wrote that and was a bit angry. With hindsight, yes van der Garde should be be very angry, but I still think he’s stupid to try and drive. The working atmosphere will be terrible.

    3. The mechanics and engineers may well have a different view of him to Sauber’s management.

  7. Good on Van Der Garde and really the most pathetic excuse by a team imaginable. The safety angle is the last resort of a scoundrel. Really have no respect for Sauber at this point. Very happy the car looked improved, but it’s clear they had a very solid contract with GVG that they just ignored. As F1 folks like to remind fans, F1’s a business. Well, contracts are the backbone of business. And I’m sure they were happy to take Van Der Garde’s money last year when it was to their benefit.

  8. gustavo maia
    11th March 2015, 0:54

    Well, give him a third car.

  9. Sauber definitely dropped the ball with this case. I can’t see how safety is really so much of an issue, especially since VDG has experience with F1 cars. And he drove in FP1 a number of times last year, didn’t he? Also, how much practice did Will Stevens or Andre Lotterer have before their one-offs last year? Not identical situations, really, but I think they’re similar enough to invalidate Sauber’s arguments.

  10. VDG will do just fine in this life, never let them step on you, besides F1 is no charity is a bussiness a the one who pays normally calls the shots, I’m sure Sauber will be extremely attentive to what VDG decides to do now, I’m sure no one was returning his calls….
    Monisha is no magician, two teams went in administration last year, a third one almost miss the complete testing, one teams will use a 2014 engine and car but the Sauber car was on time and looks better than last year, she just postponing the inevitable no matter what. Bernie make this business for himself and will take it with him, no one really believes he gives a rat tail what happen when he is gone.

    1. Sorry: I see no valid arguments here! The contract clause was in June / July; very very bad business practice. What he decides to do is simple : he will go to the team; and if the team does not respond the judge willl be a phone call away…… (as he actually said in the court case)

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      11th March 2015, 4:36

      I do not have a clue what you are trying to say!

  11. Well, that’s a shame. Can’t blame VDG since he was clearly correct to take them to court. Sauber seemed to be on the upswing this year and it’ll be a shame if a stupid mistake effects their season.

    I’d still be surprised if we see VDG racing at any point this year. There will be some sort of financial compensation, most likely. It would probably be cheaper to pay him off rather than risk losing the sponsorship that Ericsson or Nasr bring.

    1. You are assuming there is money or assets that can be used to repay the driver that misses out.

      1. Monisha can always part with some percentage of team ownership, slip it into VDG’s pocket in they don’t have cash to pay him off. It’s her mess after all, and if she wants to lead by example, she’s the first one that should make a sacrifice for the good of the team.

  12. just how much does vgd stand to gain financially? surely he hasn’t paid the Sauber already for a seat this year? and equally as surely, this is not the way to go about ensuring his future as a f1 driver?

    i am astounded that such a situation has developed. seriously strange. even a school kid could avoid making them-self open to this type of court action. but, as in the past, no doubt other teams or even directing powers may see this poor fortune as an opportunity to get what they want, ie. fewer teams on the grid, assuming that is still a priority

    1. @mog:

      surely he hasn’t paid the Sauber already for a seat this year?

      If rumors are to be believed, he made a payment of € 10M last year towards securing his contract for 2015.

  13. While I do agree that it was very poor of Sauber to defraud VDG of his rightful contract, but I also think it’s extremely petty and childish of VDG to wait until a week before Melbourne to sue when we have known Sauber’s driver lineup for months. On this basis I am disappointed in Sauber, but I do NOT believe VDG deserves anything now, he has shown through this that he doesn’t have enough maturity to race in F1, he simply wants to cause havoc to get back at the team. Then he’ll wonder why his car fails on lap 2…

    1. You don’t know what you are talking about, VdG would not have known Sauber meant to drop him until November last year, then he would have had to negotiate with the team over Xmas before he could invoke an arbitration hearing in Switzerland, a hearing that was settled in his favour, he had to go to court in Australia because Sauber refused to honour the Swiss ruling.

      1. Maybe it’s just me, but I think Sauber kinda made the point that they didn’t want to negotiate by, umm, maybe signing 2 other drivers? Anyway, something tells me they weren’t having Christmas dinner together, and VDG was just taking his sweet time to let Sauber feel his wrath

      2. Plus, no matter the rest of the timeline, he could have taken legal action in Australia much earlier, to avoid this chaos. But alas, he is but a child

        1. Not with out a valid judgement to enforce. He had to go thru the swiss arbitration first. With that in hand im sure he tried negotiations with Sauber. The were disinclined to settle figuring that VdG wouldn’t try and get his judgment enforced. Theoretically he would have to go thru this process in every country. Im sure Sauber will loosen their purse strings and pay him bavk and likely some additional compensation. Assuming they have any money left…

        2. No he could not. Do some reasearch and you will see the timeline. Moreover every effort to get a resonse from sauber to solve was apparently met with deafening silence….

          1. el presidente
            11th March 2015, 19:24

            yes, very typical, like that one friend that never answers the phone after you borrowed him money. luckily with ‘friends’ a lesson like that is learned for 50bucks.. v/dGarde is down more like 10mills.

            I hope he either gets the drive, or that he sues and sues them until they hit rockbottom.

            sutil is also filing a case, so my money is on Sauber giving him the drive, moreso because it appeared that both Nasr and Ericsson have clauses in their contracts that could have them sidelined in certain circumstances.

    2. The Swiss arbitration verdict was issued only last week so its really the earliest possible moment to be able to get the Aussie court rule on upholding the verdict Davy.
      Given that VdGarde learnt about not driving the moment he saw the press release about Nasr driving (the team hadn’t told him up front) just like the rest of us, its hardly a surprise that this actions come as late as they do. I certainly wouldn’t blame VdGarde for that however.

      By the way, Sauber has apparently lodged an appeal to the desicion taking it into thursday (wanting to make sure they can’t prepare the car for Giedo?).

      Oh, and its important to note that even if Sauber manages to somehow play the safetycard in Australia, the judge noted that it

      “applies to the whole of the 2015 Formula 1 season – not just in relation to the coming few days in Melbourne for the Australian GP.”

      And a team is certainly able to get the right seat belts and seat in place until the next race of the season.

  14. The decision is done and dusted. Now I hope the team at the track are mature about it and give GvdG maximum free practice milage leading up to the race.

  15. I’m glad VDG won the case. He was perfectly right to sue them. It’s a contract and it exists for a reason. If someone is so worried about where is Sauber going to get money to pay him off (if they don’t give him the drive), well, Monisha made the mistake, so Monisha can free herself up from some percentage of team’s ownership. There’s always a way. If someone needs to make a sacrifice for the greater good of the team, than I can’t image a better person than a team owner or a team principal.

    1. el presidente
      11th March 2015, 19:26

      Monisha is a fraudulent bilk, this will cost her her job no matter what, i can not see her continue after this debacle.

  16. Too bad, I like Sauber as a team and Kaltenborn as principal, but this smacks of bad faith and it’s just one more drop in F1’s bad news bucket.

  17. What a mess, can’t blame a driver who has a contract, anyone sacked without a valid reason has the right to sue, I don’t buy the driver won’t fit argument,.
    Its going to be fascinating to see how they respond.

  18. Very messy show from Sauber,
    It’s got nothing to do with the gender of the current team principal. It’s just a poor show from a team I once was proud to support. They must be desperate for cash.

  19. No one told the judge that contracts arent really contracts in F1. Does anyone remember all of that nonsense early on in Jenson Button’s career? Kimi being paid gardening leave for a year when Ferrari managed to get Alonso? Contracts can be broken.

    What jurisdiction does an Australian court have over an F1 team anyway? Can’t Sauber just stick it to the court and refuse? Whats an Aussie court going to do to a company based in Switzerland? send Victorian Police to the pit garage?

    1. @tomcat173

      Kimi being paid gardening leave for a year when Ferrari managed to get Alonso? Contracts can be broken.

      That Kimi was paid gardening leave actually shows that contracts can’t simply be broken.

      What jurisdiction does an Australian court have over an F1 team anyway? Can’t Sauber just stick it to the court and refuse? Whats an Aussie court going to do to a company based in Switzerland

      The team is going motor racing in Australia so…….

      Basically for contracts to be “broken” some money will probably have to be involved. That’s what hapened with Kimi, and that’s what some readers say is what Giedo is trying to do.

      1. @davidnotcoulthard Well it depends on your definition of “breaking” the contract is.

        Granted Ferrari didn’t technically break their contract with Kimi… but they contracted him with the intent of putting him in the car as a race driver… the point is about the intent of the contract. The fact that they then chose to go another way with Alonso doesn’t mean they weren’t bound to pay Kimi. So yeah, I’m sure its an attempt by VDG to recoup some sponsorship money or compensation.

        1. @tomcat173 Yeah, but then in the first sentence of your ‘parent’ post you seem to imply that Sauber should be alowed to cancel contracts at whim without compensation, and then using Kimi (and Jenson but I was an infant then so I know none of that) as a sort of evidence – which I don’t find too valid hence my reply.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      11th March 2015, 4:59

      @tomcat173,
      In addition to what @davidnotcoulthard said.

      Does anyone remember all of that nonsense early on in Jenson Button’s career?

      Yep – 2 valid contracts, which the arbitration panel had to help and sort that one out. And money changed hands to get all parties to agree, proving that contracts are really contracts and cannot simply be ignored.

      What jurisdiction does an Australian court have over an F1 team anyway?

      The Australian court can uphold a verdict by a Swiss court, especially since Sauber’s actions were contradicting that verdict.

      1. On what basis does an Australian court have jurisdiction over who gets in a Sauber? Is it purely based on location? Location of the team? Location of the the governing body that runs the sport? The Australian court can uphold a verdict as much as they like, but it doesnt mean they have the ability to determine what happens in sport.

        The larger point is that the court might have ruled that Sauber is wrong, but it isnt going to guarantee that this bloke gets in the car! The point is that a contract is a commitment by one party to do something (provide a race seat) for the other party in exchange for something else (cash)… clearly the contract is ineffective at enforcing that agreement to actually happen.

        1. On what basis does an Australian court have jurisdiction over who gets in a Sauber? Is it purely based on location?

          Yes, location of where the race is to be held (as far as I know it can be assumed that the court drama involving vdG is about the Australian race rather than the whole season).

          Having said that…..I guess @keithcollantine didn’t really say what would happen to Sauber if the Australian (or Swiss) ruling was ignored by Sauber. Any ideas as to that, F1F-reading lawyers?

          1. As far as I see it, the court will now have to enforce (i.e. if needed with use of the AUS police) to make sure that Sauber does not let the other guys take the track in “VdGardes” car and make sure they allow him into the garage to prepare for and take part in all sessions.

            That is why Sauber’s only possible defense probably is stating that the car isn’t safe to be raced that way and more or less leave VdGarde sitting in the garage in the car.

        2. @tomcat173, The judgement by the arbitration panel in Switzerland (where Sauber are based) is applicable internationally, so the judgement by the Swizz court is legal in all jurisdictions that are signatories to the same international agreement.
          In this instance, the courts can determine who drives for the team – the governing body and the sport have no international legal status, so they have to yield to international law (look at Briatore forcing the FIA to have to overturn its ban on him after obtaining a ruling against them).

          @davidnotcoulthard, I believe that, if Sauber proceed to block van der Garde from competing with a valid judgement in his favour, he can then have bailiffs appointed to seize Sauber’s assets in Australia.

    3. That’s such a nonsense comment. Please tell me you are still too young to actually be employed. I can’t imagine any other reason for such a reasoning on your behalf.

  20. when they say they ‘will not risk safety’ by putting VDG in the car, I have a feeling Sauber will not participate in Australia altogether…

    this is of course bad, but maybe it will give them time to sort this whole mess [and by that I mean paying VDG out of his contract, which I suppose is all he really wants] while they get ready for Malaysia.

  21. Sutil won his case. VDG also won, but he wants to drive. This means Sauber are going to rubbish something and miss VDG races for a number of reasons until Giedo quits? Sauber’s claim is groundless, their chassis was designed deep into 2014 when they filled one of the tallest drivers, at the last minute they got rid of 2 pre-signed drivers, if their rub was made for short drivers Sauber is only admitting premeditation. Of course this is not the case, however it’s pointless to argue, what they can do is follow Caterham’s lead. Make it so the car only starts the race and pits on lap 1 for misterious problem #0 money.

    1. I think the problem they have now is that if they allow VdGarde to take to the track in the car one of their other drivers will sue for breach of contract instead @peartree!

      A big mess by now.

      1. @bascb Yes undoubtedly. Also I’ve just noticed now that Monisha’s argument of safety also raises question on Sauber because in the end as the courts ruled, it’s Sauber’s fault, and that’s including the convenient safety issue.

  22. Wow Sauber. What a mess you’re in. Playing the safety card is a cop out. A contract is a contract and unless there are specific exit clauses. GvdG I hope you drive in Australia. Never forget how driven an F1 driver is. All they want to be is drive in the pinnacle class of motorsport. I applaud vdG for standing up for himself and chasing his dream. This has left a very bitter taste in my mouth both towards Sauber and the Formula 1 “business” or perhaps I should say “circus”.

  23. It would be sad to see another team leave F1 as a result of something as farcical as this, but they have put themselves there.

    Just because you are struggling for cash, it does not give you the right to stand on people to prop yourself back up again. How would you all feel if a company like Amazon, for example, was having huge cash flow issue and they took your payments and didn’t fulfil your order – stating that their financial difficulties meant they can’t (this is a hypothetical situation). You’d make a claim through your card company or the courts to try and get it back wouldn’t you? Because they broke their contract to give you goods in exchange for your payment.

    This is almost exactly what the arbitration system is. Sauber made a contract with Giedo to take his money in exchange for a reserve role last season with some Friday drives – they fulfilled this part. But there was an option in the contract to give Giedo a full time drive for this season in exchange for some further money. They have obviously taken up this option and the money and then not fulfilled their side of the contract to give him the seat. Love or hate Giedo, this is not fair and he does absolutely right to take them to court to either get his money back or make them fulfil the contract.

    Furthermore, even if there was no money involved he would still be due compensation due to the fact they contracted him to a race seat and reneged on the deal and he could have had opportunities elsewhere that he didn’t look for because he rightly felt he had a valid contract.

    For me, the fact that he still wants to drive for them is admirable, because I would take my pot of money elsewhere and leave their ship to sink if they did this to me. The lack of respect by the Sauber team is disgusting and diabolical.

  24. I do not comprehend how Monisha created this situation. She is trying to save the team, and I think, without Ericsson’s and Nasr’s money we would not see Sauber at all by now. But why she didn’t agreed on some terms with Giedo? Perhaps, she offered him money, but now this “super-fast so-called racer” wants to get the seat in any case.
    I do not like Giedo, he has not achieved anything special, he is a terrible driver. Well, his bride is a daughter of a billionaire, that is why he has plenty of money, but F1 is not a toy. I believe it was possible for him to understand why Monisha threw him out of the team, and he could have negotiated about what to do. Look at what Hulk/Rai made when they had problems with their teams couple of years ago. Instead, VDG decides to start the season with a scandal.
    Now I just hope that Sauber team will fall into bankruptcy in Spain, for instance, and then I’d love to see VDG face.

    1. Well @Slava , they then should never have taken his 15 million pounds. He has paid, so did Sutil, Nasr & Ericsson. They basically stole money from 2 of the 4.

  25. I’d say, kick out Nasr the complete rookie and reinstate Giedo

    1. But Nasr is probably worth a lot more financially to the team to keep around

  26. Lost all sympathy for Sauber here.

    You can call this case being about contracts etc. But basicly what it boils down to is that they stole several million dollars of GvG .

    Now tell me who here would not condemn the theft of that much money?

  27. VDG won’t want to be responsible for bringing the team down IMO, so a payoff is still the most likely scenario here I believe. I admire him for standing up for his values and pursuing this. Sauber went for the ‘do and deal with it later’ approach which has now come back to bite them.

  28. I love the relatively decent and honest outside world intruding on F1, for once.

  29. I’m confused. If the court rules he has to drive, what of the two drivers contracted and expected to drive currently? Does GvdG’s contract cancel one of theirs because it was written sooner? Or would allowing him to take a seat breach the other driver’s contract in exactly the same way, with exactly the same ruling?

    1. Since his contract was made earlier, he has a right to driver over Nasr and Ericsson, but that doesn’t mean that their contracts are worthless. They on the other hand have a right to sue Sauber too for basically selling them something which was already sold and non-existent. So, while VDG has a right to seat in the car, the other two have a right to sue for basically being given an illegal contract to sign, because Sauber had no right to offer two seats in the first place, since one seat was already contracted.

  30. According to Sauber, the young driver test at the end of each season must be life threatening. Sauber must be horrified by the fact that a bunch of inexperienced F1 drivers share the same track every year.

    Sauber = becoming a joke!

  31. Aside from the obvious points about contracts needing to be upheld, I’m particularly glad that the court ruled that there were no valid safety concerns. Because if they had ruled in favour of Sauber’s argument, then it might not lawfully be possible for Manor to race in Australia.

    But what Sauber have done is effectively a high level scam. They got multiple drivers to sign contracts for race seats, involving them handing money to Sauber in good faith, only to find that Sauber never had any intention of upholding their side of the agreement. It’s shocking behaviour from any professional organisation. Whatever the future may hold for Sauber, it is entirely of their own making. Lost a lot of respect for them.

    1. I agree 100%.

    2. Not 100% correct. They ruled that the safety side has nothing to do with the contractual side. The safety side is a FIA concern. That is why it is 100% likely they again will loose in the appeal.

  32. As someone who hasn’t strictly being following the case as such, I wonder if this court ruling is specifically in reference to the Australian round, will be see subsequent hearings in Malaysia and so on until some form of compensatory agreement is forged to officially sever the connection between VdG and Sauber.

    1. The judge explicitly mentioned this not being just about Australia but about the whole season @mazzaf1

  33. Must say this is Boeing highly entertaining.
    How van Saber get over this pickle? How would the drivers react if one of tem is to lose his seat?

  34. Sauber judged that firing Sutil and VDG was necessary to save the 300 people employed at the team. Ericsson and Nasr bring other levels of money. VDG has shown that he cares not about the 300 employees, but rather about himself only. I fully accept the way Sutil is going about this, suing for money in “quiet”. Why would VDG wait until 2-3 days before the race weekend begins? To put pressure on Sauber. Why would they use media in this fashion? To make Sauber look like the bad guys.

    No, I don’t blame Sauber for letting VDG go. They had to or they would have collapsed entirely. Then VDG would have no team to drive for anyway.

    No other team is going to pick VDG up either. The way he has gone about this makes him look like a selfish trouble maker.

    1. I cannot stress how much I can’t comprehend your logic.

    2. Sauber is to blame if they didn’t terminate VDG’s contract properly when it was the time.

      Now the guy has a cause and is right and the team is looking completely amateurish in front of their new drivers by this point.

    3. The oh the team would collapse play is utter nonsense. Sorry. If you cannot budget and organize a multimillio dollar company by riskmanagement alone then the cfo should be fired…..

    4. (@chrischrill) your logic is horrible, He didn’t wait until the “last minute”, he won in Swiss court. Sauber IGNORED this ruling and continued with their current line up, they lost AGAIN in Australia, now Sauber cry that they don’t have time to get VdG up to speed and its a safety concern. Saubers actions IS ALL SMOKE my friend!!!!!

  35. To be honest, this boils down to three valid contracts for two cars. They have to break one contract. It’s a matter of who will be the cheapest. Surely there is an out clause in every contract. Kicking VDG will lose some sponsors, maybe. Kicking Nasr or Ericsson will lose many more.

    Logically, cancelling one contract and paying some sort of fee is the only way out. They will have to do so for one of the three drivers or they will have to agree shared driving duties!! One race Ericsson+Nasr, next VDG+Nasr, next Ericsson+VDG.

    1. Sort of right there, the way I see it their could be someone else to blame here aswell although I’m not denying that the whole thing is still definitely Monisha’s fault. But still technically only 2 drivers are gonna race, to the courts and law you could say that the third and last contract must be the one to go, (is that Ericson’s I dont know?) as Ericson’s lawlayers etc should have found out before hand that his contract is not gonna be valid for a race seat as sauber have 2 legit contracts and wouldn’t sign unless the other is gone and so could be deemed slightly their fault too , although more by mistake. However could lead to this 3rd contract being terminated in favour of VDG’s because it was last.

      Another option is money, they might say to sponsers of the two current drivers to pay more to be able to race to clear this up quickly and get on with racing.

    2. Actually its 4 contracts, as Sutil is also well on his way with claiming damaged for unlawfull dismissal @chrischrill. Its pretty galling that the team didn’t sort out their drivers and agreed on something (a bit like Marussia seperating with Glock a few years back), VdGarde learned he wouldn’t be driving when Sauber put out a press release on having signed Nasr in Brazil. Sutil wasn’t ever given notice either.

  36. This is really a common case for a struggling team.
    Remember Manor/Marussia STILL owes payment to Glock after his contract was broken in a winter 2 years ago! Also, 2 years after Trulli’s contract was broken by Caterham in a winter test, he had to sue Caterham to gain his payment…

  37. VDG wants the team. His father-in-law already try to buy it last year…
    I have a doubt. What is the age average on the site?

  38. As one of the “Sauber die-hard Fan” I really think this is a smoke curtain. We are talking about F1. With millions dancing around. We buy cell phones, houses, cars and even a chainsaw and liabilities are always “taken care”. Do you still believe F1 teams do not have a proper exit clause? Please!!!! Everything is on purpose. I dont know if they are trying to spice up a season or if they try to keep ALONSO thunderbolt-gate away from media. VDG remembered he would have to drive for Sauber just 3 days away of Melbourne? What happened in November, when everybody knew Sauber’s new line up? SMOKE CURTAIN. Again….Formula 1. There must be a million clauses. From drivers weight (even if I find 20M and want to drive for Sauber…I dont think I will be allowed) to drivers performance. This is just making us talk about Sauber and distract us from important stuff.

  39. Jeopardising the safety of the team and other drivers? I’ve never heard such utter garbage. As many have mentioned, de la Rosa – Canada 2011 immediately springs to mind.

    Sauber are appealing tomorrow. Good luck with that.

    I can’t predict for sure what will happen, but van der Garde wants that seat and he now has the right to take it. Sauber might just have to grin and bear it. I can’t imagine there will be that much animosity amongst the mechanics and van der Garde, just the management and him.

    Now what a story it would be if he raced and got into the points!

  40. People People. This is all marketing for Sauber team, you will see them more often on camera and it will mean more money and stuff. I think this is what is all about

  41. Jamesluke2488
    11th March 2015, 21:55

    I think the simple fact is, a pay driver is only there for money, and whichever driver brings the most money will always get the seat, which is probably happened in this case. They should simply pay van der garde back him money and some compensation and move on. However I now read he thinks he is going to drive for the team. This is just silly no one at sauber wants him, he is a poor driver at best, just take the cash and move on.

  42. If Nars don’t race, no money from Banco do Brasil.
    But nah, Sauber isn’t at risk by that situation, it’s all good…

  43. the appeal hearing in updates by twitter @adamcooperf1 so far is looking VDG will stand again

  44. Here you can follow live, the Sauber appeal trial: http://grandepremio.uol.com.br/ao-vivo

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