Felipe Nasr, Sauber, Albert Park, 2015

Sauber-van der Garde case to continue on Saturday

2015 Australian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Felipe Nasr, Sauber, Albert Park, 2015Further hearings on the dispute between Sauber and Giedo van der Garde will be heard on Saturday as the affair kept the teams’ cars from participating in today’s first practice session.

However Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson took part in the second session for the team despite the Supreme Court of Victoria’s ruling that van der Garde should be allowed to drive for them.

The court will hear the latest development in the case at 9:30am tomorrow, with the final practice session due to begin at 2pm. Both sides have been urged to find a resolution.

Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn declined to answer questions on the subject during an FIA press conference today due to the ongoing legal action, but denied it had “any effect” on her position in the team.

“We have a very clear view of what we did,” said Kaltenborn. “We had taken action, after a while we thought about it very well, and for us that was very clear. The outcome here is very different and that’s all I can say to that.”

She said the court case had “a very negative impact on the whole team”.

“The situation was for a while unclear. We now have certain actions taken against the team and we are acting accordingly. There’s nothing much more really I can say to that.”

Kaltenborn also denied the matter had any bearing on the role of Peter Sauber. “This whole matter does not have any effect on the way we work, the way the team works,” she said. “And Peter Sauber is the chairman of our company, he will continue to be in that position, his role has not changed.”

2015 F1 season

Browse all 2015 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

58 comments on “Sauber-van der Garde case to continue on Saturday”

  1. Options:

    1. Pay Giedo to settle the whole thing.
    2. Run an intra-team qualy during P3, the best two times qualify to Q3.

    1. 3. Honor the 1st 2 valid contracts and pay off the 3rd, and fire whoever on the team is responsible for the screw-up

      1. +1, the “right thing” to do. However, I suspect the third one is the major sponsor of the team, which would mean the end of it if it needs to “pay off”.

      2. It looks like they signed at least 4 drivers, though, probably 5 including Bianchi. Logically Sutil and Van der Garde were likely the first two drivers signed.

        1. But considered Ericsson and Nasr probably paid for the very existence of the team, they should have the seats.
          You can’t just let someone else pay your drive then come back and claim it when everything is settled.

          1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
            13th March 2015, 13:28

            It is said that vdg paid $8 million in August last year to guarantee guys race seat, so he was the first to “guarantee the teams future”. Vdg and Ericsson I think is the best solution.

          2. but they sold the seats that were contractually obligated to someone else. Those seats weren’t Sauber’s to sell when the signed Nasr and probably Ericsson. You can’t just drop a contract because you don’t feel like playing anymore

      3. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        13th March 2015, 13:26

        Yup that is the best way to sort this mess out

        1. Yeah, but if VDG has such a solid contract. Why did he wait so long before taking it to court? It has been no secret that Ericsson and Nasr where going to race this season. He could, and should have done this before any other driver started to pump in money in the team.

      4. If you go by when the contracts was announced on formula1.com Ericsson was announced during the American GP and Nasr on the 31st of December. But when the contracts was signed you need to ask Sauber. And they will not tell, I’m sure.
        On Swedish TV it was said that Ericsson payed the same weekend to ensure Saubers end of the season and the figure was 30 mill but I don’t remember the currency. If it was £$€ or even SEK.

        Anyway, it’s a mess.

        1. Interesting, the formula1.com article about Marcus Ericsson signing with Sauber have been deleted. It was here this morning and when I went back to the site later today I was met with 404.

    2. Option is 2 is an interesting one for the regulations.

      19.1b of the sporting regulations say that you can run additional drivers during P1 and P2. It says nothing about P3.
      19.1a says that you can run 4 drivers in the season and the changes can be made any time before the start of Q1. If any time includes during P3 they can pull it off :)

      Sauber. Egg. Face.

      1. *Option 2 is

        1. I don’t think the drivers, or even Sauber management, are too interested or concerned in finding out “who is faster deserves the seat” here. Though, as a spectator, would love to see that happen! Probably a good way to put Van Der Garde on the spot even to chance media perception a bit. Doesn’t change the fact that Sauber are to blame here.

          1. Agreed, I just wondered if the regulations would allow something like that.

      2. You can’t change drivers during P3 except through force majuere (there’s an established voluntary procedure in the cases of P1 and P2). Four-driver limit applies to all sessions across all races of the season.

    3. 4. buy another seat of someone with an easier to fire contract. like a Force india with sauber stickers!

      1. Insisting another team fires one of its drivers to get Sauber out of a mess of their own creation. That really is bringing the sport into disrepute.

        1. It wouldn’t be insisting on a firing. It would be buying out the other driver’s contract with their team. However, this is unlikely to happen as the driver bought out would probably demand a race seat in return, something that Sauber is already established to lack.

      2. 5. Get him a race seat… literally a seat, and place it at the back of the garage. “There you go Giedo, a race seat. Oh, you meant one in a car? Whoops”

    4. Apparently vdGarde paid 8 million in August 2014. How is Sauber going to pay that back?

      They used that money to fill the hole they were in back then. Just as it seems the money they got from all 4 other drivers they signed (including Bianchi) has by now evaporated as (I assume) did the money from Ecclestone.

  2. I for one think they will settle on a payout. It will not be simple but I think Sauber will take a loan from Banco do Brazil and in exchange, extend Nasr’s contract and payback the remainder of the loan over a stipulated period

    1. But Giedo is not interested in a payout – if it would be the case the whole matter would be resolved months ago.

    2. If you think Sauber will be able to pay anything back, they would have taken a loan a long time ago. But the problem is, they are not expecting to have more money, they are expecting to have less money and I don’t really know what’s their business plan. To scam some other driver into giving them more money and then ignoring him?

    3. I don’t think Sauber can pay back Giedo, at least not in terms of hard cash. Whether it can pay back Giedo another way is another matter – but it would need to be good, otherwise any refusal by Giedo would lead to the judge holding Sauber in contempt of court as if they had made no offer at all.

  3. I can foresee another difficulty arising. Van der Garde will insist on Sauber re-validating his contract with the CRB as a minimum, thus allowing FIA to issue him a Superlicense. As far as I can see, that would mean cancelling one of the other contracts filed with the CRB. Therefore, the driver in question would not be able to race this weekend and Sauber would be forced to run one car.

    1. Not really. If the contract is re-validated, then it would be a straight replacement for the race. A longer-term solution can be negotiated in time for Malaysia.

  4. They should declare bankruptcy. It’s practically inevitable. There’s an old saying in options trading “he who sells what ain’t his’n pays the price or goes to prison.” That seat, according to the courts and the contracts, was van der Garde’s. Sauber owes him a seat. But they don’t have a seat to give him. Bankruptcy is the legal remedy for this situation – either vdG accepts some other form of compensation or he owns them, so why should he accept anything but what he wants?

  5. When will Sauber do a crowdrising to make a settlement? :)

    1. Crowdfunding wouldn’t be fast enough…

    2. I meant crowdfunding, or fundraising. Messed that up:(

      @alianora-la-canta Giedo might agree to wait……

  6. Oh dear, they do look silly, don’t they?
    I read Monisha’s words as reported above several times but failed to find any concrete meaning there at all apart from “a very negative impact on the team”. But I’d suggest that the very negative impact was caused by whoever thought they could void VDG’s contract.
    “A very negative impact on the team” and also a very negative impact on F1 racing as a whole. Could there be a case for the FIA punishing Sauber for bringing Formula One into disrepute?

  7. Kaltenborn has really driven this team into the ground the last few years. You would never have seen this type of incompetence from Peter Sauber. How much longer can Sauber carry on?

  8. Grandprix.com is reporting VdG’s backers paid $8m upfront in August last year, now the team is refusing to complete the superlicence paperwork.

    1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      13th March 2015, 13:32

      It’s been said on sky sports f1 too

    2. So Sauber basically stole 8 million from VDG and his backers?

      1. Yeah, I think you can put it this way. At least it shows why GvdG is doing everything to get what he paid for.

      2. @Biggsy I wouldn’t say that. They didn’t steal the money, they just borrowed it cause they needed some cash while they worked to find deeper pockets over xmas. They were certain vdG would take a settlement in the spring and they would use the new driver’s money to buy the old driver’s contracts out.
        It isn’t stealing if you eventually give it back.
        *I don’t know the details of the Sauber/vdG issue nor am I a legal expert.

        1. Well they can let VDG drive a car for a year, and he’ll give it back to Nasr for Christmas this year.

        2. “It isn’t stealing if you eventually give it back.”

          So if someone ‘steals’ your car for a year then gives it back, in your eyes no crime has been committed? Can I take money from someone under false pretenses then just give it back later and all is well? That is not how finance works and taking money under false pretense is called fraud and you go to jail for it in the real world.

  9. I bet it’s not Giedo Van der Garde the reason this battle has a negative impact on the team. There you are, working at a F1 team that had to sign 3 pay drivers (and breach a contract in other to get the other two) just to survive, following their worst season in history having scored zero points. And all that during a financial crisis in F1…

    Obviously you’re not jumping with joy… you’re wondering “when are they going to make us all redundant?”. “How are they going to pull through?”

    This battle with GVDG is just the icing on the cake, it’s not the main course.

    1. Apparently they also signed Bianchi to get a deal from Ferrari. So in fact they signed 5 drivers for 2 cars.

  10. As Adam Cooper linked himself on Twitter yesterday, this has been going on for months, and judging by Monisha’s answers, she always knew she was doing something very shady indeed.

  11. This whole thing puts a bad taste in my mouth. If Sauber are not allowed to race on Sunday and both the McLarens and the Manors fail to fire up, which is not out of the question, we will end up with a grid of fourteen cars. I don’t think this whole thing makes anybody look good, and it especially makes Monisha Kaltenborn look dreadful, especially as she is trained in the law profession ironically. Despite the fact that they are pay drivers, I cannot help but feel sorry for whoever out of Marcus Ericsson or Felipe Nasr has to sit out the race.

    I’ve always respected Sauber for being very clever about the way they have done things. They have usually been thereabouts despite having a small budget, but they’ve managed to shoot themselves in the foot with a rocket launcher in this situation.

    1. I guess the fact that she is supposed to know something about the law made her feel that she was above it. During an interview at the time of the US GP she was heard to say that contracts are like toiletpaper to her.

  12. People put the blame squarely on Monisha, but those sorts of decisions are never “one-man” (or one woman in this case) decisions. Signing drivers is a board decision and the whole Sauber board knew what they were getting into. As the saying goes Monisha is not the only one responsible for this, but as the team principal she happens to be the one accountable.

    1. I would love to watch a race where a car is controlled by three drivers, one on the brake, one on the throttle and one steers. The team audio would be hilarious.

  13. Just because Kaltenborn is a lawyer does NOT mean she has any common sense. Fire her ASAP!!!

  14. Sucks when the drivers are paying clients. Client is always right ;) Now the question is – which one of them?

    1. Probably best to look at it chronologically. The first two contracts signed are valid. The rest of them are not valid, but drivers can sue Sauber for scamming them by selling them seats that are already sold.

  15. My suggestion: Give some of Kaltenborn’s stake in Sauber to VdG. Tell him it’s worth 8 Million and make him a minority owner in return for stepping aside.

  16. So within two years time Sauber signed contracts with Sutil, Gutierrez, Frijns, Sirotkin, vd Garde, Di Silvestro, Nasr, Ericsson and Bianchi.
    So Sauber alone could cover half of the entire starting grid…

  17. The real culprit for this mess is Bernie and his greed. He is the one bringing F1 in disrespute by not allocating the deserving revenues to the teams who make the show and they have to resort to these tactics.


Comments are closed.