No ‘media mud fight’ over van der Garde – Sauber

2015 F1 season

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Sauber says it wishes to avoid a “mud fight via the media” and has refrained from commenting directly on Giedo van der Garde’s statement earlier today.

Van der Garde accused Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn of being “adamant” that he would not drive for the team despite “my legal rights to do so and a series of rulings and court orders in my favour and despite my race driving abilities”.

In a statement issued several hours later Sauber said it was “surprised” by van der Garde’s comments.

Addressing its fans directly, Sauber added: “We don’t know about Giedo’s intentions. He may try to present himself as a winner, while we had actually hoped to come to rest after our agreement. Giedo decided to take a different approach – the reasoning behind we cannot understand.”

“We’d have very good answers to the many statements and accusations in Giedo’s post. But to expand on this wouldn’t help our race team nor our fans and partners. It would only encourage a mud fight via the media and we will not lend ourselves to that. The next race in Malaysia is where our focus is and that’s where we will build up on last weekend’s success together with our drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. All our efforts are drawn to this objective.

“With this in mind we’d like to encourage you to form your own opinion about what happened, however critical it may be. From our side we herewith close the matter and look already forward to celebrating future achievements at the race track together with you.”

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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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78 comments on “No ‘media mud fight’ over van der Garde – Sauber”

  1. Classy thing would have been to keep their mouths shut. That statement makes them look like a criminal that’s been convicted but still insists that they didn’t really do anything wrong.

    GVD presents himself as a winner because he did win, multiple times. What makes me laugh is that he could have shut Sauber down last weekend at any point… and chose not to.

    1. On top of that, the reported pay off is around 15mill euro, which is almost the entire sponsering Ericsson brought with him. If they needed hos money so bad, who paid for the pay off? Bernie?

      I smell poo and i think Bernie caused it.

    2. Classy thing would have been to keep their mouths shut.

      Exactly @textuality.

      What did they change by saying “things are a bit different but we are not going to tell you anything about it”, oh and “make up your own mind” – most people will still look at the information from the court, the “defence” Sauber put up with Guido driving being “dangerous”, look at the Judge getting quite upset from the way the team tried to buy time instead of compelling with the judgement etc, as well as what VdGarde mentioned in his statement today and compare it with maybe having heard some journo’s repating “paddock rumours” about a hostile take over by VdGarde/Boekhoorn and how much the team was in a bad state, as Sauber hasn’t given any reasons to view things in a different light.

      So yes, it would have been wiser just to remain silent if they didn’t want to say anything new.

      Yes, the team was probably between a rock and a hard place, and who knows what personal things between the people involved have happened (some bad words between VdGarde and Kaltenborn maybe? pure speculation from me), but fact is that the case was ruled in VdGardes favour and the team bought him out of the contract in a settlement after Peter Sauber personally flew in from Switzerland. All in all its a sad episode of F1 that a team that was close to winning a race only 2 years back finds itself in.

    3. ColdFly F1 (@)
      18th March 2015, 21:43

      Indeed Sauber should just shut up and go back to racing. @textuality

      “we’d like to encourage you to form your own opinion about what happened”.
      I formed my opinion and concluded: incompetence.

  2. Not classy Sauber. Not classy at all.

    1. What are these ‘fans’ that they talk of? For me, the shame is it looks like Sauber might do alright this year. It does seem like it’s all for nothing though, as they seem to have lost the respect of the F1 community.

      1. Well… that’s what’s interesting, I think. If, as reported, they paid him out for 15 mil Euro, are they going to have the cash to keep up with development as the season goes on? They seem competitive now, but do you see them falling off?

  3. Very unprofessional comment from Sauber to shift the blame from themselves to Giedo van der Garde.
    And avoid a mud fight, just means: “we don’t have any good arguments against Giedo’s statement.”
    Giedo clearly comes out as winner from this case, although he hasn’t got a seat, he certainly has gained a lot of respect from the F1 world because finally a driver has the guts and the power to actually fight against a team.
    Unfortunately he didn’t get the seat but he didn’t make it easy for Sauber. Great job from him and his management and good luck securing a drive in a high class racing series in the future.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      18th March 2015, 23:23

      I agree they should have just apologized. Shame on Peter…

      1. …Peter doesnt run the team

        1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
          19th March 2015, 5:44

          but he owns it, so its worse!

  4. Pathetic cowardly behaviour from Sauber again. What shocked me the most was that Giedo said his sponsors paid the FULL COST up front in good faith in 2014. If I was in his shoes I wouldn’t rest until those involved are behind bars. Simply put they stole MILLIONS in pure daylight and they’ve got away without any sort of charges. And now they’ve got a quick car purely because of the money Giedo’s sponsors paid. Absolutely mind-boggling. I just can’t comprehend it.

    1. Well, they did pay him back, supposedly, and I’m not surprised if that money isn’t about the money Sauber took last year, plus interest.

  5. I still believe that the whole case is not black-and-white but this is just a non-statement.

    Keith, I think you should replace tomorrow’s round-up with the following statement:

    “I’d have very good links, tweets, pictures and comments for you but they would only encourage criticism and discussions and I will not lend myself to that.”

    1. LOL! good one @girts

    2. @girts It’s got to be up in two hours and that’s quite a tempting thought… :-)

  6. Very different to form our own opinion with just one side of the information.

    The biggest losser in this is Team Sauber as a brand and it´s reputation.

    1. @celeste Yep, to form our own opinion we need all the facts! BOTH sides!

      We now have one side, VdG has won 15 million euros. But how much did the 2014 and 2015 drivers bring? It was rumoured that VdG paid X million to be a reserve last year/to secure 2015. Ericsson paid upfront for 2015 when he signed his contract – so was VdG’s entire period at the team now effectively a loan to the team? Profit? Loss?

      1. From the team side, we would also know how critical it was for the team’s survival to take this sort of action – at the moment we can only presume it was so (with good reason). But maybe they don’t want us to know how close they came to folding.

  7. Giedo should have gone for the jugular and taken over. Sorry Peter, but putting your trust into Kaltenborn was a bad choice.

    1. Bravo!! Thats exactly what I was going to say!

    2. If Kaltenborn was a) as central in the contractual meltdown as none less than AUTOSPORT represent her as, and b) in anyway implicated in this abomination of a statement (a statement that seems to develop Sauber’s own legalistic culture), Kaltenborn’s position starts to become untenable.

  8. But to expand on this wouldn’t help our race team nor our fans and partners.

    Implying they still have any fans.

    1. Badum tsss… :)

      I agree with the comments above: what’s the point of releasing à statement saying ‘no comments’?

      Giedo’ s facebook post was sensible, I don’t understand why Sauber felt it needed to comment on this… Sauber, the sour grape edition…

    2. Hahah. XD
      Judging by the comments on Facebook, I don’t think they have any left. :)

  9. Neil (@neilosjames)
    18th March 2015, 16:44

    We don’t want to engage in mud-slinging, but while we’re here and there’s this nice sticky brown stuff on the floor next to us, maybe we could…

  10. petebaldwin (@)
    18th March 2015, 16:52

    I’m sorry but that is absolute rubbish.

    “We don’t know about Giedo’s intentions. He may try to present himself as a winner, while we had actually hoped to come to rest after our agreement.”

    No-one, not VDG who has had his F1 career cut short, not Sauber who have tarnished their public image and certainly not the sport that could not look more amateurish if it tried.

    What suggests that VDG is presenting himself as a winner? He said he was “sad and very disappointed” and that his “dream has been taken away from me and I know that my future in Formula One is probably over.” Does that sound like someone trying to present themselves as a winner!?

    On top of that – as far as the courts are concerned, he IS a winner! He won the case!!?

    “We’d have very good answers to the many statements and accusations in Giedo’s post. But to expand on this wouldn’t help our race team nor our fans and partners.”

    Now I have read and re-read VDG’s statement. In it, he states that he wanted to drive, that he had a valid contract, that Sauber (Monisha) was adamant he would not drive and that he decided not to push things as far as he could because he didn’t want to stop the team and their drivers from racing.

    I’m not sure what requires an answer there but as things stand, it looks like Sauber believe they can write their own rules and ignore legal contracts. VDG (and the courts) view this differently. Perhaps Sauber could explain why they did what they did? If they said it was because of financial issues, I think most of the F1 community would have sympathy for them but as things stand, most don’t.

    “With this in mind we’d like to encourage you to form your own opinion about what happened, however critical it may be. From our side we herewith close the matter and look already forward to celebrating future achievements at the race track together with you.”

    I have formed my opinion. VDG has given his side of events and you have failed to which reads to me as you have nothing to say in defence. You were in the wrong, tried to get away with it and failed. It’s cost you a chunk of money and you just want to move on. Fair enough but why try and put blame back on VDG without elaborating? I will certainly not be joining in any celebrations at any success the team has.

    This statement reads as Sauber still believing they are in the right despite the courts proving otherwise. They fail to say that they feel they are still correct in their actions but the lack of any sort of apology for failing to honour a contract shows a real lack of class.

    1. Well written.

    2. el presidente
      18th March 2015, 20:09

      That is is very well put, sir.

    3. Hear hear!

    4. +1 +1 +1

    5. Nicely written.

    6. ColdFly F1 (@)
      18th March 2015, 22:12

      well said @petebaldwin.

      Please all read GvdG statement. Not one ounce of mud slung.

    7. “Comment of the Week” right there? I think so.
      @petebaldwin saying what I think the majority of us are thinking about this whole saga.

      I think most F1 fans had a soft spot for Sauber over the years but they’ve now lost all respect from so many people. Ironically they may have a good season in 2015 but fewer people will be cheering them on I suspect.

  11. I cannot understand how Sauber allowed this entire mess to occur. If a driver has a signed, valid contract…how did the team think they were going to weasel out of that one? Sauber is fortunate Vdg didn’t want to rake them over the coals and hammer them into the ground….Saubers management is highly suspect for letting it get to such a state. Having said all that, it was really good to see both their cars/drivers in the points in Australia.

  12. For me, the only thing that can make Sauber look “decent” is if they know that when they contracted Nasr, they would need to break one of their contracted driver. Obviously in this case, they want to break the one that made the cheapest contract, thus VdG. Now, from here, Sauber can look “decent” if they claim that they already offer to pay VdG back his money but VdG side got greedy and ask for an astronomical number as a compensation. Of course Sauber still at fault, but at least they are sharing the bad guy role with VdG. Technically, no matter what the real situation here, Sauber is still the one at fault and VdG is on the right side. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t be an a-hole even if you’re on the right side.

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels this way. VdG looks a lot worse in the end of this than Sauber, but it appears I’m one of the few that feels so. Also, I don’t see why people are calling this move not classy. All they’re saying is “listen, we don’t want to talk about this anymore because it becomes a war of words. Let’s just let our results on the track talk for the team.” That’s about as classy as it gets in my view.

      1. you are the only one, the post you replied to is not even remotely close to saying vdg looks worse than sauber

        people say it’s not classy because they let 3 drivers pay them and the only defines they used was that vdg was not safe to drive

      2. Sauber took VDG’s money and then fired him. How is that classy? He’s not an investor in the company. He doesn’t owe them anything, but they can just take his money without anything given in return.

        As for their comment – if it was simple “no comment” sure, that might be classy. But it wasn’t. They threw mud at him, questioning his intentions and his integrity and how aggrieved they (Sauber) are by the whole thing. They were portraying themselves as the victims.

        Here’s the classy no comment “We’ve reached an agreement with VDG that puts this matter to rest. We wish him the best of success with his endeavors. Our focus is on our team and building off the great results we achieved in Australia at the Malaysian GP”.

        How hard would that have been?

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      18th March 2015, 22:22

      Sauber can look “decent” if they claim that they already offer to pay VdG back his money

      There are three problems with this:
      – firstly Sauber did NOT offer vdG to pay his money back. Sauber wanted to keep his 2014 funds, and just stop the contract.
      – a contract is a contract, and not an option. I have been in many contracts where I wished I could step out of it by just paying the money back.
      – Sauber ruined vdG’s chances to offer his services and money to another team (by keeping him contracted); he should be paid compensation if Sauber breaks his contract.

  13. Sauber, you are pathetic! I lost total respect for Monisha.

    Sad part is that she is a lawyer and of all people makes herself look complete incompetent, foolish and greedy.

    I have no respect for her anymore or what ever comes out of her mouth. I’m sure most of the paddock feel this way too.

    1. Yes my respect for Monisha has just evaporated…..I read both Saubers drivers brought in 40 million euros…..and its that cash they are using to pay off VDG…around 15 mill…so highest bidder got the seat…..She must be a better accountant than a lawyer….

  14. Just another black eye for Monisha! Guess from her point of view it’s better to be wrong and strong.

  15. FREE Giedo!!

  16. I am truly appalled that this ostensibly petty statement has been released. Giedo’s reflective comments were not in any way laced with malice or libel, but regret derivative of the legalistic right he has to a drive in the 2015 F1 season juxtaposed against a weekend venom and politics last time out. Sauber lost the “mud fight”, two hearings and an appeal certainly proved that, why deny him a modicum of bitterness? Was the settlement $8 million plus never use our team’s name again?

    I would hope this statement is merely the work of a trigger happy press officer, since the statement they are attempting to shoot down asserts only legal facts: Q.E.D. that he had the right to drive for them. If reports of the true extent of Kaltenborn’s role in the contractual meltdown are true, I would argue being implicated in this frankly outrageous statement would push her position to the outer reaches of acceptability. As for van der Garde, many of you will have spoken to him, he is always open and talkative with the fans, as for those that have you will know that the decision to abort a fight that could have killed the Sauber Team was completely in character. Equally, you will know that being the epicenter of attention on Friday, for all the wrong reasons, was rather uncomfortable for him.

    Giedo van der Garde was no world champion in the making, he came into the paddock via other means. However, I would like to think he was still entitled to some respect…

    1. You’re right, it was very petty. A simple ‘no comment, we are moving on’ or even dare I say it, a mea culpa, would have sufficed but instead they seem to be implying that VdG is lording it over them somehow. Sounds like they just wanted the last word in a petulant fit.

  17. In the infamous words of America’s 44th President, Barack Obama: ‘The only people that don’t want to disclose the truth, are people with something to hide.”
    Guilty as charged, Team Sauber…

  18. This Clowntenborn needs to go ASAP. She’s showing such a lack of any empathy, guilt or sense of responsibility, that she’s rivaling the one and only B.C. Ecclestone.
    I bet she’ll start getting invited to private parties with Bernie and Horner so that they can discuss how responsibility is something for other people to have.

    1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      18th March 2015, 19:57

      monisha is the second best bernie, after bernie!

  19. If sauber would hv apologized … But no pr nightmare! Look at how the fans are responding on facebook page of sauber’s statement! Very very painfull. How deep a team can fall.

  20. I don’t see how Peter Sauber wouldn’t have been consulted. Ex good guys, his team afaic. And how ironic that Sauber is German for ‘clean’!

    1. el presidente
      18th March 2015, 20:13

      yep, they should change their name to “Smutzig” ! ;)

  21. The facebook post is flooded with over 750 comments, the near totality of which are against Sauber.
    If i ever saw a P.R. blunder…

  22. There are no winners, only losers.

    VdG as lost his career, and Sauber have lost the love and respect of the teams, fans, drivers, press and anyone who as ever had even a passing interest in them.

  23. GB (@bgp001ruled)
    18th March 2015, 19:54

    Giedo, go ahead and destroy them! they dont deserve to be a operating company when they disregard contracts and keep that attitude!
    to bad there will be a team less, but saubers behavior is the worst…

  24. And any respect I had left for Sauber after last year has now completely vanished. Shocked to see this.

    And well done do Van der Garde, he has handled the media excellently, and perfectly, as well as his court case.

    1. hear hear!

  25. Mrs Kaltenborn, please be more your Garde next time

  26. I really don’t understand people’s venomous reaction to this statement. A team that doesn’t want to drag on a war of he-said-she-said and just get back to racing? that’s what everyone has wanted elsewhere. Suddenly when Sauber does it, they’re the bad guys?

    1. Yr kidding! You need explanations? Please go to Saubers facebook page and read the hundreds comments of former fans… If you still do not understand after that … Contact me!

    2. Why then did Sauber react at all @joey-poey. Its not as if “we could say more but we won’t” changes anyones opinion of the team for the positive.

  27. I don’t like van der Garde’s stance, but I think Sauber’s statement is very strange as well….

  28. In between this and their ridiculous defence in court, you’d almost wonder if they’re trying to bring their own price down to sell the team and ship off some employees for their seller, citing lack of sponsorship/merchandise sales..

  29. Such a shame Sauber ended up like this. Perhaps the most honorable team now without any honor at all.

  30. ColdFly F1 (@)
    19th March 2015, 1:03

    I used to be a fan of Sauber, liking their dedication to racing and fighting the big money teams. I was very encouraged with their consistent pace during pre-season testing.

    But they ruined it all in 1 week, and keep on doing it by (indirectly) putting all the blame on vdG. This whole sage has made a joke of Sauber’s management, and ruined their reputation.

    But let’s not forget that the engineers built a very good car and that Nasr had a very good race. I’m looking forward to their on track performance, and do not want to see or hear to much of their management during the rest of the year.

    1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      19th March 2015, 1:33

      @coldfly, that very good car and nasrs wonderful driving with their ontrack performance wont exist anymore if saubers management keeps that attitude! i wish the team the best, too, but unless they kick out the idiots messing everything up, they should go!

  31. I am not a lawyer, nor do I have or want to read all of the evidence that was presented in this case. I will however refrain from making a judgement for either side in this case. The way both parties acted were the way they felt necessary to have future success and I wish them the best of luck. There have been so many wrong doings by other F1 teams, or many corporations in which I still give my support. We are all human and will continue to make mistakes. What is good here is that both parties are in agreement with the wrongdoing that occurred and have reached a settlement.

    Now show me some good racing! That’s what I care about, what happens on track. Bring me the thrill of cars racing each other, that’s all I want. That’s all I’m a fan of. I don’t care who looks like the bad guy or who is to blame. Every top team has been there at some point or another and they pay their dues. Stop littering my race feed with political nonsense that does nothing but drive fans away and tell me how exciting it is to be watching the event taking place.

    I’m not saying we should not be informed about what takes place off the track, but let’s just focus on what happens on it. This is why we all started watching F1, or any form of racing for that matter, in the first place. I don’t like teams because they give their drivers fair contracts and make their employees happy. I like them for what they bring to the track. Bring on the next race and entertain me with what you do best.

    See you in Malaysia!

    1. well said.

  32. Saying you’re not dignifying with a response is a response.

    So 2-0 to Van der Garde then. He wins the court argument and the public tit for tat as well.

    You either actually say nothing on the subject or you present your side. Just saying oh we have a better point, but we’re being the bigger party and refraining from making it just smacks of a weak argument. Their statement was only missing :-P from the end to top it off.

  33. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    19th March 2015, 10:20

    It’s absolutely pathetic for Sauber to come out with this kind of petty point scoring language at this juncture.

    If VDG had been this petty over the weekend, he would have had Sauber’s assets seized following his wave of court victories.

    But he didn’t. And Sauber would do well to remember the grace with which VDG handled the situation, because if it rears its head again, now that the precedent has been set that we’re ‘getting the boot in’, VDGs boots can hurt alot more than Monishas.

    It would be just cummupence for this team to fold if this is how the management is determined to act.

    Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.

  34. Sauber’s partnership with Chelsea is achieving something after all – looks like they’ve had lessons in how to lose from Jose Mourinho.

  35. For me it seems this out of court settlement is Giedo doing the best think for f1 – ie not having monisha arrested and saubers assetts seized and causing more turmoil for an already sick f1. Sauber have got off lightly. like he said, Monisha was adament he wouldnt drive – so she forced Giedo to be the centre of this mess – it was his choise of bringing down sauber, or not race – but that is not fair on him, and Monisha preferred to risk the team going under. nasty stuff from Sauber. if they need money where is Peter Sauber?? Redbull are being accused of being hypocrits today, but all these teams are the same, it is all aboout the money isnt it?

  36. Mad respect to GvdG for standing up for what’s right.
    Many are too scared of the powers that be.

  37. Really bad image for Sauber? Other teams killed people, where involved in crash-gate, spy-gate, teams that are owned by the same guy, executives holding stock in more than one team……
    Do we really believe this is bad image for Sauber? This is nothing compared to the rest of the teams.

  38. I I do not agree. Monisha is not doing a bad job.
    Peter Sauber entered F1 as a millionaire. And he sold his team in 10 years.
    He was out the moment he signed that contract with BMW.

    Then Bernie begged him to come back after a lot of teams left F1.
    He came out of retirement but not 100% Think of Sauber this way….at that time 4 new teams were added…HRT, Marussia, Caterham and Sauber.

    Two of them are History (HRT and Caterham). Marussia after really cloudy circumstanses, survives as Manor, even if they dont run, even if nobody knows anything about Jules.
    Sauber has just got a P5. Sauber got 4 podiums in 2012 and good runs in 2013 (remember Korea).
    Sauber brought good drivers to the field (Perez, Nasr)

    So…Monisha is doing a hell of a job. This is not BMW Sauber, This is no Sauber Petronas.

  39. As I can understand is Sauber want to say “we paid 15 millions to him” and basically expect Giedo to shut his mouth….

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