Sauber responds to Van der Garde: “It would only encourage a mud fight…”

Sauber has responded to Giedo van der Garde’s statement of earlier today by claiming that it has answers to his “statements and accusations” – but then choosing not to expand.

In a message addressed to fans the team said: “Many of you read today’s statement on Giedo van der Garde’s Facebook page. So have we and we were, indeed, rather surprised. 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.

“Yours sincerely, Sauber F1 Team”


Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

37 responses to “Sauber responds to Van der Garde: “It would only encourage a mud fight…”

  1. Mick

    They didn’t have any ‘very good answers to the statements and accusations’ when they were in the courtrooms which is why they just wrote a cheque for $15million.

    Giedo was in the right, Geido won.

    If you make a contract honour it or be prepared to pay the consequences.

    • Mick

      Lol. Spotted my own Geido / Giedo typo. Maybe Geido / Giedo could drive a two – seater!

    • Brian

      I totally agree. When you boil it all down, Sauber F1 attempted to steal the money that VDG’s sponsors put up. After decades of F1 teams reaming drivers via contracts not adhered to, one of them finally had the gumption and the resources to fight back. The fact that TWO courts in separate countries found him to be in the right and Sauber to be in the wrong tells me pretty much all I need to know. Good for him, I say. May others follow suit (pun unintended but amusing.)

      The ridiculous “safety” arguments made to the judge in Australia certainly didn’t help their/her image, either.

      • Correct, gone on for Donkeys years.

        Perhaps now Chris Amon will get paid for his services in 1970?

      • John Other

        The more I think about it, the more I believe that the arbitration is harming Sauber even more by both being private in the first instance, and remaining so.

        Certainly the latter.

        Would any team risk acting outrageously in the first instance if arbitration was made public?

        For the matter of remaining private, it harms them by creating a condition where they can arguably get away with this contorted tortuous logic that does nothing but invite the ultimate scourge of reputations: ridicule.

        As for management concerns, this closed arbitration has grave repercussio:

        I find this most worrying of all because in my experience it remains a truism the fish rots from the head. The potential damage to internal culture is unfathomable. Another old saying applies: there’s never only one cockroach in the kitchen. But that only warns of existing damage undiscovered or unsurfaced. I’ve been exposed is the most polite word s can think of … to a few deeply disfunctional company cultures. I’m one the most important director is a incurable deflector of criticism. The mental exertions expended to attain diversions from the naked emperor or any other problem arising, led to truly amazing malfunction. Everything somehow almost right but missing something critical in a way even visitors could sense and be immediately confused by.

        You have the situation where the most important director of this team, appears to be in denial. I can very much understand that as a personal reaction. But I can’t believe how no-one stepped in with a intervention. Peter Sauber’s support was in literal terms neatly qualified and not addressing the specific context witho the language. So I am not certain that is of concern. But to reaffirm any senior manager under such circumstances is at any rate a risk. But it’s also a risk of in extremis endorsing inappropriate behaviour. The kind I think any company can do without.

        I often ponder the most unlikely hypotheses for strange corporate behaviour. This story has so many I believe important gaps in it ( at macro at least at two levels team and sport and each then layered within ) my imagination was left to fill quite a bit. So I pondered if it could have happened like this. Could MK have put her shares on the line privately when questioned about her plan by PS? As in somehow the situation arose she was so adamant about this that her esteemed colleague felt that the only way was to demure. If one believes that the person you’re arguing with is in debt so vital to your business survival, could it just be you also might feel unable to veto whilst there is a possibility that even damage if done could be somehow contained? Only you do care for the wellbeing of your enterprise and all thereupon dependent. So you give way, but solely on the condition that any damage to the company is made good. By way of sale of held shares, if must be. Too far fetched? Of course I just made that up, but I’ve seen such lunacy in companies that I’m well assured is no unique experience. Add pressure and anything might go funny.

        The one thing I do not get is this:

        If you have a cash crisis and a aspirant driver with a rich uncle, proverbial and literal, is that not precisely who you get to help you through?

        Indeed there is word of a early payment that one may guess was timely and helpful.

        So how does one mess up from thorn?how does one fall out? Can conditions been demanded of the kind nobody should accept?

        I mean what would drive you or I to at all costs disassociate from a employee?

        Guido visited the garage on the Friday I think…. Can in any way signals be coveyed that would make one never want to come back? The kind you have a very hard time proving? What else or even what different kind of change of heart would irrevocably convice you never to return?

        Or was the fact of Guido merely being there the statement he was content to make? After all it sent to other teams the strongest signal that he stood to win reinstatement. Could that signal of success be sufficient to persuade another team he was in the right and not a frivolous and vexatious litigant? Enough to get a even tentative offer from elsewhere in need of a well heeled driver?

        I do believe something in addition did happen to van der Garde on his visit to the paddock which affected his decisions.

        Say you were going to get reinstalled regardless.. Well you can carry on as you ….does anyone know how one can carry on in that reinstated situation? Too much would be complicated. Too much certainly might never be quite as you could count on before. So any chance of a drive else.would be quite persuasive to my view.

        I really do think at minimum just the atmosphere made him take his leave. in strict theory something could have made his mind up more directly. In my wishes for his good fortune I hope someone said they’d consider running him, as I don’t think someone as publicly ruled to be in his sights ought to be deprived of his career even if compensated. It’s the moral right that has irrespective of any outcome in any court, deprived.

        Anyhow there’s much still to learn from this case.

        I propose above the arguments I offer in support of the public need to start looking at what this affair tells us about F1.

        I have no active even most remote connection with any of F1 commercially or privately, and if I did have a side to pitch for, I’d use my attorney of choice or other means than this comment, to speak. If I had need in that way I’d be incredibly busy organising a genuine campaign far and wide. I give away my best thinking about F1 freely for pleasure. Not that there’s great art to it, just a lot of care as best I can.

  2. Paul Resic

    Arrogant answer from Sauber. Despite Giedo’s honest facebook post, still try to diminish Giedo and his rights – but forgetting that it was Giedo’s sponsor’s money that helped their mecanics and cars through 2014. It’s just Bad Business – and they still do not admit any wrongdoing. Silly.

    • John Other

      They simply haven’t got the ability to compose a reply. It’s as much a lack of Ammanf of language as anything:

      ” we can understand that having agreed to doin any chance of driving forSauber however remote that chance may be, because strictly in terms of law we have agreed to compensate him financially for something he may very understandably still very much desire, we want to take the position that there’s no more that can be said to assuage the loss accepted which we feel if laments. We hope that the settlement agreed will eventually be persuasive of reason, after what we found to be a gruelling demoralizing and unhappy ordeal defined by often purely legal precedence we never felt applied to our situation and at all times we felt the needs of technical law bore no relation to the needs of a team itself recouperating still from incredibly difficult experiences many of which were beyond our control and beyond any outcome we would wish on anyone. It’s because of our ability to understand Guido’s sense of loss , regardless of our disagreement, that we recognize he may best none to terms with his decisions since last December without the frustration of our specific comment. We feel that detailed response would serve only to feed speculation given that a very long story would need to be told. After a reassuring result for the team this weekend we have no wish to add in any way to a situation we think will only create negative emotions”

      I don’t like what I see of Sauber management lately, but they could have done better to put a stop to the ongoing story. My word may be too much for another’s taste or style but I was trying to poise them very carefully .

  3. Ketu

    A] “the reasoning behind we cannot understand” …. Uh because he promised to do so?
    B] “himself as a winner, while we had actually hoped to come to rest after our agreement” … Da! Ofcourse since you guys lost and had to pay?
    C] “We’d have very good answers to ..” Yep I heard them life in the court case…. OI!

  4. GeorgeK

    Typical non response response!

    I was STUNNED to read that, according to GvdG anyways, that they PAID in full his sponsorship for ’15 in early ’14! No wonder they pursued this with zeal, and I now have to come down squarely in Giedo’s corner.

    What Sauber did boils down to common theft. Monisha needs to fall on her sword or get pushed on it by Mr. Sauber.

    • petes

      Good for you George, glad you’ve seen it now and don’t mind saying 🙂

      • GeorgeK

        The bit I wasn’t aware of was the fact he PAID the money. I was under the impression he had his contract terminated before he paid and just wanted them to honor it.

        Dumb on my part, I should have realized he wouldn’t chase this so adamantly if they hadn’t taken his funds. Out and out thievery!

    • John Other

      Conversion rather than theft maybe…as in making use of his money after talking it wit no intention to deliver. Fraud being when they had no means to deliver. Conversion is part of the theft act in England.

  5. Ramshoek

    A handful of court rulings, all in favour of VDG, and a very costly agreement. And still Sauber does not understand what they did wrong.

    Not reacting is better than saying you aren’t going to react. Sore losers.

    • DW

      There was an opportunity here to apologize to their fans, F1 fans in general, the Aus GP organisers, the courts and GvdG … but they’ve missed that now too.
      And as you say, seems they haven’t learnt any lessons from this.

  6. Chris S

    I hope they don’t last the season. If I worked for that team, I’d get out now – how can you work for someone this unethical? They’ll just treat you with the same dishonesty and disrespect, because the workplace environment is something that gets set from the top down. Just seeing a Sauber car just makes me sick. Crooks.

  7. MCB

    Sauber’s PR-guy needs to learn when to shut up. Make no comment or just something like “With an agreement between VDG and Sauber we will leave this in the past. We wish VDG all the best for the rest of his career.”

    By implying you have a different opinion and not voicing it, makes it clear that they don’t see themselves as the loser in this case. $15 mln and 3 court rulings in 2 different countries tells us otherwise. Sauber is lucky to still be racing.

    • You first paragraph is pretty much how I see it. Your version would have been a classier response!

      • Agree this PR is very poor, (almost unprofessional).

        To be fair, from what I’ve seen of Sauber’s legal arguments over the last few days, doing PR for Sauber would be a high challenge for any professional.

      • Eric

        It would have been more classier, but then again this tells the thru story at Sauber F1 at this time.

    • John Other

      That’s every bit as good and likely much better than my long winded try. I was having a go a seeing how many little tweaks I could fit in… I thought they missed so many angles to develop a fresh stance.

      The communication is continuing to sound petulant and immature as if written by someone too close whose had insufficient sleep.

  8. Gigi

    Like Andy Gibson tweetet:
    Andy Gibson ‏@Lopek 1 uur1 uur geleden
    @SauberF1Team I think that #LetsRaceNotFight was exactly what @GvanderGarde wanted to do, but you took his cash and ran apparently?

    Totally agree with Andy Gibson!!

  9. LRM

    This just demonstrates what a total immature idiot Monisha Kaltenborn is. The fact that she green lighted this kind of response is crazy. As others have said, the whopping settlement pretty much speaks for itself. Again I ask, what is Peter Sauber thinking standing behind this woman?

  10. Gigi

    And this kind of comment from Sauber when team GvanderGarde actually saved Sauber twice!
    First in the beginning of 2014 when they paid the sponsormoney upfront en the second time last saturday when he decided to not persue the case and go for a settlement.

    Sauber could be a bit more grateful!

  11. One

    What a way to eind a good reputation that Sauber has built up as a clean cut no nonsense racing team with great pedigree to find young true talent and send them to the racing: Kimi, Felipe,….

    • DW

      Worse … I was a fan of this team since the sportscar days with Schumacher, Frentzen, Wendlinger, etc.

      Last week I removed myself from their Facebook page and Twitter feed.
      Based on that PR response, I’m comfortable that I made the right choice.

  12. melvin

    The team under present leadership presents such a different face to the well liked and respected organisation that Peter Sauber spent years building up. What a shame. Peter must be very disappointed.

  13. Chris S

    So they signed Singapore Airlines. Facebook comment: “that makes a lot of sense, since both are in the business of overselling their seats!!!”

  14. Peterg

    ” It would only encourage a mud fight via the media and we will not lend ourselves to that.”

    Yep, shoot the messenger, blame the victim.

    BTW, what’s this utter rubbish from Sauber about winning/losing? VDG was good enough to pay for his season in full, this would normally be done in instalments. The guy and his sponsors got robbed and Sauber clearly have no shame.

  15. Robert McKay

    “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.”

    …and if anyone bothered to ask, all they’d be getting in response would be the standard “I can’t talk about that” phrase that Kalternborn nearly wore a hole in over the weekend. (At times it was like watching the classic Paxman vs. Howard “but did you threaten to overrule him?” interview!)

    Which was fair enough, given the legal proceedings, but to then say this is just taking the proverbial.

  16. kenneth

    what surprises me is that peter sauber has endorsed kaltenborn? really, any credibility they previously had has now been totally dissipated. my greatest disappointment was that sauber were indeed free to race in melbourne. i really thought and hoped that they were locked out. then the gravity of their shabby actions would have been even more widely reported!

  17. Sauber ,must be the only team ,that doesnt want Bianchi to wake up out of his coma
    #they signed him too for a 2015 seat ,just before the GP Suzuka 2014

    • MCB

      If this is a joke it’s a distasteful one. If this isn’t a joke then shame on them.

      • Peterg

        Bianchi was under a Ferrari contract, I think I read something indicating he may have moved to Ferrari powered Sauber in 2015 (with a discount on the customer engines?). He was not stepping up to the factory team, so a move up the grid to another Ferrari engined team may have been on the cards, can’t confirm it though.

      • moogle1

        exactly my reaction when i found out
        and no,not a joke ,Ferrari engines came cheaper that way
        so they actually signed 6 drivers for 2 seats in 2015 season

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