Van der Garde confirms deal has been reached with Sauber

Giedo van der Garde has now formally confirmed that his dispute with Sauber has been settled and the contract terminated, as reported here yesterday.

Although no details have been confirmed Sauber transferred €15m to the Dutchman to end the matter, after offering guarantees when the deal was set in motion last week in Australia. The settlement was completed in the last 24 hours

Van der Garde noted: “We have reached a settlement with Sauber and my driver contract with the team has been ended by mutual consent. As a passionate race driver, I feel sad and am very disappointed. I have worked very hard my entire career, ever since starting with go-karts at the age of eight, to live my dream and become a successful Formula One driver. I had hoped at last to be able to show what I am capable of, driving a car for a respected midfield team in the 2015 season. This dream has been taken away from me and I know that my future in Formula One is probably over.

“I had a valid driver contract for the entire 2015 season and enforceable rights to it. I pushed very hard until last Saturday in Melbourne to get the drive that I was entitled to. This legal process started in 2014 and has taken a great deal of effort. It was never a last minute thing, but it only became public in the last week when we tried to force the team to accept the rulings of a succession of legal authorities and courts.

“I am a race driver and all I want is to race. However, the team principal was adamant not to let me drive, notwithstanding my legal rights to do so and a series of rulings and court orders in my favour and despite my race driving abilities. I will never understand this. I could have persisted, but the team principal had taken a decision contrary to my contract that she would not work with me and this became painfully clear in the paddock in Melbourne. To push on against this determination might have brought down the team, it would most certainly have wrecked the opening Grand Prix in Melbourne because the team´s cars would have been seized by the court, it may have ruined the careers of two young drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. Possibly the team´s directors would even be taken into custody. I decided I did not want to live with that idea, even though it was only the team’s management that was responsible for the bizarre situation I found myself in.

“I am very grateful to my fans and many friends in Formula One who have given me a lot of support during the last couple of months. This period has been very difficult for me especially since I could not talk to anybody about the pending proceedings. Last week, many drivers on the grid gave me their support and several of them did so openly in the media as well. The same goes for several leading figures in the paddock who include team bosses and reputable former Formula One drivers. I thank them as well.”

He made it clear that his camp has paid its sponsorship up front.

“There has been a lot of speculation in the media over the past week, so I want to set out clearly that my sponsors paid the sponsorship fee related to the 2015 season in its entirety to Sauber in the first half of 2014. This was simply in good faith and to help the team deal with its cash problems at the time. Effectively, it was my sponsor’s advanced payments that helped the team survive in 2014.

“Sauber’s financial decision-making in this case is bizarre and makes no sense to me. I am not at liberty to discuss details, but Sauber paid significant compensation to avoid honouring the contract they had with me. Only in that respect can I be satisfied that my rights have finally been recognised and that at least some justice has been done.”

Regarding his future in racing he said: “My future in motorsport has not finished: on the contrary, I see this as a new beginning. I will sit down with my management in the coming weeks to discuss my future plans. I would love to take part in the WEC and the Le Mans 24 Hours in an LMP1 car. Former Formula One drivers do very well in this series. We also have our eye on other series such as the DTM in 2016 and beyond.”


Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

8 responses to “Van der Garde confirms deal has been reached with Sauber

  1. Annon

    Fantastic statement from GVDG and great reporting from you as always Adam. The mainstream media will pick up on this and public awareness will increase on what the lesser financially backed/ legally savi drivers have to put up with. Suzuka changed everything,
    Good on you GVDG and Marcel Boekhoorn.

  2. Martin

    Still can’t help to think that his sudden interest in the Sauber seat came from the positive pre-season tests. And what is so difficult to understand about Sauber not wanting him to race in Melbourne with zero preparation? When did he last drive an f1 car? The two other drivers at least had a lot of km’s in the last month or so.

    • anon

      @Martin, van der Garde began legal proceedings against Sauber in December 2014, several weeks before Sauber had even built a chassis for crash testing (they didn’t complete their crash tests until early Jan 2015) – so van der Garde was trying to regain his seat long before those test results came in.

      As for when van der Garde last drove an F1 car, he participated in the first practise session for the Italian GP in September 2014, which was the 7th practise session he participated in that season, or approximately 6 months ago.

      Again, there is a parallel with Pedro de la Rosa when he replaced Perez in the Canadian GP. Pedro last raced an F1 car in the 2010 Italian GP. When he was suddenly asked if he could replace Perez in the 2011 Canadian GP, he hadn’t driven an F1 car for nine months – yet Sauber didn’t think that there was any risk in asking de la Rosa to drive for them.

  3. DaveyM

    “Former Formula One drivers…”
    A glaring admission that his F1 career is over.

  4. Simon B

    Good on him.

    The thing we’re losing sight of here is that it’s not just van der Garde moaning about his lost F1 opportunity.

    Don’t forget the Dutch investors wondering what happened to their eight million euros.

    What happened to van der Garde was theft, clear and simple.

  5. “…Sauber transferred €15m to the Dutchman to end the matter…”

    Wow! Interesting insight in to the profession of driving Formula 1 cars.

    Well played by Mr. van der Garde’s team.

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