Tag Archives: Sauber

Nasr and Ericsson to stay on at Sauber in 2016

Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson have both been confirmed as Sauber race drivers for 2016.

The news comes as no surprise given that both men bring substantial sponsorship to the Swiss team, but it does mean that Nasr is no longer a potential candidate for Williams, should Valtteri Bottas move to Ferrari. Nasr was the Williams third driver last year.

“This early point in time shows that the drivers and the team are sure they are heading in the right direction,” said team boss Monisha Kaltenborn. “We have full confidence in the talents and skills of Marcus and Felipe. Both have shown solid performances, gained experience and learnt quickly. We enjoy having them in the team and they give it a positive boost.”

“I had a great start from the very beginning,” said Ericsson. “And it is worth mentioning my first points in Formula One that I scored right away during the season-opener. I am getting to know everyone within the team more and more, and feel I am being appreciated as a valuable driver.”

“The extension to the contract with the Sauber F1 Team is an important step in my career,” said Nasr. “During the first half of the season, in what is my rookie year, I was able to gain a lot of experience from a driving perspective as well as on the personal side. Finishing fifth at my first ever Formula One race in Melbourne in the Australian Grand Prix is so far my career highlight. Now I am looking forward to the second half of the season. My objective is to support the team as best I can, and also with regard to the development of the new car.”


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Nasr keen to make points scoring a habit

Felipe Nasr followed up his fifth place in Melbourne with eighth in China as Sauber logged its second double finish of the season.

The Swiss team’s fortunes took a dip in Malaysia, where both Red Bull and STR scored well.

“It was great to be back in the points,” said the Brazilian. “That was the goal from the beginning of the race, although Toro Rosso and Lotus were much quicker than us. It was difficult to hold them back, and early on in the race I saw already they were super fast and it was difficult to keep them behind. And I think we extracted the maximum we have in the car, so we have to be satisfied.”

Felipe says Sauber has to target points in every race now.

“That’s what we have to aim for every time. What I can see is our car doesn’t seem to like the hot weather too much, so we’ve got to anticipate some changes for Bahrain already. Let’s try to keep it up.”

Meanwhile Nasr had some issues with cockpit comfort over the weekend: “It’s not really the shoulder, the HANS position was wrong. I got it fixed before the race. I think it was just in the wrong position.”

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Sauber seeking “mutually acceptable solution”

Sauber has broken its silence on the Giedo van der Garde affair, confirming that talks will continue next week.

Thus far the parties only agreed that the Dutchman would not stand in the way of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson and cancel any impending legal action in Australia, so the situation remains very fluid.

A short statement said: “The Sauber F1 Team can confirm it has been able to agree with Mr. Giedo Van der Garde that he refrains from driving in the Australian Formula One Grand Prix so it can keep its original planning. The Sauber F1 Team, Mr. Van der Garde and his management will continue to have constructive talks in order to find a mutually acceptable solution. The Sauber F1 Team is here to race in the Australian Formula One Grand Prix and that is what the team is now focusing on. In the course of next week we will be able to give more information.”


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Van der Garde v Sauber – what happens next?

Discussions between the Giedo van der Garde camp and Sauber have no doubt been ongoing since Friday afternoon’s latest court hearing in Melbourne, and the hope on both sides is that an agreement can be reached overnight.

Van der Garde’s lawyer told the court that there had been “constructive discussions between the parties which are expected to continue this evening.”

The next step will occur when the court reconvenes at 9.30am on Saturday. If an agreement has been reached and both parties can satisfy the judge that everything has been sorted, that in theory should be the end of the matter, at least as far as the Melbourne weekend is concerned.

The big question is what form that agreement will take, as the problem of three drivers and two seats has not gone away. Logic suggests that the only realistic path would be a settlement which compensates van der Garde for forfeiting the seat. It’s common knowledge that his sponsors paid €8m for him to be a third driver last year as a lead in to a race seat in 2015, and any payment would presumably in effect represent a refund for that, possibly with some damages, legal costs and so on factored in on top.

As much as van der Garde genuinely wants to drive, there will be a point at which the figure offered by Sauber is sufficient for him to walk away from the team.

The big problem is of course that Sauber has long been in dire financial straits, and it simply doesn’t have a multi million sum sitting around. The van der Garde camp is obviously aware of that, and clearly would not sign up to any deal without receiving some form of guarantee or security. The obvious suspicion on their part would be that Sauber’s promises might not be backed up once the team escaped the clutches of the Australian legal system next week.

If no agreement can be reached by Saturday morning – and assuming van der Garde is not announced as a race driver for the rest of 2015 – then the likelihood is that the summons submitted by the Dutchman will be issued by the court. Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn face charges of contempt of court.

On Friday Justice Croft mentioned an interim order, and that will probably mean that Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr are free to go ahead and compete for the rest of the weekend, but the cars would be seized by the court after the race, pending more court activity. An extra problem for Sauber is that the cars and equipment could miss the slot for the FOM cargo flight to Malaysia, and would potentially then have to find an alternative way to get there.

In addition action against Kaltenborn remains a real possibility, with the court having the power to seize her passport.

Despite the positive noises made by both sides on Friday, this story is far from over…

Details of the summons, including a call for Monisha Kaltenborn to be imprisoned, can be found here: https://adamcooperf1.com/2015/03/13/van-der-garde-side-requesting-prison-time-for-kaltenborn/


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Monisha Kaltenborn: “It’s a topic which I cannot talk about…”

Monisha Kaltenborn was not very chatty when she met the F1 media at today’s FIA press conference, and inevitably she ducked questions about the team’s current troubles.

The court case with Giedo van Garde is still ongoing, although the parties are now talking and could yet come to an agreement.

“That’s a topic I can’t say anything about,” she said when asked about the situation. “Just to make it clear I guess any questions about that I won’t be able to answer.”

Asked specifically about why both cars sat out the first session she said: “It’s a topic which I cannot talk about, that’s all I can say.”

Later however she did expand a little when asked about the impact on the team.

“It’s definitely a very negative impact on the team, because 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 I can really say to that.”

She was also asked about her comments in Brazil when the multiple driver contract saga first started, and how she view it now: “We have a very clear view of what we did, we had taken action after a while, we thought about it very well, For us it as very clear. The outcome here is different, and that’s all I can say to it.”

She was also asked on several occasions about her capacity to run an F1 team, and if there were any doubts about her future.

“This whole matter doesn’t have any effect on the way we work, the way the team works.”


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Sauber case continues but agreement could be close

The Giedo van der Garde case will continue into Saturday after a short session in court this afternoon – but a resolution appears to be at hand.

The two sides are now clearly talking and attempting to come to a solution without the drama of bailiffs entering the paddock to seize the cars. A source told this writer that both sides are keen for the cars to race this weekend.

Van der Garde’s lawyer told the court that there had been “constructive discussions between the parties which are expected to continue this evening,” and Sauber’s legal representative concurred.

Meanwhile Justice Croft told both sides: “I do wish the parties to talk seriously about resolving this matter by agreement.”

Van der Garde was in the Sauber garage this morning after finally being given a team pass and hence paddock access, and he actually did a seat fitting in his overalls. However, he does not have a superlicence.

Meanwhile after the team opted to miss the first session Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson then took to the track in FP2, reflecting the fact that there appears to be a more positive outlook.

Everyone will be back in court at 0930 on Saturday, and it’s possible that the two sides will tell the judge that they have come to some sort of resolution.


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Van der Garde side requesting prison time for Kaltenborn

An Australian judge will make a decision this afternoon on whether or not the Sauber team’s equipment will be seized by the court – and team boss Monisha Kaltenborn punished either with a prison term, or a fine.

If Justice Croft decides that an offence of contempt of court had been committed – in other words that the team has not complied with the order to not do anything that would prevent Giedo van der Garde from racing – then the summons would be issued and acted upon.

The summons, addressed to Sauber Motorsport and Kaltenborn, reads as follows:

“You are summoned to attend before the Court on the hearing of an application by the Applicants for the following declarations and orders:

1. A declaration that Sauber Motorsport AG is guilty of contempt of Court as particularised in the accompanying Statement of Charge, for failure to comply with paragraph 2 of the Order of the Honourable Justice Croft made on 11 March 2015 (the 11 March Order).

2. That Monisha Kaltenborn-Narang be punished for the contempt committed by Sauber Motorsport AG, by committal to prison for a period to be determined by Court or, in the alternative, by a fine of an amount to be fixed by the Court.

3. That Stewart Alexander McCallum, Peter Damien McCluskey, James Henry Stewart and Brendan John Richards (the Sequestrators) be appointed as sequestrators of all the real and personal estate of Sauber Motorsport AG situated in the State of Victoria.

4. An order that each of the Sequestrators, or any two or more of them, are authorised and

directed to:

(a) enter upon and take possession of the real and personal estate of Sauber Motorsport AG; and

(b) collect, receive and get into their hands the rents and profits of the real and personal estate of Sauber Motorsport AG; and

(c) keep them under sequestration in their hands until Sauber Motorsport AG complies with the Order of the Honourable Justice Croft made on 11 March 2015 or until further order.

5. An order that the remuneration of the Sequestrators be such remuneration as shall be fixed by the Court.

6. The costs of this application be paid by Sauber Motorsport AG on an indemnity basis.”


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No licence for van der Garde as Sauber faces seizure of cars

It seems that time is running out for Giedo van der Garde in his quest for a superlicence, and there is now virtually no chance that he will have one granted today and thus be able to drive the Sauber.

As previously noted, one of the steps is that the Contracts Recognition Board has to approve legal aspects of a driver’s deal with a team. Monisha Kaltenborn wrote to the CRB last week to claim that the contract had been terminated, but despite the court rulings it seems that Sauber has not written to the CRB to reactivate the contract. That puts a stop to any attempt to fast track a licence through.

While the original Swiss arbitration ruling is evidence on van der Garde’s behalf that the contract is still valid, clearly it will take time for the CRB to make a call.

The next step is a court hearing at 1030 today in which Sauber could be found in contempt of court if Justice Croft deems that the team has not complied with his order and taken appropriate steps to put van der Garde in the car.

The CRB issue would seem to suggest a clear breach – so if this morning’s judgement goes against the team the judge can call for the team’s “assets in Australia” – its cars and equipment – to be seized by bailiffs. Given the timings this could even happen before the start of FP1 at 1230, which would mean no Saubers on track this weekend.

There is also potential for personal action against Kaltenborn as a director of the team.

This might not be a lucky Friday the 13th for the Swiss outfit…


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No issues with my superlicence, says Van der Garde

While the wheels of the court process continue to turn the practicalities of Giedo van der Garde driving a Sauber this weekend have come into focus.

One of the biggest question marks concerns his superlicence, as the FIA has a process that has to be followed. The team has to apply via the driver’s national sporting authority, and Sauber has failed to do that.

Also one of the conditions is that the Contracts Recognition Board is happy with the legal side. It was revealed in court today that Monisha Kaltenborn wrote to the CRB last week to tell them that Van der Garde’s contract had been terminated in February.

Unusually this letter came after the Swiss arbitration court judgement which is at the centre of this week’s proceedings, and which said that the Dutchman should drive. In effect that contract now has to be re-activated at the CRB, and any delay at this critical stage helps Sauber to stop van der Garde driving. A cynic might suggest that contacting the CRB last week was a clever tactic by the team…

Meanwhile it remains to be seen how cooperative the FIA will be. There have been instances in the past where superlicence applications have been rushed through in cases of force majeure.

Van der Garde remains confident that his superlicence can be fast tracked.

“I think so, it’s just a bit of paperwork now,” he told this writer after today’s court proceedings. “And Sauber has to help in filing it. So we’ll see in the next few hours what comes out. The good thing is it’s now early in Europe, so they’ll start working, and still have a whole day. That’s positive.”

He has already set the wheels in motion with the Dutch authorities – the KNAF – who are ready to help.

“Yeah, we’re pushing already for the last few days. Everything is in place, everything is there, the application. I don’t see any issues with the paperwork on my side. Sauber just has to push it.”

Regarding his seat he said: “I don’t see any issue with it. Even if they don’t have my [2014] seat there, it’s done very quickly, in three hours you have a foam seat. I think the mechanics they know very well how to do it, so I don’t see any issue with that.”


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Van der Garde case drags into Thursday as Sauber appeal continues

The Giedo van der Garde v Sauber case will drag into Thursday after Sauber submitted an appeal.

This morning Justice Croft handed down a judgement in favour of Van der Garde, in effect demanding that Sauber put him in the car. He also 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.”

Sauber then submitted an appeal which led to a hurriedly convened Court of Appeal hearing this afternoon, presided over by Justices Beach, Whelan and Ferguson.

They hadn’t had much time to learn about the case and were not very familiar with the way F1 works, and after a brief discussion, mainly involving Sauber’s lawyer Rodney Garrett, they decided to await submissions from those involved and reconvene at 9.30am on Thursday.

That delay starts to make things even more complicated in terms of getting van der Garde fully prepared to drive should the Swiss team finally accept that it has no choice.

Garrett repeated his safety arguments today – on the basis that it takes two weeks to get a driver fitted for the car.

The judges were intrigued to know how the sport is governed, and were told it was by the FIA. In response to the discussion about safety, the judges made the point that whatever they decided might be irrelevant if the FIA wasn’t happy.

Justice Whelan made a logical suggestion to Garrett: “I don’t really understand why the FIA can’t come along and tell us what the situation is regarding safety.”

Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr were represented in court, their lawyer noting that “My clients are expecting to drive. However neither driver, nor anyone from Sauber, was present in person.

Thursday could be a long day as the judges decided that those representing Van der Garde will have two hours to state their case, those representing Ericsson and Nasr half an hour, and Sauber one and a half hours.


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