Tag Archives: Sauber

Giedo van der Garde Q&A: “I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel…”

Giedo van der Garde’s victory in a Melbourne court today was an extraordinary outcome, and one that the Sauber team itself has admitted it didn’t expect. The fact is that the Australian legal system has backed up a judgement made in Switzerland last week and told Sauber that Van der Garde should race. How that impacts Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, and what happens over the next 48 hours remains, to be seen. This writer had an exclusive chat with the Dutchman on the steps of the courthouse.

Q: This applies to Australia, but what about the other 18 countries?

“I think this is something else that the lawyers have to speak about and solve it. I’m just looking forward to start this weekend. Like I said before I had a very good relationship with the team, and I still have. I think the team made a very good step during the winter. I’m glad about it, I’m looking forward to working together again, and to do well this weekend.”

Q: You say you have a good relationship but it’s going to be a very strange atmosphere. Everyone’s wondering how a team can work with a driver they were fighting in court?

“I don’t see any problems because in the end we had a good year last year, not only the results [of testing], on a personal side it was very good. I don’t see any problems with it. On the other hand now we have to stick together, put our heads in the same direction, and push very hard to get our first points.”

Q: A lot of people don’t realise that you only found out about Felipe Nasr after the press release came out in Brazil last year. How bad was that?

“Well, I think it’s not a good thing to speak about it now. I’m happy with this news and I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel again. It’s been a while, so let’s focus on that.”

Q: And all that stuff about the seat and so on – obviously that can be sorted quickly.

“I think you know and other people know that it can be sorted out quite quickly. In three or four hours you’re done with the seat, and you have a proper seat for the weekend.”

Q: The team’s argument was that it needed the drivers with the biggest sponsorship, and the future was under threat. That’s obviously the bigger story, isn’t it?

“Well that has been discussed already, and in the end this went off from the table. I’m happy to win this case now. Let’s focus on the weekend.”

Q: And it’s important that in a case like this a driver has actually won? We’ve seen similar case in the past…

“Oh yeah, I’m happy with that…”


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Sauber: Risk of “physical harm or even death” if Van der Garde races

Sauber has used the issue of safety in its desperate fight to stop Giedo van der Garde from racing its car in the Australian GP.

The team has been in a court case in Melbourne today. Van der Garde won an arbitration judgement in Switzerland last week, and in essence the case is about that judgement being upheld in Australia.

As reported by Radio Australia, Sauber’s lawyer Rodney Garrett said that Van der Garde was not covered by the team’s insurance and brought up the question of safety of spectators at the event. He claimed that the C34 was custom built for Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, and there were issues about seats and seat belts.

Garrett said: “Sauber could not allow him to race… it would be reckless and dangerous to do otherwise. It would result in an unacceptable risk of physical harm or even death.”

Readers may recall that in 2011 Pedro de la Rosa stepped into the Sauber on Friday lunchtime in Montreal after Sergio Perez was declared unfit…

Drivers jumping into cars with no testing and compromised seats is part of F1. It might concern the FIA that a team has chosen to link it to safety – and even death – in a court of law.

The judgement has been deferred until 10am on Wednesday.


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Kaltenborn on Van der Garde: “We will take all necessary steps…”

The case will be heard in Melbourne on Monday

Monday is a holiday in Australia but the court will open especially to hear the case

Sauber says that it will defend the court action launched by Giedo van der Garde in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Van der Garde is hoping that the Australian court will force Sauber to follow a recent arbitration ruling in Switzerland, and allow him to race. The case will be heard on Monday.

“As this matter is currently before the courts it would be inappropriate for me to comment on specific details,” said team boss Monisha Kaltenborn. “However, we will take all necessary steps to protect our company, this team and its interests.

“Last year was a challenging time for us but going into the 2015 season we have been focused on putting steps in place to ensure that we are delivering the best outcomes for F1’s fans.”

In its statement the team explained the Swiss court decision – and spelled van der Garde’s name incorrectly: “In a first partial award of a Swiss arbitral tribunal, the application of Mr van der Garde was upheld, with the tribunal relevantly ordering Sauber to refrain from taking action the effect of which would be to deprive Guido van der Garde of his entitlement to participate in the 2015 Formula One season as one of Sauber’s two nominated race drivers. Mr van der Garde has this week brought an application before an Australian court in Melbourne, the city hosting the first Grand Prix of the 2015 season on Sunday, March 15, to enforce that arbitral award. next week, March 9.”


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Van der Garde’s quest for Sauber seat to reach Australian court on Monday

Monday is a holiday in Australia but the court will open especially to hear the case

Monday is a holiday in Australia but the court will open especially to hear the case

Giedo van der Garde has launched a dramatic last minute legal effort to recover the Sauber race seat that he believes is rightfully his.

The Dutchman has commenced an arbitration action in the Supreme Court of Victoria and is hoping that a positive result could force Sauber to put him back in the car. In essence he wants the Australian court to support a legal decision made in Switzerland in his favour earlier this week.

The joint applicants are the Dutch management company that bears his name, and Van der Garde personally. The case will be heard by Justice Croft in Melbourne on Monday, despite it being a public holiday in Australia.

Van der Garde’s backers paid a substantial sum for him to be third driver last year on the basis that he would graduate to a race seat this season – in theory alongside Adrian Sutil, who had an ongoing two-year contract.

However, late in the season both Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr came on the scene with bigger sponsorship deals, and Sauber opted to take them instead.

Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn, a lawyer by profession, has always insisted that the team is on solid legal ground. Nevertheless van der Garde has continued to prepare for this season as if he was going to race.

Court papers submitted on his behalf indicate that Van der Garde signed a ‘driving, testing and promotional services agreement’ on January 20th 2014, and that on June 28th Sauber exercised a contractual option which meant that he would be a race driver in 2015.

After the team had announced Ericsson and Nasr, on November 24 van der Garde commenced an arbitration proceeding in the Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution. In it he “sought permanent injunctive relief that would have the effect of assuring the Second Applicant a place as a race driver on the Sauber team for 2015.”

A decision, or ‘Award’, was made by the SCAI in favour of the driver on March 2.

The Australian documents note that as a result: “The Respondent [Sauber] was ordered to refrain from taking any action the effect of which would be to deprive Mr van der Garde of his entitlement to participate in the 2015 Formula One Season as one of Sauber’s two nominated race drivers.”

Officially the Australian case is an ‘Application to Enforce Foreign Award,’ ie the judgement made in Switzerland.

The documents add that failing to officially nominate van der Garde as a race driver represents “an intention to breach, if not an actual breach, of the Award by the Respondent.”

Although the language is convoluted the documents hint that there has at least been a discussion between the parties about what happens next: “… since the Award was handed down on 2 March 2015, the Applicants have made several attempts to engage with the Respondent in relation to the Second Respondent’s participation as a driver in the 2015 Grand Prix season (including at the Australian Grand Prix) and the Respondent’s representatives have indicated that the Respondent is considering its position in the light of the Award.”

The bottom line is that the case represents a matter of survival for Sauber, in that the team took the two drivers with the biggest budgets in order to ensure that it made it into the 2015 season. If the Australian court does force it to take van der Garde at the expense of one of the other drivers, the situation could become very messy.

Van der Garde was previously involved in a legal action with Force India, relating to his time as a test driver for the former Spyker team.


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Sauber learned from last season, says Kaltenborn

Not many major sponsors feature on the new C34

Not many major sponsors feature on the new C34

Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn says that the Swiss team has learned from its difficult 2014 season, and she remains confident that the team will make progress with the new C34.

Sauber slipped to 10th in the World Championship last season after failing to score a point.

“2014 was a very disappointing year,” said Kaltenborn. “However, this is in the past, and we now focus on what comes next. We have learned our lessons and are confident for the new season. We have to improve, and be able to fight for championship points.

“For the Sauber F1 Team 2015 is its 23rd season in F1; it is the fourth oldest of the current brands.”

She has faith in the new driver combination: “I am delighted about our two new drivers who bring a breath of fresh air. Both are young, talented and highly motivated. On their way to Formula 1 both stood out through victories in Formula BMW and Formula 3. Both then finished this career progression off in the GP2-Series. While Marcus looks back to one season in F1, Felipe will have his rookie year in which he comes fully prepared due to his role as test and reserve driver at Williams last year. I feel confident with regard to our drivers.”


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Sauber shows its new look on the C34

A new look for Sauber

A new look for Sauber

Sauber has unveiled its new C34, which will be driven this year by the new pairing of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.

As announced in November Nasr’s longtime sponsor, Banco do Brasil, features heavily in the new livery. Ericsson will drive the car at Jerez on Sunday.

Sauber says that chief designer Eric Gandelin focussed on performance in slow corners, weight reduction and braking stability.

Outlining some of the key changes, the team said: “The sidepods of the new Sauber C34, are now slimmer than those of the Sauber C33, despite higher cooling requirements from the new power unit. This has been made possible by modifications to the attachment of the side crash elements. In addition, the architecture of the radiators, which are now positioned horizontally, has been fundamentally revised.

“The engineers also paid great attention to the flexibility of the cooling system, which can be adapted precisely – and individually for the various components – to the ambient temperature and circuit characteristics. For example, small air vents on the side of the cockpit are only used in certain situations. Beyond this, the rear section as a whole is  less voluminous, which benefits aerodynamic efficiency.

“In terms of its concept, the engine is very much comparable with last year’s, but its architecture has changed significantly, necessitating numerous adjustments to the chassis.

“The exhaust tailpipe is again positioned centrally between two pylons, though they are no longer supported by the rear crash element, but by the gearbox housing.

“The spring and damper elements at the rear axle are again pullrod-actuated, but otherwise this is a totally new construction with separate lower wishbone legs. In addition, the engineers worked on improving the mechanical traction. Besides a number of other parts, there will be optimised gear ratios to support this effort.”

Sauber C34 Nose


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Sauber confirms Ericsson – who will drive second car?

Sauber has confirmed that Marcus Ericsson will be one of the team’s race drivers in 2015, as predicted here yesterday.

The team says that the second driver will be announced at a later date, which is an unusual turn of phrase given that Adrian Sutil is understood to have a firm two-year contract.

Meanwhile Giedo van der Garde remains confident about his future plans and has made it clear that he hopes to be a Sauber race driver next year. If that turns out to be the case then presumably the team will have to pay Sutil appropriate compensation.

Regarding Ericsson team boss Monisha Kaltenborn said: “We are pleased to announce this cooperation. We have got to know Marcus as a highly motivated driver. He did not have an easy rookie season this year in Formula One, however, he kept calm and improved continuously, mainly in the last races. We are convinced that signing Marcus can give the team a fresh impetus.”

“Fresh from a very turbulent week, I was suddenly given my best early Christmas present ever,” said Ericsson. “The Sauber F1 Team has put its trust in me for 2015, and it makes me proud, as Sauber is known to be one of the best teams in developing young drivers. It will be a great challenge. I will give my very best to develop both as a driver, and to be part of the challenge to put the Sauber F1 Team back closer to the front where it belongs.”

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Ericsson set for Sauber seat in 2015

Marcus Ericsson is set be a Sauber driver next year, according to sources close to the Swiss team.

It appears that the Swede has beaten both Giedo van der Garde and Esteban Gutierrez to the seat alongside Adrian Sutil – assuming that the German’s ongoing contract is fulfilled.

Ericsson has shown well in recent races after weight saving and brake and aero updates at Caterham made him much more comfortable with the car.

He has substantial sponsorship from Sweden, and the suggestion is that an early payment would help to get Sauber through the winter.

Speaking to this writer he said: “I’m not involved in these things but I know my management are working 100% on making me stay in F1. We’ve done this first year now and I’ve started to perform on a good level, and of course I want to stay and continue that. There are not many seats available and of course Sauber is one option, and it’s one of the teams we’re talking to.”

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Monisha Kaltenborn: “We have put a very challenging year behind us…”

The Sauber C33 was revealed online today

The Sauber C33 was revealed online today

Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn remains optimistic about the upcoming season, despite the obvious financial squeeze at the Swiss team.

She made no reference to the difficult situation in a Q&A issued when the new car was unveiled online.

“We have put a very challenging year behind us,” said Kaltenborn. “The first half of 2013 in particular was difficult for us, but the second half saw us making significant strides. We learnt a great deal during this time and will be applying the lessons in the new season.”

Regarding prospects for the season, she said: “We’ll be having our roll-out in Jerez. That is always a very special moment, because first of all we’ll see if everything really fits together and if the car is running well. It also tells us if we have been working in the right direction for the last nine months. All this makes it a very emotional moment.

“Due to the big changes on the chassis side, but particularly on the drive train side, it is impossible to give any indication about our competitiveness. We can do that at the earliest after the winter tests, particularly when we have seen where we stand compared to our competitors. As always, it’s going to be our target to improve our position in the championship.”

Kaltenborn says she’s happy with the driver line-up.

“This year we have a very exciting driver line-up. On the one hand we have Adrian, a very experienced racing driver, and I’m happy that we finally had the opportunity to work together. On the other hand we have Esteban, a young talented driver who we have known for many years, and has also been a member of the team. This is very valuable considering the big changes that are coming this season. 

“I hope the drivers can get to know the car very quickly and that we have all our reliability issues sorted out, so that together with the drivers we can work on the performance and develop the car further.”

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Sauber’s engineering chief McCullough heads back to UK

Sauber’s head of track engineering Tom McCullough is to leave the team at the end of this season.

The former Williams man is returning to join a UK-based team.

The 38-year worked for Panoz and Reynard before joining Williams as data engineer in 2002. He held several positions, including the role of chief engineer on the F2 project, and as a test engineer he was also in charge of driver development, working with the likes of Kazuki Nakajima and Nico Hulkenberg when they were third drivers.

He then became a race engineer, working with Hulkenberg in 2010, Rubens Barrichello in 2011, and Bruno Senna and third driver Valtteri Bottas in 2012.

He joined Sauber at the end of last year, where he was reunited with Hulkenberg.

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