Tag Archives: Van der Garde

After Sauber saga Van der Garde sees a future in WEC or the DTM

Giedo van der Garde says he’s looking at a future in the WEC or DTM after accepting that he has little chance of ever getting back to F1 after his legal fight with Sauber in March.

The Dutchman was at the Spa 6 Hours on Saturday – where he chatted with old pal Nico Hulkenberg – before heading to Hockenheim for today’s DTM event.

“You never ever know what’s happening in F1 but at the moment my targets are DTM or WEC for next year,” he told this writer. “For this year it’s already tough to jump in somewhere, because we were very late with everything. So I’m looking around a bit.”

Regarding F1 he said: “Of course you never give up, you always keep a little bit of hope, but after what happened to you you are a little bit fed up with everything, in the beginning especially. But the more you think about it, the more it gives you a bit of a relief. Of course it’s always what you wanted, and there’s still a little bit in me that says ‘maybe’. We’ll see.”

Van der Garde said he’d had a generally positive reaction to the outcome of his action against Sauber, and the statement he made after it about contracts and the rights of drivers.

“I got very positive feedback, from teams, team bosses and drivers even. So I’m quite happy with that. Now it’s a bit more calm and relaxed and I’m looking to get a nice drive for next year.”

His only scheduled race thus far in 2015 is at the Goodwood Revival.

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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.”


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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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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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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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