The Judge preciding over the Giedo van der Garde vs. Sauber F1 Team court case in Australia has found that the Dutchman should be entitled to race in Formula 1 for the team in 2015 after all.
Van der Garde was the team’s test and reserve driver in 2014, and was promised a race seat for this season, but was overlooked for the drive when the team signed Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.
An arbitration from a court in Switzerland had already ruled that Sauber were in the wrong and should have promoted van der Garde to the seat as promised, and now this judgement in the Victorian Supreme Court has been confirmed this.
Lawyers representing van der Garde insisted the Dutchman was ‘ready, willing and able’ to race for the team, and that he eager to have his custom race seat made as soon as possible.
“I’m very fit and very strong,” said the van der Garde afterwards. “I’m looking forward to going back to the team and we’ll work hard to do our best for this weekend. I’m the fittest ever, I’ve been training the last three months flat out, and I’m looking forward to going back to the team.
“I had a very good relationship, I still have a very good relation with the team. I’m looking forward to racing this weekend.”
“It’s up to them what they are going to do [with the other drivers], and up to the team. It’s not my thing. I’m happy that we won the case, and that we stand here. Now I’m looking forward to getting back to business.”
Representatives of van der Garde are seeking Sauber meet with their client as soon as possible.
Sauber F1 Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn has reacted to the news, releasing a brief statement, saying it would be inappropriate for van der Garde to race in a car that has been designed and set-up for Ericsson and Nasr.
“We are disappointed with this decision and now need to take time to understand what it means and the impact it will have on the start of our season,” said Kaltenborn.
“What we cannot do is jeopardise the safety of our team, or any other driver on the track, by having an unprepared driver in a car that has now been tailored to two other assigned drivers.”
More to follow.