BATTLE FOR A RACE SEAT: If Giedo van der Garde is successful in his legal battle, he could be one Sauber's drivers at the 2015 Australian GP. Image: AFP / Marwan Naamani
MELBOURNE, Australia - Giedo van der Garde was the first to report he had taken legal action against his employer Sauber to force it to let him race at the season-opening 2015 Australian GP on March 15.
Garde was the team’s reserve driver in 2014 but when Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson were named as race drivers for 2015, Garde claimed he had been promised a seat.
Australian media News Limited revealed on Thursday (March 5) that Garde had filed an urgent case in the Victoria State Supreme Court claiming “unfair dismissal”.
The report said Switzerland's Arbitration Institution had already ruled that Sauber "must give a 2015 race seat” to Garde. Court documents stated:
"The respondent (Sauber) was ordered to refrain from taking any action, the effect of which would be to deprive him of his entitlement to participate in the 2015 F1 season as one of Sauber's two nominated race drivers."
The legal action is calling for a hearing on Monday (March 9), giving Garde time to take his place at Sauber ahead of the Melbourne race.
A later report added: "We are in an ongoing process with Giedo van der Garde," Sauber confirmed to the Swiss newspaper Blick. "We have terminated his contract but we had good reason. We made our decision in the interests of the team and its 330 employees."
SUTIL SUING TOO
Indeed, Sauber grappled with financial problems throughout 2014 and this year's car is now in the prominent colours of Brazilian Nasr's backer Banco do Brasil.
Germany's Auto Motor and Sport reported that another driver originally promised a 2015 seat, Adrian Sutil, is also suing Sauber.
Correspondent Tobias Gruner, however, said that action was taking place only in Switzerland and Sutil was seeking "compensation rather than a forced reinstatement" from the UK-based team.
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