END OF A CAREER? Dutch Formula 1 driver Giedo van der Garde leaving Melbourne's Suprme Court on March 11 2015 after winning his case against Sauber. It didn't help in the long term... Image: AFP / Mal Fairclough
LONDON, England - Former Sauber Formula 1 hopeful Giedo van der Garde has admitted his legal wrangle with the team had probably killed his Formula 1 dream.
The Hollander's management has confirmed reports that a settlement with the Swiss team ended its client's 2015 race contract "by mutual consent".
'DREAM TAKEN AWAY'
Reports had suggested Van der Garde, 29, and his backers had been refunded €15-million (about R185-million and including legal costs) but the driver said it only left him "sad and very disappointed".
He would not comment on the actual figure but confirmed that Sauber had paid "significant compensation".
"This dream has been taken away from me and I know that my future in F1 is probably over," he said in a statement posted on Facebook.
Van der Garde was critical of Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn, saying she was "adamant not to let me drive" in the 2015 Melbourne F1 GP. He ultimately agreed to settle, he explained, only because pushing forward might have "brought down" Sauber, "wrecked" the season opener and "ruined the careers" of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.
"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 in which I found myself." He added that his sponsors had paid for his 2015 seat, in full, early in 2014.
BACK TO TOURING CARS?
He explained: "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 advance payments that helped the team survive in 2014."
He said he would now try to resurrect his career at Le Mans or in German Touring Cars.
Van der Garde thanked F1 drivers and personalities for privately and publicly backing his stance against Sauber and hoped the case would help set "new standards" to "protect the rights of drivers".
"I would like to think that the values and business ethics that apply in any other business should be equally applicable in F1," he said.
WHAT SAUBER SAYS...
Later, according to AFP, Sauber expressed
"surprise" at Van der Garde's comments. The team declared on its
Facebook page: "We'd have very good answers to the
many statements and accusations in Giedo's post but to expand on this wouldn't
help our race team or our fans and partners.
"It would only
encourage a mud fight via the media and we will not lend ourselves to