COURT BATTLE: Giedo van der Garde is suing Sauber to race. Image: AFP / Marwan Naamani.
MELBOURNE, Australia - Sauber says letting Giedo van der Garde race in Melbourne will be "a safety risk". Read "dangerous".
Dutch driver Van der Garde's case against the Swiss team was heard in the Melbourne Supreme Court on Monday (March 9 2015).
Each side acknowledges that the 29-year-old has a contract to race in 2015 but Sauber signed Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr instead as the UK-based team struggled for financial survival.
Sauber is fighting Van der Garde's bid to race in 2015, starting with Sunday's (March 15) season opener in Australia.
The team's lawyer told the court that allowing him to race this weekend would be dangerous because the C34 car was designed only for the bodies of Ericsson and Nasr. Ericsson and Nasr were present in court, as was Van der Garde.
The Sauber lawyer said the 2015 Sauber reached speeds "in excess of 300km/h", exposing its occupants to forces of "up to five times their body weight".
Rodney Garratt QC told the judge, according to The Australian newspaper: "Van der Garde has no experience driving the C34 Ferrari and would not have sufficient time to learn."
Sauber has also said it does not even have the right seat belt in Melbourne for Van der Garde, making it "reckless and dangerous" to let him drive, the lawyer told the judge, according to local broadcaster ABC.
"It (letting him race) would result in an unacceptable risk of physical harm or even death" not just for the driver but also for spectators, Garratt was reported to have said.
The judge has yet to rule.
Van der Garde and his management declined comment before the hearing.
Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn also told the Swiss newspaper Blick it was "inappropriate to comment".
"But we will do everything to defend the interests of Sauber. We have a difficult year behind us but have made every effort to create a good situation for 2015."