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Oz court defers answer on Sauber driver

2015-03-10 06:55

ANXIOUS TIMES: Sauber's Giedo van der Garde is still hoping to take part in the Australian GP. Image: AFP / Marwan Naamani.

MELBOURNE, Australia - Formula 1 driver Giedo van der Garde will have to wait until Wednesday before learning whether his legal bid to race for Sauber at this week's Australian Grand Prix has been successful.

The Dutchman claims he was guaranteed a drive but that the Swiss team reneged on the deal and instead handed berths to Sweden's Marcus Ericsson and rookie Brazilian Felipe Nasr.

Judge Clyde Croft at the Supreme Court of Victoria said he would give a decision on the case on Wednesday morning after hearing submissions on Monday.

If he is successful van der Garde, 29, a reserve driver for Sauber last year, would have just two days to prepare for Friday's pre-race practice sessions for the season-opener.


Sauber lawyer Rodney Garratt argued it would be "reckless" to let him compete in an unfamiliar car and without going through the two-week custom seat-fitting process.

Garratt said such a move would put other drivers and support staff at an "unacceptable" risk and it would be "reckless and dangerous.

"Mr. Van der Garde has no experience driving the C34 Ferrari and would not have sufficient time to learn," Garratt told the court, according to Australian Associated Press.

But Van der Garde's lawyer Tom Clarke said in 2012 a Formula One driver was fitted with a seat just three days after being granted a drive by an emergency ruling.

"Teams are very flexible to make adjustments for every specific driver," he said, adding that Nasr and Ericsson had clauses in their contracts allowing them to be replaced.

"Sauber does have the ability to substitute Mr. Van der Garde this weekend for one or another driver without falling into breach of those existing contracts," he said.

Ericsson, 24, and Nasr, 22, who are heavily sponsored and bring in millions of dollars for Sauber, were both at the court in Melbourne for the opening statements.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 F1 season – fresh reports every day.


Read more on:    sauber  |  australia  |  melbourne  |  motorsport  |  formula 1

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