Sauber appeal dismissed at court
Formula 1 racing team Sauber lost its appeal against a court ruling allowing driver Giedo van der Garde to race in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix. The Dutch driver said he was promised a seat for the 2015 season, but the Swiss team dumped him in favor of Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson and Brazilian Felipe Nasr in November.
A Victorian Supreme Court judge ruled on Wednesday that van der Garde should be able to race in the season-opener in Melbourne, upholding a Swiss arbitration tribunal’s decision.
Sauber appealed Wednesday’s decision, but three Victorian Court of Appeal judges ruled against the racing team Thursday, setting the stage for van der Garde to begin practice sessions Friday and compete in Sunday’s race.
However, doubts remained over whether van der Garde had the necessary Formula One “super license” to drive, and Australian Grand Prix officials would not comment on his status.
Van der Garde’s lawyers lodged papers with the court last Friday. The driver, who was a reserve with Sauber last season, claimed to have a contract for a race seat this season, but the financially-troubled team appointed Ericsson and Nasr as its drivers for 2015, with both bringing lucrative sponsorship backing.
But, the problem is that the cars are custom-fitted for each driver, there would not be enough time to reconfigure one of their Ferraris to suit van der Garde before the start of Friday’s practice session and it is still unclear how the whole situation will be resolved.