- Mar 22, 2014
Two sessions into the Australian Grand Prix, it appears no end is in sight to the drama at Sauber.
Despite Giedo Van der Garde receiving a positive response from the Supreme Court of Victoria, the Dutchman was unable to drive in Friday practice, as Sauber continue to dispute his claim at the risk of facing criminal prosecution.
In what can only be described as a crazy day for Sauber, Van der Garde was first given Marcus Ericsson’s overalls so that he could take place in a seat fitting, but that was as close as he would come to getting on track.
Conspicuously absent from Free Practice 1, reports in the paddock suggested Australian police were waiting to arrest Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn. However, a continuance on the contempt of court ruling hanging over the team allowed them to take part in FP2, even though Sauber still face the prospect of arrests and seizure of assets.
Regardless of any ruling on the case, Van der Garde will no longer be able to drive at this weekend’s race, as the Dutchman could not obtain a Superlicense in time. The FIA’s Contract Recognition Board must verify a driver’s contract as part of the licensing process, which it is now unable to do.
With the situation at her team slipping out of her control, Kaltenborn was the main subject of questioning at Friday’s team principal press conference. While remaining tight-lipped on the particulars of the case, Kaltenborn was adamant there would be no change to the organisational makeup of the team.
“This whole matter does not have any effect on the way we work, the way the team works and Peter Sauber is the chairman of our company and he’s continued to be in that position.
Asked if she had considered resigning, Kaltenborn – who owns a 33.3% share in the team – responded that she “had not considered that.”
The court will reconvene at 9:30am on Saturday.
Update: The Supreme Court of Victoria has announced that the case has been discontinued, per agreement of both parties. While Sauber is no longer at risk of contempt of court, the earlier ruling upholding van der Garde's case in Switzerland is still in effect.
The parties will now have two weeks until Malaysia to try and reach a settlement.