After the news yesterday that jilted former Sauber reserve driver Giedo Van Der Garde was activating legal action against the Sauber team, demanding the team honor an agreement they both reached last year for Van Der Garde to drive for the team in F1 this year. Sauber have now responded to the legal challenge from Van Der Garde.
Sauber have vowed to "take all the necessary steps to protect" their interests against Van Der Garde. It appears both sided reached an agreement in the middle of last year for Van Der Garde to be promoted from last season's reserve driver role to a full race seat this year, although whether a contract was ever agreed or signed is not known.
The team suffered severe budget issues last year and it appears the team then went back on this promise and instead signed two drivers who can bring a significant budget to the team in the Swede Marcus Ericsson and Brazilian rookie Felipe Nasr.
The Dutchman has launched this last minute attempt to reclaim his seat through the courts, with an initial Swiss arbitration tribunal has ordered the team to allow Van Der Garde to race at the opening Australian Grand Prix next weekend.
Sauber themselves released a statement giving an overview of the ruling from the Swiss tribunal. They stated "In a first partial award of a Swiss arbitral tribunal, the application of Mr van der Garde was upheld, with the tribunal relevantly ordering Sauber to refrain from taking action the effect of which would be to deprive Giedo [sic] van der Garde of his entitlement to participate in the 2015 Formula One season as one of Sauber’s two nominated race drivers."
Van Der Garde has also taken his case to the Supreme Court in Victoria, where the case will be heard this coming Monday. Sauber have announced their intention to fight this case in the courts, and this will be a very unwelcome distraction for the Sauber team as they attempt to prepare for the start of the 2015 season.
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