Section: Sauber

F1: Sauber and Van der Garde end bitter dispute

Dutch driver Giedo van der Garde admits his “future in Formula One is probably over” after reaching a settlement with Sauber to resolve their bitter legal dispute.

Van der Garde took Sauber to courts in Switzerland and Australia over his belief he had a contract to race for the team in 2015. In the days before the Australian Grand Prix the Supreme Court of Victoria found that Van der Garde was entitled to race at the season-opening race in Melbourne, but both parties came to an agreement ahead of Sunday’s event to allow Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson to compete for Sauber.

On Wednesday Van der Garde confirmed via his Facebook page the matter has been resolved and his 2015 contract ended by mutual consent. The Dutch driver, who drove for Caterham in 2013, says he felt well within his rights to take the team to court to pursue the career he always dreamed of.

“As a passionate race driver, I feel sad and am very disappointed,” Van der Garde’s statement said. “I have worked very hard my entire career, ever since starting with go-karts at the age of eight, to live my dream and become a successful Formula One driver. I had hoped at last to be able to show what I am capable of, driving a car for a respected midfield team in the 2015 season. This dream has been taken away from me and I know that my future in Formula One is probably over.”

Remarkably, Van der Garde says Sauber has his own sponsors to thank for its continued existence in the sport.

“There has been a lot of speculation in the media over the past week, so I want to set out clearly that my sponsors paid the sponsorship fee related to the 2015 season in its entirety to Sauber in the first half of 2014. This was simply in good faith and to help the team deal with its cash problems at the time. Effectively, it was my sponsor’s advanced payments that helped the team survive in 2014.

“Sauber’s financial decision-making in this case is bizarre and makes no sense to me. I am not at liberty to discuss details, but Sauber paid significant compensation to avoid honouring the contract they had with me. Only in that respect can I be satisfied that my rights have finally been recognised and that at least some justice has been done.”

Van der Garde says he came to an agreement not to drive at the Australian Grand Prix because he feared the ramifications for Sauber, though he did take a swipe at team principal Monisha Kaltenborn.

“I am a race driver and all I want is to race. However, the team principal was adamant not to let me drive, notwithstanding my legal rights to do so and a series of rulings and court orders in my favour and despite my race driving abilities. I will never understand this. I could have persisted, but the team principal had taken a decision contrary to my contract that she would not work with me and this became painfully clear in the paddock in Melbourne.

“To push on against this determination might have brought down the team, it would most certainly have wrecked the opening Grand Prix in Melbourne because the team´s cars would have been seized by the court, it may have ruined the careers of two young drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. Possibly the team´s directors would even be taken into custody. I decided I did not want to live with that idea, even though it was only the team’s management that was responsible for the bizarre situation I found myself in.”

The Dutchman says he now has his eye on competing in the World Endurance Championship and the illustrious Le Mans 24 Hours.

Read more at ESPN

F1: Van der Garde and Sauber set to reach financial settlement

Giedo van der Garde’s case against the Sauber Formula One team looks set to come to a conclusion in the next couple of days after the parties finalised a settlement.

The Dutchman and the Swiss squad were embroiled in a legal battle during the Australian Grand Prix weekend, as he claimed he was unfairly ditched by the team when he had a contract to race in 2015.

An Australian court ruled in favour of the driver, but the case was dropped as both parties agreed to talk and Sauber stuck to its original plan of running Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.

Now the case is set to come to an end, with Sauber agreeing to pay van der Gard a big sum of money. understands that the figure involved is €15m, a substantial sum given the obvious financial predicament of the team.

Despite the legal problems, Sauber enjoyed a very positive grand prix in Melbourne, with Nasr finishing in fifth and Ericsson in eighth.

The team is currently third in the constructors’ championship, just one point behind Ferrari.


F1: Sauber lose appeal over Giedo van der Garde ruling

Sauber have failed in an appeal to overturn a court ruling that says Giedo van der Garde should race for the team at Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

Van der Garde, 29, a former test driver for Sauber, says he was promised a race seat for this season, a claim backed by the Victoria Supreme Court this week.

Three appeal judges ruled against the team on Thursday, clearing the way for the Dutchman to compete this weekend.

Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr are the team’s nominated drivers for 2015.

“The appeal is dismissed because we see no error in the reasoning of the trial judge,” the head of the appeals panel said.

Sauber were also ordered to pay Van der Garde’s legal costs.

Speaking outside court, Van der Garde said: “Sauber has to work with us now. There is no other issue.”

It is unclear whether Sauber will drop one of their current drivers to accommodate Van der Garde in Melbourne this weekend, or race with Ericsson and Nasr and risk contempt of court.

BBC Radio 5 live commentator James Allen says current rumours in the Melbourne paddock indicate Swedish driver Ericsson would be the man to step aside should Van der Garde drive.

Prior to launching their failed appeal, Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said letting Van der Garde race at such short notice – in a car designed for Ericsson or rookie Nasr – would be unsafe.

“What we cannot do is jeopardise the safety of our team, or any other driver on the track, by having an unprepared driver in a car that has now been tailored to two other assigned drivers,” she said.

Van der Garde must still acquire a valid super-licence – required for any driver to compete in F1 – if he hopes to compete this weekend, as last season’s has now expired and has not been renewed.

His application must go through the motorsport authorities in his native Netherlands, who in turn must apply to the sport’s world governing body, the FIA, but Van der Garde is confident of pushing the paperwork through in time.

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: Sauber launches new C34 and new livery

Sauber has become the latest team to launch its 2015 car, releasing images of the new C34 ahead of its first test in Jerez.

After a disappointing season in 2014 without a single point, Sauber is hoping it can move back up the pecking order this year. The team has two new drivers in Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, and the impact of the pair can already be seen in the sponsors adorning the C34. Nasr brings backing from Banco do Brasil, which has prominent advertising space on the sidepod.

The car itself sees yet another treatment for the new nose regulations this year, with a bulbous front nose section extending long and low to meet the requirements of the rules. The team said the changes to the nose have had a significant impact on the aerodynamic design of the rest of the car.

The engineering team has focused on three main areas with the C34: performance in slow corners, weight reduction, as well as braking stability in an attempt to right the wrongs of the C34 that often ran over the minimum weight limit for car and driver last year.

“We were able to gain a lot of experience during the course of the 2014 season, which will have an influence on the Sauber C34,” chief designer Eric Gandelin said. Parts will be added to the new car ahead of its race debut in Melbourne in mid March. “We will use the time up to Melbourne to ensure we’re as competitive as possible when we line up on the grid for the season opener,” Gandelin added.

“We have to improve, and be able to fight for championship points,” team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said. “I am delighted about our two new drivers who bring a breath of fresh air. Both are young, talented and highly motivated. On their way to Formula 1 both stood out through victories in Formula BMW and Formula 3. Both then finished this career progression off in the GP2-Series. While Marcus looks back to one season in Formula One, Felipe will have his rookie year in which he comes fully prepared due to his role as test and reserve driver at Williams last year. I feel confident with regard to our drivers.”

Once again, the Sauber will be powered by a Ferrari engine but the team said there had been significant chances to the architecture of the power unit for 2015. “The aim has been not only to increase the power from the turbocharged engine, but above all to optimise the car’s energy recovery and energy storage capability,” the statement said. “In terms of its concept, the engine is very much comparable with last year’s, but its architecture has changed significantly, necessitating numerous adjustments to the chassis.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: Sauber to unveil 2015 challenger on January 30

Sauber will unveil the C34 with an online launch on January 30, two days day before 2015 testing begins in Jerez.

Sauber was one of the few teams to confirm its launch plans and will join Ferrari by breaking cover on Friday, which will take place at 10am Swiss time. The schedule for the Jerez test has also been confirmed by the team, with Marcus Ericsson in the car on Sunday and Wednesday and Felipe Nasr taking over in between.

Ericsson and rookie Nasr form a new-look line-up for Sauber this season, with reports suggesting the latter’s Banco do Brasil sponsors will have a big impact on the team’s livery. Nasr competed in a blue and yellow Carlin, the colours of the bank, in GP2 last year.

Read more at ESPN

F1: Pay driver situation is ‘out of control’

Financial demands that some Formula 1 teams are asking from drivers are ‘out of control’, claims ousted Sauber racer Adrian Sutil.

Sauber has opted to replace Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez with Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson for 2015 – with both the team’s new drivers arriving with generous sponsorship backing.

Asked if he felt budgets were becoming more important than talent, Sutil said that while pay drivers had always been a factor in F1 he felt the current situation was now extreme.

“The budgets some drivers are paying for a year are out of control,” he told AUTOSPORT.

“This is not the way it should be.

“It has always been a problem, and it’s always more or less been like this.

“There were small teams 20 or 30 years ago where you could buy yourself a cockpit. Now there are less of them and maybe it’s more obvious.

“This is something that may never change in Formula 1, but we can make it a little more balanced.

“I remember when Minardi or Arrows were in Formula 1 and were still more or less profitable. And there were maybe a few drivers with sponsorship, but this was not the priority.

“It would be good to have this [situation] back, and then maybe you could call it a sport again.

“Right now, it’s hard to say what it is.”

While teams under financial pressure have criticised F1’s revenue distribution and the costs of the 2014 rules package, Sutil said they had to share responsibility for their economic fortunes.

“First of all I think a few teams maybe have to do their job a little bit better to make things profitable,” he said.

“Or on the other side, maybe there’s something wrong in the system.

“I don’t know the internal details, but there are some teams that manage to be in Formula 1 and make it profitable. It’s not a problem, they have sponsors, and they can live with it. Some don’t have and they are struggling a lot.

“I’m just a driver, so I don’t really know why it’s so out of balance. But it shouldn’t be like this because it’s still a big sport.”

Read more at Yahoo Sport

F1: Felipe Nasr to drive for Sauber in 2015

Sauber have announced that Brazil’s Felipe Nasr will drive for them in 2015, joining fellow new recruit Marcus Ericsson.

The signings mean that current drivers Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierez will leave Sauber at the end of the season.

Nasr, 22, has been a test and reserve driver for Williams this year while also participating in the GP2 series.

“This is an unforgettable moment that I owe to all of those who have supported me,” said Nasr.