Sauber miss practice as legal fight drags on

Formula One team Sauber missed opening practice for the Australian Grand Prix on Friday as a legal fight over their driving line-up dragged on in the Melbourne courts.

AFP| Last Updated: Mar 13, 2015, 12:31 PM IST
Sauber miss practice as legal fight drags on

Melbourne: Formula One team Sauber missed opening practice for the Australian Grand Prix on Friday as a legal fight over their driving line-up dragged on in the Melbourne courts.

The Swiss team`s cars remained in the garage during the 90-minute session at Albert Park, as a contempt of court hearing was adjourned.

Sauber on Thursday lost an appeal against a court ruling ordering it to honour a deal with Giedo van der Garde and let him to drive for them in Melbourne.

But the financially strapped team has also signed contracts with the heavily sponsored Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, leaving them in a calamitous position at the season-opener.

Ericsson and Nasr were both listed on the boards as Sauber`s drivers on Friday, but van der Garde was also seen at the track in his racing overalls.

Van der Garde`s lawyers are pursuing a contempt of court action in an attempt to make sure Sauber comply with the earlier ruling.

The team was ordered to hand over a list of assets on Friday in a hearing which was adjourned until 3.15pm (0415 GMT). 

A statement later said both parties had sought a further adjournment, without giving details.

Van der Garde claimed Sauber reneged on an agreement that he would race for them this season when they opted for Nasr and Ericsson instead.

He originally won his complaint at a Swiss arbitration tribunal and on Wednesday Justice Clyde Croft backed the ruling, enforcing it in Australia.

Van der Garde`s lawyer Jim Peters has said Sauber had made no effort to reinstate his client, and sought to seize the team`s cars to ensure they complied with the court`s ruling.

Van der Garde, 29, was a reserve driver for Sauber last year and competed for Caterham in 2013.

He has expressed his desire to race for Sauber which endured a poor season in 2014, failing to register a single point in 19 races.

They showed encouraging speed and reliability in pre-season testing, with Nasr going fastest on the second day of the first test in Jerez.