Van der Garde leaves Sauber after bitter row

Giedo van der Garde confirmed on Wednesday he has terminated his contract, by mutual consent, with Formula One team Sauber after a drawn out legal saga.

AFP| Last Updated: Mar 18, 2015, 19:43 PM IST
Van der Garde leaves Sauber after bitter row

London: Giedo van der Garde confirmed on Wednesday he has terminated his contract, by mutual consent, with Formula One team Sauber after a drawn out legal saga.

Former reserve driver van der Garde took Sauber to court after claiming they had reneged on a guarantee made last year to give him a seat for the 2015 season.

Instead, the Swiss outfit opted for heavily sponsored drivers Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.

"We have reached a settlement with Sauber and my driver contract with the team has been ended by mutual consent," the Dutch driver revealed on his Facebook page.

"As a passionate race driver, I feel sad and am very disappointed. 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."

Van der Garde originally took his case to a Swiss arbitration tribunal, which ordered Sauber to keep him on the team.

A Victoria Supreme Court ruling backed that decision last Wednesday, enforcing it in Australia, just days before Sunday`s Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Sauber appealed that ruling but lost, prompting van der Garde`s lawyers to argue that Sauber were in contempt of court by not complying with an order to honour a contract with the Dutchman and let him drive in the season-opener.

Van der Garde then said on Saturday he would give up his right to compete in the Australian race and has now ended is contract with Sauber.

"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.

"I had a valid driver contract for the entire 2015 season and enforceable rights to it. I pushed very hard until last Saturday in Melbourne to get the drive that I was entitled to.

"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.

"My future in motorsport has not finished, on the contrary, I see this as a new beginning. I will sit down with my management in the coming weeks to discuss my future plans.

Sauber`s Nasr took fifth in Melbourne, with teammate Ericsson in eighth.