Giedo van der Garde has awoken on Saturday morning and drawn a line under the ugly contempt of court proceedings between himself and the Sauber F1 Team which have dominated the build-up to the Australian Grand Prix.
The Dutchman successfully obtained a legal ruling enforcing that the Swiss team run him in place of one of the team’s two entered drivers, Felipe Nasr or Marcus Ericsson, for the remainder of the season.
The Supreme Court of Victoria initially ruled that van der Garde held a valid contract with the team and instructed the Hinwil outfit not to do anything that would interfere with his ability to drive at this weekend’s race.
The Sauber team promptly appealed the ruling, which it lost on Wednesday, and the presiding judges subsequently launched – at van der Garde’s behest – contempt of court proceedings in case the team continued to delay enforcing the ruling. A guilty verdict could have seen the team’s equipment impounded or team principal Monisha Kaltenborn imprisoned for up to six months.
Van der Garde visited the team on Friday morning to perform a seat fitting, but took no part in Friday practice as he was not in possession of the mandatory FIA Super License required to actually drive the car.
The contempt of court hearing was resumed in the afternoon – by which point the team had skipped running in FP1 – and the judges instructed both parties to have discussions to resolve the situation out of court. A further hearing was scheduled for 9:30am this morning, and that has since concluded with the contempt proceedings dropped.
The rulings on van der Garde’s original claim in Swiss arbitration and in the Supreme Court of Victoria still stand, so this latest development does not mean that the Dutchman won’t launch further legal action at a later stage.
“The Sauber F1 Team can confirm it has been able to agree with Mr. Giedo Van der Garde that he refrains from driving in the Australian Formula One Grand Prix so it can keep its original planning,” a statement from the team reads.
“The Sauber F1 Team, Mr. Van der Garde and his management will continue to have constructive talks in order to find a mutually acceptable solution. The Sauber F1 Team is here to race in the Australian Formula One Grand Prix and that is what the team is now focusing on. In the course of next week we will be able to give more information.”
Image via XPB Images