Giedo van der Garde has given up his legal rights to race in the Australian Grand Prix after coming to an arrangement with Sauber over their dispute.
The Dutchman, who was Sauber’s reserve driver last year, won legal battles in Switzerland and Australia which upheld his claim that he has a contract to drive for the Swiss Formula 1 team in 2015.
Van der Garde followed that up with a summons requesting that Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn be found in contempt of court for not abiding by the ruling to let him race in Melbourne, and that the team’s assets be seized.
But at a hearing at the Supreme Court of Victoria on Saturday morning, van der Garde’s lawyer Jim Peters QC said that, following talks that went “through the night”, the “matter had been finalized” and their summons withdrawn.
The initial court order, which validated van der Garde’s contract, still stands and van der Garde’s lawyers say the situation remains fluid with options on the table to secure a positive outcome. So while van der Garde says he will not race this weekend, with Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson set to continue driving Sauber’s C34s, it remains a possibility that he could drive at some point this season.
Talks to come to a resolution are planned for early next week, with the Malaysian Grand Prix taking place the following weekend.
Van der Garde said in a statement: “With respect to the interest of motorsport, and F1 in particular, I have decided to give up my legal rights to race this weekend at the Melbourne Grand Prix.
“As I am a passionate race driver, this decision has been very difficult for me. However, I also wish to respect the interest of the FIA, Sauber Motorsport, as well as Nasr and Ericsson.
“My management will continue talks with Sauber early next week to find a mutually acceptable solution for the current situation. I am confident such solution will be found and I will inform the media once done.”
Sauber confirmed it would race on without van der Garde this weekend, and continue discussions to fully resolve their dispute.
“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 Grand Prix so it can keep its original planning,” said the team in a statement released after the hearing. 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 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.”