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Sauber lose van der Garde appeal

Sauber have lost their appeal against a court decision that insists that Giedo van der Garde races for the team in Australia.

Giedo van der Garde had previously won a court battle against Sauber after the 29-year-old was dismissed by Sauber at the end of last season.

Sauber opted for a new driver line-up in the form of former Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson and GP2 racer Felipe Nasr, both bringing with them important sponsorship revenue for the team.

However van der Garde who was the teams test driver last season claimed that he had been offered a race seat in June 2014 for the start of the 2015 Formula One World Championship.

The Dutchman took his case to a Swiss arbitration tribunal which ordered Sauber to keep him at the team and on Tuesday the Victoria court in Australia also enforced this ruling.

Sauber appealed the decision which was later dismissed.

The appeals panel insisted that there was 'no error in the reasoning of the trial judge' and they also ordered Sauber to pay van der Garde's legal fees.

It is now unclear what direction Sauber will take.

The team are strongly opposed to dropping either one of Ericsson or Nasr, however if they don't they could risk contempt of court.

Sauber have been asked by the court to compile a list of assets, which includes their cars and equipment currently at Albert Park.

If Sauber are found in contempt of court these assets could be seized.

Which leaves Sauber in an impossible position less than 24 hours before the first practice session of the new season.

Both Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr have race contracts with Sauber and both drivers have brought important sponsorship to the team.

If either one of those drivers are dropped they could theoretically also sue Sauber for breach of contract, which could prove to be a financial blow depending on how their sponsorship agreements have been made.

Sauber's only hope appears to be the expiry of Van der Garde's super-licence.

Van der Garde is aiming to get his super-licence fast-tracked via the Dutch motorsport authority and the FIA.

But if this fails then that could be Sauber's saving grace, for this weekend at least.

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday March 12 2015

Time: 9:06AM


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