Dutch Formula One driver Giedo van Der Garde is seeking an urgent hearing in an Australian court to force the Sauber team to reinstate him as a driver ahead of next weekend's season-opening race.
His lawyers lodged papers with the Victorian SupremeCourt today seeking a hearing on Monday in Melbourne, whichwill host the Australian Grand Prix on March 15.
Van Der Garde, who was a reserve driver with Sauber last season, claims to have a contract for a race seat this season,but the financially-troubled team has appointed Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr as its drivers for 2015, with both bringing lucrative sponsorship backing.
The 29-year-old van Der Garde is also considered a leading candidate to be appointed as a race driver for the Manor team, which has just come under new ownership that willallow the team to compete this season.
In documents lodged with the court, van der Garde said he was guaranteed a spot on this year's Sauber team on June 28,2014, but team bosses reneged on the deal, "In early November 2014, Mr. van de Garde was informed by Sauber's chief executive officer, Ms. Monisha Kaltenborn, that Sauber's two seats had been given to other drivers and that,as a consequence, Mr. van der Garde would not have a place as a driver in the team in 2015," the documents claim.
Van der Garde originally took his case to the Arbitration Institution in Switzerland, which ordered Sauber to keep himon the team. "The respondent (Sauber) was ordered to refrain from taking any action the effect of which would be to deprive Mr.van der Garde of his entitlement to participate in the 2015 Formula One Season as one of Sauber's two nominated racedrivers," court documents claim.
The Victorian Supreme Court is likely to facejurisdictional and time restrictions against fully assessingthe case before the weekend's race but does have power toenforce injunctions against individuals or teams participating in the local event, pending later rulings.