Sauber lose driver row appeal, face contempt action

Melbourne, PTI | Updated : 12 March 2015, 04:08 PM

Formula One team Sauber faced contempt of court action on Thursday after failing to overturn an order that Giedo van der Garde must drive for them at the Australian Grand Prix.

In a fast-moving sequence of events, the Swiss outfit were told to hand over a list of their assets on Friday morning to ensure they comply with the court ruling.

Sauber earlier lost their appeal against a Victoria Supreme Court order forcing them to honour a deal with former reserve driver van der Garde.

Van der Garde claims Sauber reneged on an agreement that he would race for them this season when they opted for heavily sponsored drivers Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson instead.

The legal row has badly disrupted Sauber’s preparations for the new season, with their driver line-up still unknown and a fresh hearing pending as practice sessions start on Friday.

Jim Peters QC said Sauber had made no effort to reinstate van der Garde, and sought to seize the team’s cars to ensure they complied with the court’s ruling.

Justice Clyde Croft ordered Sauber to deliver details of their assets in Australia by 9:30 am (2230 GMT) on Friday, ahead of a contempt of court hearing.

Van der Garde originally won his complaint at a Swiss arbitration tribunal and on Wednesday Justice Croft backed the ruling, enforcing it in Australia.

Sauber’s bid to overturn the decision was thrown out, with the three appeal court judges saying they saw “no error in the reasoning of the trial judge”.

“We did not consider this course (the appeal) to be in the interest of justice,” the judges said in a statement.

“The appeal is dismissed because we see no error in the reasons of the trial judge.”

First Published: Thursday, March 12, 2015 04:06 PM
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