Dutch media have reported that Sauber reserve driver Giedo van der Garde is close to a 2015 race seat with the team, and the potential exists he could be making his return to the grid even later this year.
Per the Dutch Algemeen Dagblad and Formule 1, “sources” indicate a deal is already done.
“The Swiss private team is in desperate need of money,” the Algemeen Daglbad paper said. “The financial distress is to the point that some employees seem not to have been paid in months.
“It is an open secret that he (van der Garde) has some wealthy sponsors.”
Van der Garde has made six appearances in free practice one this season, and is currently among five drivers battling over the two Sauber seats in 2015.
Incumbents Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez have struggled through a point-less season to date. Additional test drivers Sergey Sirotkin and Simona de Silvestro are also angling for seats, with de Silvestro having had several highly publicized tests this season.
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.