Supreme Court of Victoria dismisses Sauber appeal; van der Garde legally wins (UPDATED)


1:40 a.m. ET (UPDATE): The Supreme Court of Victoria has dismissed Sauber’s appeal, which means Giedo van der Garde has legally won his case to race in this weekend’s season opening Australian Grand Prix.

The Court said it saw no error in the reasons of the trial judge, and the appeal is dismissed.

10:45 p.m. ET: All of the lawyers for Sauber, Sauber’s two planned drivers Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, and 2014 Sauber reserve driver Giedo van der Garde have made their cases in the Supreme Court of Victoria, in the ongoing dispute over who will drive in this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

A decision will come down Thursday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. local time in Australia, which translates to 1:30 a.m. ET Thursday morning here in the U.S., 12:30 a.m. CT and 10:30 p.m. PT on the west coast.

The decision on Thursday comes after van der Garde won his court case Wednesday that he be allowed to drive in the Grand Prix. Sauber appealed and testimony from all parties was heard today.

Per veteran F1 journalist Adam Cooper (@adamcooperf1) and Melbourne 7 news reporter Kate Jones (@kate_jones7), both of whom followed the proceedings as they happened, Sauber’s lawyer took the stand first before the respective lawyers for Nasr and Ericsson, and lastly van der Gardes.

Sauber has argued that it would need two weeks for van der Garde to have a seat ready to go, and also that the Dutchman would need a Superlicense, the process of which would also take too long. Per Cooper though, the judges were already giving Sauber’s lawyer a hard time during that testimony:

A point of evidence raised was that van der Garde won the first judgment against Sauber on December 3 and thus Sauber should have ample time to prepare for the follow-up.

Per Jones, Sauber’s lawyer also thought whatever decision would only affect Australia, and not the remaining Grands Prix this season, but the judges disagreed.

Once it came time for the lawyers for Nasr and Ericsson to stake their case, the judge said Sauber has left them in a tough spot as they’re two drivers with contracts, and van der Garde would have a third.

Per Jones, Van der Garde’s lawyer argued for his client that Sauber had already breached Swiss order by nominating new drivers and telling the FIA his contract was terminated. Van der Garde’s lawyer said he has worked all his life to drive in F1 and with the length of time taken to make a ruling, his chances of racing this weekend are slipping away.

On another note, as of now, Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn is set to be part of the team principals press conference this weekend in Melbourne.

Add that to the ongoing legal proceedings and the saga continues.