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.

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit


Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.