Giedo van der Garde gives up legal rights to race in Australia

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A ceasefire has been called in the legal fight between Sauber F1 Team and its former reserve driver Giedo van der Garde after the Dutchman gave up his legal rights to race in this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

Van der Garde won a hearing earlier this week in the Supreme Court of Victoria that would have forced Sauber into putting him into one of its two seats in Melbourne. The team subsequently appealed, but had this rejected just one day later.

The team was deemed to have knowingly signed a contract with three drivers for the 2015 season despite only having two seats, with van der Garde pushing for a return at the expense of either Felipe Nasr or Marcus Ericsson.

On Saturday, van der Garde’s lawyers lobbied with the judge to either imprison or fine Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn, and also suggested that the team’s assets in Melbourne be seized on grounds of contempt.

The two sides opened talks on Friday to try and come to some kind of compromise, before van der Garde confirmed in a statement on Saturday in Australia that he would be giving up his right to race this weekend in the best interests of motorsport.

“With respect to the interest of motorsport, and F1 in particular, I have decided to give up my legal rights to race this weekend at the Melbourne Grand Prix,” the Dutchman said.

“As I am a passionate race driver this decision has been very difficult for me. However I also wish to respect the interest of the FIA, Sauber Motorsport, as well as Nasr and Ericsson.

“My management will continue talks with Sauber early next week to find a mutually acceptable solution for the current situation that has now arisen.

“I am confident such solution will be found and I will inform the media once done.”

Whether said solution involves him racing at the Malaysian Grand Prix at the end of the month is unclear, but he did complete a seat fitting for the team on Friday despite Sauber blocking his paddock pass.

Sauber is yet to comment on the matter, but will now focus on fully participating in this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

March 29 in Motorsports History: Scott Dixon wins first race after reunification

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Reunited and it felt so good.

That’s what drivers likely thought before the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For the first time since 1995, major-league open-wheel racing in the United States was under the banner of a sole sanctioning body as Champ Car and the Indy Racing Leauge had reunified just a month prior.

Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead. Photo: Jim Hines/IndyCar.

The first race after reunification also saw a reversal of fortunes for Scott Dixon, who won the race after losing the 2007 IRL championship in crushing fashion.

In the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, Dixon ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap of the race. The race victory – and championship – went to Dixon’s future teammate, Dario Franchitti.

But the tides turned for Dixon nearly seven months later, and the Kiwi was able to win with the help of another driver’s misfortune.

Tony Kanaan was leading with seven laps remaining when E.J. Viso spun and made contact with Kanaan’s car. Kanaan remained on track through the caution period despite suffering obvious damage to his right front suspension.

On the final restart with three laps remaining, Dixon and others cars easily passed Kanaan’s wounded car on the outside. Dixon then maintained his lead through the checkered flag to win at Homestead for the second time in his career.

“I think Marco (Andretti) and T.K. probably had a little bit better cars today, but we came through with the win, and that’s what counts,” Dixon told ESPN after his 12th career victory.

Following his victory at Homestead, Dixon continued to redeem himself through the course of the 2008 season. In May, he won the Indianapolis 500 for the first (and so far only) time. Following Indy, he went on to win four more times in 2008 and won his second series championship.

Also on this date:

1998: Mika Hakkinen won the Grand Prix of Brazil, the first of eight victories in his first championship season.

2010: Will Power won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was held on a Monday morning because of rain postponing the race on Sunday.

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