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.