Oops

It seems that Giedo van der Garde may have done well in court in Australia but the word on the street in the paddock in Melbourne is that the Dutchman made a mistake during the winter and failed to apply to his national sporting authority for them to ask the FIA to grant him a Superlicence. This means that he cannot race in Melbourne because it takes 14 days for the process to happen.

In addition it begs the question is Giedo in breach is his Sauber contract by not having done the required paperwork?

250 thoughts on “Oops

        1. It’s not for the easily offended, but try googling it for 5 minutes amusement. He’s a fictional character from ‘The Thick of It’ with a rather direct style when it comes to ‘crisis management’.

  1. What’s your problem? Everything you write is proven nonsense the next day. Give it up already.

      1. Joe – Milton’s (incorrect) comment above gave me a thought – it would be interesting to look back at some of your previous predictions over the years, including some that turned out right and wrong. I’d definitely enjoy reading it in GP+…

        1. You might want to check Joe’s predictions on Giedo’s case. He wouldn’t have a hope in hell, and it was just to embarrass Sauber.

    1. Can you post the link to your blog where I can find everything I need to know? I’m assuming you’ve attended every race since the 80s and have all the contacts, and know everything that’s going (presumably via some personal line to Bernie?)…

      No?

      As for vdG, there is no solution to this. Whatever happens this weekend, someone’s going to be in breach. Unless something can be worked out on a personal level with the existing drivers (in exchange for some massive team loyalty), or some crazy loophole found, all roads lead to a mess.

        1. Agreed. I was just wondering if Milton could find out what was going on via his direct line 😉

    2. And what’s YOUR problem, Milton? You’ve never posted on this blog – at least not under this name – until today… seems Joe hit a nerve. It’s very transparent.

  2. This already has been cleared up during the appeal hearing. It’s not Giedo van der Garde’s fault, because it’s not the drivers, but the teams responsibility to apply for the Super Licence.

  3. There is a clause that allows application 48 hours before initial scrutineering due to “driver change… for reasons of force majeure”, so he had up until last Tuesday, theoretically, to submit an application. Question is then whether or not FIA would consider this as force majeure. I think this is unlikely.

    Whether or not Giedo has his Super Licence is a separate issue from previous rulings, but I do not see Giedo driving this weekend, nor any other weekend this season and I think this is the final nail in the coffin for Giedo.

      1. All this free F1 legal advice flying about!. The world is full of regulations but if he intended to drive (or try to) this season surely he would have been interested enough to sort out his superlicence or at least ask whoever was responsible for getting it to do so

      2. Well, how long after signing do teams typically lodge a contract, particularly if the driver won’t be starting ’til next season? Right away? Sauber could’ve lodged it last fall after signature and before their decision to dump him and there may be no need to re-submit.

      3. Unlikely, and this seems like a “chicken & egg” situation where a contract could not have been lodged because of this whole situation.

        Shouldn’t the Contract Recognition Board have intervened last year already, when Sauber breached the contract with Giedo?

        And as an aside: Sauber translates to “clean”, maybe not so much anymore

          1. If they did, it stands to reason they wouldn’t have lost the court cases in Australia. The arbitration decision would only be binding for as long as the contract is in force, after all. For the Supreme Court of Victoria to conclude that the decision still binds suggests the contract is still in force. Merely saying it’s cancelled does not make it thus.

  4. It does get murkier and makes me ask, “What was Giedo thinking?”. So Sauber can use that argument to deny him the drive?

    1. Well, how long after signing do teams typically lodge a contract, particularly if the driver won’t be starting ’til next season? Right away? Sauber could’ve lodged it last fall after signature and before their decision to dump him and there may be no need to re-submit.

  5. Surely Joe, not that Giedo is on the top of anyone’s list, this action must be considered ‘career limiting’ at best? See you tmrw.

  6. Then van der Garde just has to go through the application and then the legal process again in Malaysia. Malaysia judge most likely will come up with the same decision.

    1. Yes, but if he misses the Australian GP because he did not have the correct licence, would that not constitute a breach of contract?

        1. Lot so things are possible but did the report mention force majeure? Earthquake, fire or flood. War in Melbourne? Get real.

      1. He could always cut himself shaving and spend time away on medical advice, while the super-licence was sorted.
        Charlie has mentioned a 48 hour fast track may be possible if all are willing.

      2. Unless he can prove that Sauber has been, in addition to their breach of van der Gardes’s contract, deliberately hindering his efforts to get his license renewed. I suspect that notifying the CRB that the contract was terminated, immediately after being told by the Swiss arbitration board that the contract was still valid, counts as interference.

  7. Joe, as you know more about F1 than the common man on the street, and many F1 interested people.

    Who is responsible for applying for a SuperLicense?
    Sauber says VdG
    VdG-lawyer says Teams
    Dutch ASN have applied for VdG (supposedly) – how can the if it is the teams/drivers responsibility?

    1. The responsibility is obviously shared. A driver needs to have the ability to race so it is in his interest to do it. In this case he has to apply to the ASN. The ASN applies to the FIA and it takes 14 days

      1. I do not know how it works, but I have seen Adam Cooper reporting that actually it is the TEAM that has to lodge the request for a superlicence with the ASN, VdGarde mentioned they have the papers prepared with the Dutch organisation, but I guess it needs a team to sign?

      1. The only thing I can think of is that during the period of time he reasonably expected to be driving a Sauber the following season he missed out on the window of being able to negotiate any other employment opportunities he might otherwise have had.

        Which leads me to a question: when a pay driver brings money to a team through sponsorship do they still get “paid” through the team, or is that done directly by any other sponsors he or the team may have?

      2. Take your pick. For starters, VDG’s sponsors will no doubt be pushing for the return of the funds they paid over to the team on the understanding he would have a race seat for 2015 – reduced to account for his test seat, no doubt, but given it amounts to a repudiation of the contract there’ll be some damages from that. Then you’ll have VDG’s legal costs for pursuing the arbitration decision and two Australian court hearings, plus an arguable case for loss of opportunity in terms of securing other drives in other disciplines (although loss of opportunity is always a more difficult one to argue). It might take some complicated sums to work out, but there’s bound to be a viable damages claim in there.

    1. Most driver contracts include two clauses:

      The driver will have the physical, psychological and legal capacity to fulfil without exception all the obligations entered into under the terms of the present contract, retain such capacity for the entire duration of the present contract…

      and

      The driver undertakes that he shall not, during and after the expiry of the present contract, either in his professional or personal life, make any oral, written or other statement to anyone (and in particular to the press, television, radio or any other media) liable to harm in any way the reputation, renown or brand image of the team any of their respective employees, agents, shareholders, sponsors or partners.

      1. Joe – that reads like a direct line out of a contract! Ah those little details…

        The Truth isn’t always comfortable and the spin doctors are always up! Great reporting, keep it up!

  8. why didn’t the Sauber’s lawyers bring this up ? It sounds like a better line of arguement then all the other ones they have presented.

  9. I’m a fan of van der Garde as a driver but I don’t think he’s done the right thing here. Taking legal action literally on the eve of the grand prix seems opportunist and designed more to generate headlines and sympathy rather than representing a genuine effort to resume his driving career. If this latest news I correct, then at best you’d have to ask him to get his own house in order before taking Sauber to task, and at worst take it as evidence that he never actually expected to either win his case or be racing a F1 car in 2015. All of which undermines his naive poor little me spiel… We’ll see how things turn out!

    1. agree with your points – well made. that said I do have sympathy for the way he was let down – but he did seem to wait a long time to bring matters to a head

  10. But it is the team’s responsibility to obtain the superlicense for the driver.
    If VDG can’t race in Australia because of that, it is Sauber’s fault and they’ll have to compensate somehow…

  11. Dear Joe, all
    So, the burning question is…. are those free range or battery eggs he is wearing all over his face???
    To pinch a bit from Latin- this is more ‘Oops-issimus’ than your average ‘Guiden variety’ ‘oops’. I mean, if you are going to shoot yourself in the foot, forget the 44 Magnum, grab the AK47 -and do a thorough going job of it!!
    If any doubts exist as to why the term ‘F1 circus’ is used, them they have been erased by this.
    Mixed metaphors used unapologetically:-)
    Perhaps some of the money spent on lawyers would have been better spent on a good PA??
    Perhaps F1 could increase its ‘reach’ by signing up for some sort of (un) reality television show. ‘Keeping up with the Car-cashians’ ????
    Thank God the season starts tomorrow.
    Cheers
    MarkR

  12. In the case of a driver change in the Championship for reasons of force majeure, the FIA may accept applications up to 48 hours before the start of initial scrutineering for the event.

  13. Only Formula 1 could possibly come up with a scenario this stupid.

    1) “Professional” athletes pay to play..
    2) The teams sign more pay drivers than they have seats
    3) Pay drivers sue their former employer, although they are paying the employer so perhaps the employer is the employee
    4) Lawyers rub their hands together
    5) The pay diver pays legal fees to sue the team he was to pay to drive to allow him to drive in the seat he has already paid for, which nobody involved wants
    6) It’s all supposed to start within 24 hours

    Big congratulations are in order to the script writer…

    1. Only its not VDG that’s paying the lawyers.. It’s rich daddy in law … Who’s is doing as a matter of principle (the principle that he with the most money wins)

    2. Except that the appeals court ordered Sauber to pay van der Garde’s legal fees. Seems to me that if Sauber gave his money back this could all end. The way Sauber notified van der Garde he was terminated was obnoxious; he read it in a text message. Sauber should have had the decency to at least talk to him in person.

        1. My understanding is VdG had a contract with Sauber; he paid them money for a race seat this year. Sauber ‘hired’ two other drivers and VdG was told he was no longer needed. Seems Sauber owes him some money back, since they are not fulfilling their end of the bargain. VdG paid for a seat in 2015 and is not getting it; Sauber, refund some money. I have read that Sauber has pretty much refused to discuss this with VdG so he filed a lawsuit in Switzerland, won that, and is now after either the seat he paid for or the money back.

          I agree this does no good for VdG’s future as a driver, but Sauber’s actions do no good for the team either. Really, was there no possible resolution to this mess? I know you, Joe, are concerned about the team employees and that certainly is a huge factor, but Sauber could have solved this earlier by negotiating instead of stonewalling, IMHO. Sauber’s play of the ‘safety’ card at the hearing was BS and made me lose a lot of respect for Monisha. Maybe Sauber should have just admitted they screwed up and gone from there.

            1. News reports, including yours. Where am I wrong?

              1) VdG certainly had a contract with Sauber; this has been confirmed in a court of law.
              2) He paid them money for a 2015 race seat; how much I have no idea.
              3) Sauber contracted with two other drivers for 2015.
              4) Sauber fired VdG via text message in Austin, terminating his contract unilaterally.
              5) Sauber certainly don’t want VdG to drive for them.
              6) The Swiss arbitration board last week affirmed the validity of VdG’s contract with Sauber for a 2015 race seat.

              Really, Sauber need to come up with a solution; money would seem to be the answer, as they will not use VdG as a driver, and who would want to drive for a team that emphatically doesn’t want your services? That would be painful for all involved.

  14. According to Adam Cooper, it is the responsibility of the team to file the necessary paperwork in order to obtain a superlicence – and the comments in court indicate that Sauber deliberately chose not to assist van der Garde in getting a superlicence in order to prevent him racing.

      1. Sauber do not appear to have contested vdG’s claim.

        I would have thought that if they could demonstrate that vdG did not apply for a superlicence, and that this constitutes breach of contract, then the entire case would have been over in a minute.

  15. I just read this though. Correct?

    “During court proceedings Sauber’s lawyer said it would take two weeks to obtain such a licence for van der Garde and therefore it wasn’t practical for him to race here, ” confirmed Slater. “Van der Garde’s lawyers say a temporary licence can obtained in a matter of hours, maybe a day or so and sources within the FIA have backed that up.”

  16. However, as I understand it from other respected members of the F1 reporting crowd, an application for a super license must be supported by your team – I.e. you must be named as a driver/test/reserve.

    Furthermore, the FIA regulations state that in exceptional circumstances a license can be applied for up to 48 hours before the start of a meeting.

    By appealing, Sauber have ensured that we are now past the 48 hour window and the next stage will likely be Sauber being held in contempt of court.

    I predict a lack of Saubers on Sunday.

  17. Do you seriously think that there would have been an arbitration panel and three days of court hearings, in which Sauber’s reputation has been destroyed (irrevocably in my view) if something as simple as the super licence invalidated van der Garde’s contract?

    1. You think Sauber’s reputation has been “destroyed” by the VdG situation?I really didn’t think it was a big deal and just part of the usual background noise of the deals done between drivers, teams and sponsors. The sort of thing that only the fans really seem to take an interest in.

      1. I don’t get your logic. “Only the Fan’s”? Surely they are the main people who you’d want to have a good standing with?

  18. I don’t think Giedo has any illusions about his chances of taking to the grid; however I fully support his action and bringing the case to light in the full media glare (as so in comedy, timing is everything).

    Simply signing a driver who can bring £n as a ratchet point should you not get more a driver bringing £n+x is no way to run a business or treat drivers…it isn’t tolerated in any other line of work, so why should it be here?

    I hope that this is settled financially and it hurts Sauber in the pocket – sorry uncle Peter – so that they don’t profit from Nasr of Giedo, that this never happens again and that other teams aren’t tempted to do the same stupid thing.

    I wondered what he was thinking (potentially burning his bridges in F1) – but what has he got to lose? And if this deters teams from taking the same route and have them rethink their approach, all the better.

    1. ironically it could hurt sauber so much it causes them financial trouble; then no one will have a job or drive there….

  19. Those can be done quickly and with his treatment from Sauber in mind it can be faxed/emailed in milliseconds. With the contract in dispute the onus was on Sauber not the driver. Ultimately his delay can be attributed to Sauber’s ineptitude through this entire event. I would think Dutch sporting authorities will speed this along nicely.

  20. It also begs the question that if Geido ( who we presume is a holder of a Grade A competition licence ) and if he hands over the cash required to a FIA representative (Charlie Whiting ?) and supposedly he did more than 300 kilometres in F1 testing last year – then it’s up to Charlie to stop him racing.

    This gets crazier by the minute.

    Here was me thinking that a driver change during a tyre change pit-stop was the only out of this for Sauber.

      1. No. A super licence can be obtained much quicker but all parties concerned must assist and so Sauber might be in contempt of court if they don’t apply. On a separate note I noticed Joe’s sudden interest in Simona and realise I was looking the wrong way, it’s an interest in Sauber and for some reason supporting them in the face of all the facts showing they have behaved in a typical Bernie fashion and tried to ride rough shod over signed contracts etc. ironic if Giedo buys the team when they go to the wall.

        1. If you know better then he’ll have a superlicence in the morning and I’m an idiot. Want to put money on it?

      2. Joe

        Charlie Whiting has said it shouldn’t be a problem for him to get a super license, might be worth looking at again. Then again Charlie could be wrong, wouldn’t be the first time.

              1. So how can one meet the 190 Miles requirement in a F1 car to qualify for a Superlicense ? Grade A seems to be enough for practice according to FIA regulations as it seems 😉

        1. What he actually said was it was nothing to do with him, but it was possible. That wouldn’t fill me with confidence if I was Geido or some of his cheerleaders

      3. So Roberto Merhi can’t race either? He was anounced on Monday and the team has applied for a temporary super license on that same day. That’ll be available on March 23 then according to your statement, or am I wrong here?

    1. Love the driver change idea!! Geido standing there with his seat as the car comes in – it would get more air time for Sauber than anything else they are likely to do this year

    1. Or why didn’t Nasr make sure the Giedo matter was settled before signing, last in first out likely to ruin his prospects of driving now. It was well known Geido had a contract so how did he think 3 into 2 was going to go?

  21. So basically, if vdG is granted his super licence today or at least in time to drive at any point this weekend, the much quoted above 14 days time delay is incorrect and we have again been given incorrect ‘facts’?

  22. I understand Joe’s arguments when he stated some days ago Sauber was in a really bad position last year when they chose for the “more money” route. But somehow, in the real world, contracts are signed and have to be respected. Perhaps neither party here respected the contracts 100%. But I do feel a (perhaps partially misplaced) sense of justice here when seeing Sauber is told it cannot simply tear up a contract when someone else comes around offering more money. What’s the point in signing contracts if one side can unilateraly decide to abandon it? I know F1 has a certain way with contracts, but still, they signed him to drive for them in 2015.

    So on that part, it feels just.
    Of course I cannot judge the entire story, that’s what we have Joe for, to find out for us (if it is indeed possible to find out all the details). 😉

  23. Whatever the outcome, all this gives an image of Sauber that is more and more unpleasant, even considering the difficulties they face. Plus, all this goes against the (late) understanding by the powers-that-be that what really turns the average fan on in F1is the driver, not the team.
    Treating drivers in this despicable way isn’t going to win any heart.
    Concerning Sauber, this is only the latest in a long series of unfair treatments ( just thinf of Kobayashi)

  24. Charlie Whiting seems to disagree with you, Joe. Since you are in the same neck of the woods, perhaps you might check with him.

    1. Tomorrow will tell you if I am wrong. Check the time sheets and if you find the name Van der Garde and you call me an idiot.

      1. I didn’t call you an idiot, no need for that. But you know full weel that Van der Garde absence on the time sheets could be down to multiple reasons, only one of which is down to him not having a super license. You need to make sure that you do not mix up cause and effect.

        1. If GvdG does not have a super licence, who is to blame? His contract will say that he must be able to race. Without a super licence he cannot. So does that not constitute a breach?

          1. You keep going on about that with our either of us knowing whether VdG did or dd not do what was necessary for his part. If I understand you correctly it is a joint application or at least it requires some action on the part of Sauber also. I haven’t seen anything yet to suggest who is at fault here and therefore who could be in breach of contract.
            We do know 3 judges have now ruled that Sauber is in breach of contract, something you keep glossing over.

            1. I am not glossing over anything. If you put a valid in front of a judge he will say it is valid. No surprise there. But the point is not that. GvdG is able to race. End of story.

          2. If the breach arises as a result of the other party’s conduct (i.e. Sauber refusing to register him as a named driver, thereby precluding him from obtaining a superlicence even if he did carry out his end of the equation), then the other party will themselves be in breach. Otherwise you’d have companies doing this every day to avoid paying for things. That’s not how contract law works, even in the world of F1.

  25. why would Sauber apply for a super licence for GVDG when the team had no intention of running him, GVDG must have known this, however he decided to do nothing until now……..

  26. GVDG is presumably ready with his parts of the necessary paperwork. It seems that if Sauber do not now do their part in arranging GVDG’s superlicence, they will be in contempt of court. This is likely to all come around again in two weeks’ time.

  27. You couldn’t make this up…..

    There are no winners here.

    Sorry lawyers as usual get their share of cash …

  28. With Sauber seemingly having signed 3 drivers for 2 seats (probably 4 drivers if you count Sutil, who always insisted he had a valid 2015 contract) I’m confused what the role of the CRB actually is?

    Why have they not been involved?
    What’s their purpose at all?
    Or is it just a name on paper with no real authority at all?

  29. Will Stevens. Abu Dhabi. I seem to remember it taking about 1 morning. I also seem to remember that it was Will and his people who sorted it.

      1. Indeed. In fact, I am sure you are actually correct here and that the responsibility is split across driver and team. I am also positive that the FIA will not approve the Dutch ASN application for Giedo’s super license. Of course if this happens for no just reason, then will the FIA be in legal hot water? Who knows, and who cares. Come on Sunday and the race – hurry up!

  30. Either way, it seems to me Sauber brought the sport into disrepute when they played the ridiculous ‘it would be unsafe for him to drive’ argument’, when drivers are routinely brought in on similar lead times. What sort of precedent would be set if that were accepted?

    1. There are two different issues here. Giedo is right legally, but Sauber would not be there now if it had done other than it did.

      1. Then perhaps it shouldn’t be… or do you, as a professional, think the end justifies the means?

          1. Sorry to say Jo but from a perspective of a reader who has no direct interest in either Sauber or VdG, it does sound like you are (and in fact have been in recent articles) defending Sauber. You may obviously feel different.

      2. There is a big gap between “being bankrupt in 2015” and having “a sensible budget in 2015”, money-wise.

  31. The FIA will not want to be seen as taking sides so if the paperwork out of the Netheralnds is correct, they WILL issue a temporary licence with a view to sorting out a full licence later. If he had never had a super licence that would have been a different story BUT he has had one before.

    Based on the facts of winning his case, VDG’s contract must have been lodged with the recognition board since last year! No more straws to clutch at. Sauber is in a deep and very expensive mess.

    1. Hm, Don Burgess. But Sauber is reported to have informed the Contract recognition board that the contract with VdGarde was annuled on February 6th (they did that on March 4th), so it probably requires some more action to get that contract “reinstated” based on court/arbitration verdics I would think.

      1. You can’t legally annul somebody’s contract in February after a court has declared it binding in December!! (At least not without the intervention of the court, or a new development which says the individual has broken the terms of his/her contract!)

        1. Ah, but if its the team that informs the FIA CRB about validity of contracts then when the FIA receives notice from a team they will probably take that and act on it Don.
          So that leaves it to VdGarde’s team to convince/prove that in fact the contract was still valid. Which means handing over documents to people who work on this and I can easily imagine that will not be too easy to do today (Friday during working hours in Paris would be after FP2). As I mentioned above, it requires action and there is little time for such action.

  32. If team and driver have to apply the driver dropped the ball here.

    His case should be that the team did not support his app despite being a contracted driver.

    BUT – That action should have started weeks ago and far far away.

    Difficult to turn up on the day and say – hey, you gotta let me drive, but I can’t, but I guess you know that.

  33. I’m sorry but I cannot feel much sympathy for GvdG – even though I remember I was livid a couple of years ago when Ferrari pulled an equally bad stunt on Clay Regazzoni (when was that? 80s or something, I’m too lazy to look it up). Difference being of course that Regazzoni was a good driver. Anyhow, Ferrari got away with it, and no one made a fuss.

    I’d wish folks would forget about GvdG and stop blaming Sauber and rather look at the root cause why teams like Sauber are in so much trouble. Ten years from now we might have a grid of four teams with five cars each, because only the big and rich teams can survive.

    1. I can’t see how the level of skill of the driver matters in this case? Would you feel any sympathy for Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso?

  34. I have a feeling that the whole thing wasn’t GvdG’s idea at all, maybe it was his billionaire father-in-law’s. “I’m paying you, now do what I say!” – sort of way…

  35. So if giedo is in breach of contract due to this oversight, could we see sauber suing him for a substantial sum? It would be ironic if he ended up topping up the coffers after all…

      1. One could argue that both CVC and FIA bring F1 into disrepute on seemingly a bi-weekly basis!

        Just look at the insane scenario from 2014 where the de facto CEO of F1 was seeking to publicly undermine the value and reputation of ‘his’ property by relentlessly criticizing his sport’s own engine formula, w/o ever even having been present to hear or see an engine in a car…

  36. And who could have predicted a week ago that Giedo would have so much more media coverage then his fellow Dutchman Max Verstappen?

    Given the absolute idiotic turns of events in this case I almost believe this story comes out of the heads of the marketing guys rather then the lawyers…..

  37. Sauber ‘ s ONLY real chance of winning this case is ” Force Majeure ” from their very unstable financial situation at the end of last season.
    Their claim that they HAD to sign Erickson in November , because his sponsorship money for 2015 could and would be paid to Sauber in advanced.
    Sauber claim that this advanced funding was
    critical to their survival.
    By retaining VDG & Sutil , for 2015 , Sauber claim they would not have been able to remain in business , and jeopodize 325 jobs there.
    The questions here Joe Saward , if all the above facts are valid and true , would it justify their actions towards their EX – drivers ,,

    1. But then someone would ask Sauber “Why didn’t you offer Giedo the reserve role and 7-8 Friday outings to compensate for taking the drive seat from him?” and “Why did Giedo had to find out by text message that he won’t be driving?”
      What would Sauber say then? Yes, I understand that they could’ve gone under if the money wasn’t there, but to dismiss Giedo like that? What sort of business practice is that?
      That is what annoys me, that Sauber seems to have done nothing to explain to Giedo the situation they were in and what forced them to change their minds. And on top of that, not to offer him anything? No reserve role? No Friday outings? Of course he is going to sue your ass. Someone needs to get fired at Sauber for allowing this to happen like it did.

    2. Australian case was not at all about validity of contract itself rather about enforcing a decision already made by Swiss court.

  38. The current Sauber line up is what benefits F1 most so Commander Eccles will make sure it stays just so. Maybe Bernard will find Giedo a new home and slip him some hush money. Or maybe he’ll end up buried in wet cement.

  39. So, if I read it right, either the driver or the team can apply to the drivers national FIA member organisation, but neither of them had. An application must be received 14 days before the license is needed. The FIA is allowed by its rules to process an application received up to 48 hours before the start of the sessions if its definition of Force Majeure is met. I’m guessing that a driver can apply without a team to race for as long as the fee is paid, but having a team backing and application is more usual.

    VdG has probably made an application, but it is not known if it met the 48 hour deadline.

    Force Majeure would usually be used to cover things like a team having no other drivers available e.g. due to an accident, but Sauber have two available drivers and probably even a reserve, so it would be down to the FIA to decide if the FM criteria have been met.

    The FIA have an out in that there is no real FM situation here. Sauber have an out in that VdG is not able to drive for them, so the chances of him driving are slim unless the gods of the FIA have the balls to do something to help him AND have the motivation.

    Then again, this is F1, so anything is possible.

    1. Driver has to do his bit, team have to do their part… What we know from other sources is that VdG claims he has done his part and it seems like Sauber have been dragging their feet. Swiss court doesn’t only say ‘Sauber must give GvD his seat back’ but that they must not do anything that would prevent him driving the car. Lawyers may argue and have a good case that delaying tactics over the Superlicence or contract recognition board falls into this category.

  40. I am staggered that this spoilt little boy using his father in law’s money is putting 300 odd jobs at risk! I know a contract is a contract but surely he must know that by pursuing this that he’s putting the teams future at stake!?

    1. Saber should have thought of that before unceremoniously sacking him by text message (FFS). Don’t blame the victim.

  41. You do know that its the teams responsibility to apply for the super licence?
    Furthermore, this can be done within 1 working day.

    1. No, it’s not. Why do you think that? Because you read it somewhere? Where? Why? Let’s see if he is running tomorrow…

      1. Well, it looks like you are correct and Guido is not driving tomorrow (based on the entry list).

        But I’m wondering if there is a real possibility that the team will be forced to withdraw from the race because of asset seizure (due to VdG’s contempt of court application)?

        1. On what grounds? VdG cannot drive because he does not have the right licence. How can you seize equipment on that basis?

          1. You clearly have not followed the proceedings. Sauber is already ordered to give a list of all their assets in Australia to the VdG team.

            The basis for seizere and is court contempt.

      2. It was one of the points made by Vd Garde ‘s lawyer in the appeal of yesterday. And as the ruling was in vd Garde ‘s favor again….

        But no, I do not expect him to drive, I expect no Sauber will run this weekend. Sauber has made it very clear that they don’t want to comply with all the court rulings so Vd Garde’s legal team is preparing a seizure of assets through court which will be held tomorrow morning.

        1. And that is smart for what reason? Maybe Sauber will show up in court and say the whole thing is an attempt to get control of the team. If they back that up with documents what would a judge do?

          1. As all court rulings in this case have been in Vd Garde’s favor, what do you think will happen? My money is on VDG. Saubers lawyers were making a fool out of themselves this week with all their ridiculous points. They are in big trouble and they know it. It is even possible that Kaltenborn will be prosecuted for contempt of the court.

              1. Although I don’t agree with you on this, I like the fact that you take the time to reply to these messages! Thanks

                1. Yeah, at 02.06 I deserve a thank you or two.

                  And for this without the intelligence to do anything but throw insults, don’t bother. I’m binning that stuff and banning these people from commenting.
                  We are trying to keep this civil and sensible.
                  If you don’t like it, there are lots of places to be a troll… but not here.

                  1. > Yeah, at 02.06 I deserve a thank you or two.

                    You do indeed, Joe. And a fresh subscription from me, which will be coming very soon. Thanks for all you do and for still engaging with us fans, despite the idiots, vested interests, and rivals trying to goad you into shutting down.

  42. While for some think this is madness, this for me is why I love F1! There is always a angle, and its not over till its settled in court!

  43. Yes, quite a mess and certainly not positive for Formula1, nor is it a positive for any of the involved parties.

    What I don’t understand is how we are getting quite different views on things from people inside the paddock who are generally carefull to be well informed.

    On one “side” I see you who are mainly critical of VdGarde and his team (mainly in your earlier post) and Kate Walker who mentioned rumours of this being possibly timed so as to do most damage to Sauber with the view of staging a “hostile takeover” and she mentions VdGarde having had a UK court verdict at his disposal in November and another Swiss one in early december.

    Then I see Adam Cooper, who was present in the courtroom this week who has information that what the Australian court upheld was a verdict from a Swiss arbitration institution from last week, in other words he went to Australian courts as soon as he had that verdict.

    We have Sauber informing the FIA on march 4th that the contract with VdGarde was annuled on Febrari 6th but that info comes later than previously mentioned arbitration verdict.
    Further we have one side claiming that the team has to lodge papers for a superlicence (Sauber were/are obviously not interested in doing so) and the other side stating it as a reason for VdGarde being in breach!
    Now, I must admit that I was not able to find “rules” for who has to do what appart from the driver having to fullfill some qualifications, pay for it and that it goes through the local ASN. So its impossible for me to see who needs to do what, I hope/expect you (but then again Adam Cooper etc as well) to have that information.

    Meanwhile Sauber lodge an appeal but want it to take place AFTER the race, which was dismissed. And its clear that the Judge is starting to get very impatient with all the obstructions Sauber tries to bring in, which points to it rather being the Team that is trying to gain time to create a “fait accompli”.

    Joe, I really value your great work finding out and reporting on what is going on behind the scenes. I hope to find out more of the factual information in this weekends edition of GP+, although I hope to see some more blog posts on this as well as it develops.

    Until then, I can’t supress the feeling that both (or rather all sides including the other drivers, the FIA being silent but some drivers giving VdGarde thumbs up) parties in the conflict are trying to influence people’s impression and will just observe how things evolve over the weekend.

  44. Horribly messy, but one would imagine that the team principle being a former practicing lawyer knows more about the situation than the armchair experts here riding around on their high horses.

    1. Not proclaiming to be any kind of legal expert, or being on my high horse, but given the three lost court battles (Swiss, Australian and Appeal) so far in this debacle I would say she is somewhat out of practice.

      By the sounds of the commentary coming out of the appeals process Sauber’s arguments were pretty much laughed out of court.

  45. This is ridiculous. If Guido VdG does not have his super-license it is because Sauber would not cooperate with him in the procurement process for said license. It is not because the procurement of an F1 super-license “slipped Guido’s mind”, in the same way one might forget their sunglasses, or an “Ooops”.
    Sauber should honor their contract, either by putting Guido VdG into the seat or by coming to an agreement, presumably a monetary settlement. If Sauber can’t afford to settle with VdG then they must let him race. And if this situation sends Sauber into receivership, so be it.

  46. I don’t think there are any circumstances under which GVDG will be driving tomorrow but knowing the FIA they’ll grant the super license to avoid involvement in the legal wranglings and leave it up to Sauber to decide how they want to proceed. Sauber will probably then use some flaky legal reason to resolve the immediate issue. No correct size safety equipment, needing to register a certain piece of paperwork any little thread they can hold on to.

    Given that the court has asked for a list of items of value that Sauber own, I think the next flashpoint will be when Sauber tries to ship its equipment to Malaysia.

    The circus is most definitely back in town.

  47. What a mess. Didn’t renew his licence!!!! 14 days? I can get my MSA one done in 3 for an extra £80. You would think F1 would be the pinnacle of all….it is in most other things. Lying, cheating, backstabbing and most importantly engineering. Get the pop corn out!

  48. If it takes 14 days to get a Super Licence, could someone please ask me how the hell Roberto Merhi is supposed to race this weekend as well?

    Will Stephens at Abu Dhabi also was approved in a very short time frame.

      1. Joe

        It is appreciated having someone on the inside sharing their thoughts. I, like many others, base our opinions on what we read – and even I know the Daily Mail isn’t 100% accurate!

        You appear to have softened your stance on the Super License taking 14 days so I guess there are precedents for this being shortened so should not prove to be an insurmountable obstacle.

        You mention that you believe Nasr and Ericsson will be in the seats – but who do you think ‘should’ be?

        From what I have read it appears morally and legally should be GvdG, but I am wise enough to know that doesn’t necessarily mean (and probably wont be) him.

        Thanks

    1. Could be that RM was signed a month ago, but was’t announced for whatever reason until just recently, in which case, all the paperwork may have been completed before the announcement.

    1. I was just about to post the same thing. I come here to read what Joe has to say because time and again he has proven to have a real insight into what goes on in F1. Disgusted by some of the comments aimed at our host.

      1. Derek, agree with you and Erin, but at the same time, Joe is the only F1 journalist that I know which interacts with his readers like this. I love it and that’s why I come here. Joe is not afraid to express his opinions and risk being wrong. Nobody has a crystal bowl, so nothing wrong with being wrong. Kudos to Joe for interacting like he does with his readers.

      2. Agree entirely. It’s been rather pleasant over the winter but I can only assume the March – November armchair fans are out in force

    2. Agreed! Joe, just why do you print these stupid comments? I’d like to know! Surely it’s better to delete at source or are you trying to show what complete idiots some people are? Like your pre-season review by the way, great photos as well.

      1. I am engaging with people. Some are idiots. That is life, but if you engage, you engage with idiots as well as rocket scientists. I do not engage with rude w@nkers. They get banned.

  49. This mess is 100% Sauber’s mistake. I hope you all realise the situation. Van der Garde was racing with Caterham in 2013 and could have raced for them also in 2014. Instead they considered Sauber has a better car and they decided to reject the driving position at Caterham for a test position at Sauber, under the condition that in 2015 he would be promoted to be a race pilot. They subsequently signed all contracts to make it official, untill out of the blue at the end of the season in November Sauber contracted 2 other drivers and threw Van der Garde to the garbage.

    Formula 1 is all a true race driver wants, so logic he gives all he has to obtain his right. Money his father in law has, so why settle for money compensation but loose everything he has always worked for?

  50. Kate Walker seems to think that this could be pressuring Sauber into a takeover by VdG’s father in law? Any thought’s Joe?

    1. There are rumours in the paddock that this may be the story but is there any evidence. If there is, it may show up in court…

      1. I can see Bernie not really caring about driver’s, but he’s pretty heavily involved in who gets involved team wise doesn’t he? Facilitating wise as it were.

        Can’t decide if he’d think the hostile takeover is terrible and not something he wants in his circus, or exactly how he’d do it himself.

    2. Kate Walker overlooks the fact that the outcome of the Swiss Arbitration case was last week. Van der Garde couldn’t do anything before, besides winning a few other cases which Sauber ignored, like with this arbitration case. Sauber is deliberately stalling and this It is just a last resort.

  51. Last time I waited in line at the DMV for my license, it felt like two weeks.

    Hey, just trying to interject some levity here.

  52. Well with Manors software issues potentially ending their weekend before it has begun and the Sauber nightmare we could be in for a right kerfuffle.

    How many cars is Bernie contracted to have on the grid again?

  53. .. actually, now I think of it. All the posturing and asserting of “facts” and “reality” shown in a comment thread like this is probably very much what the f1 decision making process looks like. When the teams, FIA and FOM shake their junk at each other 😉

  54. By the way Joe, apparently there’s some sort of motor racing event taking place where you are this weekend – you probably haven’t heard about it in the news which has been full of legal mumbo-jumbo stories and other nonsense. You should check it out – it sounds like the kind of thing you’d be interested in!

  55. So all those ragging on van der Garde that “he isn’t a good driver anyway”, how many championships do _you_ have? Because van der Garde has 2: karting world champion in 2002 and Formula Renault 3.5 (Europe) in 2008.
    That obviously doesn’t make him the best driver (not?) in Formula 1 all by itself but it doesn’t exactly have “louzy driver” written all over it either.
    And of course there’s a good chance that his side of all the paperwork needed for a superlicence has already been submitted to the Dutch national sporting authority well before this court case even started, but apparently nobody bothered to check that?

  56. You say you are just reporting the news and the general agreement in the paddock. Yet James Allen in his latest blog piece says “Few people in the F1 paddock blame Guido van der Garde for standing up for himself in this contractual dispute…”
    That is what I hear from other people that are present in Melbourne as well, some not so well known (Brazilian press) and some more well known (Martin Brundle). Several drivers including Massa, Button, Hulkenberg and Perez have been highly critical of Sauber.
    I think it is time you admit that there is a line between right and wrong and Sauber went over it by a long distance, jeopardizing its own future. If they fold, it will be their own fault and not vdG’s. Hulkenberg was the most vocal so far, he just lashed out at the team when talking to the BBC, for having 4 drivers on contract to race this year (and I’m glad that someone remembered that Sutil also has a valid contract – what a mess…)

  57. From what I have read generally, I am siding with the vdg side and not Sauber, who do seem to behaving in a very amateurish manner with their pretty random defences and excuses which don’t hold water.
    As I understand it, if they didn’t get the extra money from the the two new pay-drivers, they would have folded? If that were the case, I would have thought they could have approached the vdg camp and been totally upfront with them – and said that they will not be able to race in 2015 without extra money, and Geido’s race seat would therefore be at risk. So given that, would they (vdg & backers) be able to stump up more money to allow the team to run and protect that race seat?
    Even if that meant passing over some level of equity in the team, at least they would still be operational in a decent (and legal!) way.

    On a separate note: Joe, you are to be applauded with your patience in responding to the many of the comments. If one does not agree with your point of view, it is very easy to disagree in a pleasant and professional way, and there is no reason for people to get nasty and personal!

  58. Who is this Giedo van der Garde , and why the fuss ?

    He’s not a Lauda or Schuhmacher, clawing his way into an F1 seat by whatever means, he’s just some rich person’s son in law .

    1. Why does it care if he’s the son in law of a very rich person. If your contract is not being honored you will do the upmost to get it sorted, so give me one good reason why he shouldn’t take care of this madness sauber created.

  59. I bet a GP+ sub that he’s racing on Sunday or they run 1 car. (Unless he allows them a sub driver until the next race).
    Double or quits he also tops the points haul for them.
    Equally, the team could fold and be reborn in a flash, noting that there are parties on both sides and 3rd parties that could benifit with the only losers again being the small creditors.

      1. What a silly discussion blog this one is. I have just come to and read this. Joe, so it is your contention that highly qualified and respected queen’s counsels have overlooked something so simple (that being not having a Super Licence would breach his what is now proved to be watertight contract) to finalize this matter speedily and in Saubers favor? No one else has brought this up and nor have the QCs because the fact is that it is either not in the contract or Sauber must list the driver as a race/test/reserve driver in order for a super licence application to even begin and that Sauber must make/be apart of the application process. In fact and if you took the time to read the courts transcripts (which it seems you havn’t) when this was brought up this was not refuted by Saubers QCs. Monisha herself holds a masters’ degree of International Business Law from LSE for goodness sakes. Yet all they had to do was employ you it seems. Make no mistake Joe, rules and regulations of the FIA or the CRB and all that you mention in such a way to make out like they’re more important than Australian (English) common law! Ridiculous .. There is an extraordinary hearing tomorrow morning at 9.30 and rest assured that is because the Justice is erring on the side of asset seizure and Katenborns possible passport revocation. The facts have been made crystal clear not on an arbitration panel now but in a Supreme Court. You also seem to be suggesting that VDG did not pay money for his seat? Most of what you’ve written ‘in this case’ is sensationalist baloney.

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