Sauber warns of “reckless” van der Garde drive

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Sauber lawyers have expressed safety concerns if Giedo van der Garde is allowed to race at this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

The Swiss team and their former reserve driver faced each other at the Supreme Court of Victoria on Monday morning in order to settle their legal dispute over a 2015 race seat. The 29-year-old Dutchman claims Sauber has reneged on its deal to make him one of its two nominated drivers.

Indeed, Van der Garde thought he had a drive locked for 2015 only to find out that the Swiss team had hired ex-Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson and GP2 graduate Felipe Nasr.

Rodney Garratt QC, one of the lawyers representing Sauber, asserted that it would be “reckless” to let the Dutchman race since the new Sauber C34 has been tailor-made for Ericsson and Nasr, both of whom were also present at the hearing.

“Mr Van der Garde has no experience driving the C34 Ferrari and would not have sufficient time to learn,” said Garratt.

“Sauber could not allow him to race ... it would be reckless and dangerous to do otherwise.

“It would result in an unacceptable risk of physical harm or even death.”

The official ruling is due on Wednesday, namely only a couple of days before the opening free practice session of the Australian Grand Prix gets underway.

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