Formula One teams change drivers all the time. Sure, some keep the same pilots around for successive championships, but others tend to change one or both of their drivers from year to year. Some even shuffle their roster mid-season. That's just the way it goes. But Giedo van der Garde isn't taking his dismissal from Sauber lying down.
Gierdo van who now, you ask? Giedo van der Garde. The 29-year old Dutchman worked his way up the ladder like most any other F1 hopeful, winning the Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2008 and several GP2 races while test-driving for numerous F1 teams.
Van der Garde landed the race seat with Caterham in 2013 but couldn't find a ride the following season, so he moved over to Sauber to serve once again as a test driver. Van der Garde claims that Sauber then promoted him to the race seat for this season, signed a contract but then changed its mind and went with Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr instead. Now Giedo has taken the team to court.
His first step was to sue Sauber in its home country of Switzerland, referring the matter to an arbitration tribunal that ruled in his favor. The team is reportedly contesting the decision, but meanwhile the driver has filed another suit with the courts in Australia where the championship is set to begin next weekend. Van der Garde would have the courts uphold his contract and mandate the team put him in the race seat for the Australian Grand Prix, but the team insists that, regardless of the validity of the contract in question, it would be dangerous to put him behind the wheel of a car he has yet to test drive.
The court was due to rule on the issue on Monday but has instead pushed its decision back to Wednesday, which would give both driver and team only a couple of days to prepare before the race weekend were to begin on Friday.