Melbourne, March 11 (IANS)
Dutch Formula One driver Giedo van der Garde can drive in this weekend's Australian Grand Prix after a court in the state of Victoria upheld his case against his team Sauber Motorsports on Wednesday. Van der Garde found out late last year he had been overlooked for a position at Sauber for this season despite signing a contract in January 2014 that guaranteed him a seat, reports Xinhua.
A Swiss arbitration court already ruled Sauber could not deny the F1 journeyman the right to drive for the team, and he sought to have the Victorian Supreme Court enforce the ruling in this jurisdiction.
It means either one of the two drivers Sauber had confirmed as its 2015 drivers, Sweden's Marcus Ericsson or Brazil's Felipe Nasr, will need to make way for the Dutchman ahead of the first practice sessions on Friday.
It is expected Nasr, who joined Sauber after a year as Williams' F1 test driver, will be the unfortunate party.
Van der Garde was visibly excited by the decision as he left court in Melbourne on Wednesday.
"It's been a long trial and I'm very happy with the outcome, I have to say," he told a throng of local and international media.
"I'm very fit, I'm very strong and am looking forward to going back to the team and work hard to do the best for this weekend."
In court, Sauber's lawyers argued it would be reckless to allow the Dutchman to drive one of the 2015 cars, capable of exposing drivers to forces of "up to five times their bodyweight," that had been made specifically for the body shapes of Nasr and Ericsson.
Nasr is seven centimeters shorter than the 1.82-meter van der Garde.
Judge Clyde Croft said Sauber had failed to prove a ground where van der Garde's contract for the 2015 could be resisted. He added any safety issues should be dealt with by race organisers.