Legal trouble for F1 Stalwart? After van der Gaarde, Sutil sues Sauber
The company is said to be losing money and has now been hit by two separate lawsuits from former drivers.
The racing team have been going through a prolonged patch of legal and financial trouble. Earlier this year in March, South African driver Giedo van der Gaarde announced that he had taken legal action against the team. Van der Gaarde, an experienced motorsport driver, was a test driver for Sauber. Picked up by Caterham in 2013, he did not have a team or car to race the subsequent year. Van der Gaarde claims he signed a contract with Sauber to drive with them for the 2015 season, a contract the team did not honour. After a Swiss Tribunal sided with him in an earlier hearing, a court in Melbourne decreed that Sauber had to comply with van der Gaarde and provide him a racing berth for the season.
Van der Gaarde went on to claim in an official statement that “the team principal had taken a decision contrary to my contract that she would not work with me and this became painfully clear in the paddock in Melbourne.” He accepted a settlement from Sauber afterwards, and remains active in the racing world in an advisory position for now. It has, however, only been a few months since the settlement so there may be news in the pipeline regarding van der Gaarde’s racing career.
Fresh off the heels of that fracas, however, German driver Adrian Sutil is now set to take action against the team this coming week in Barcelona ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix. Sutil claims to have had a similar contract with Sauber for 2015, and is now in the exact same predicament – that of a reneged contract from Sauber. Most recently, Sutil's manager Manfred Zimmermann said that the problem with Sauber “..has not been solved. We are still trying to resolve it.” In the meantime, Sutil is a reserve for Williams F1.
Currently driving for Sauber are Brazilian Marcus Ericsson and Brazilian Felipe Nasr. While Nasr finished 5th at the Australian Grand Prix, Sauber’s results this racing season have been entirely ordinary.
As they reel under severe financial trouble and driver issues, it remains to be seen what is in the future for Sauber.