Formula 1

Giedo van der Garde fighting for Sauber drive in Australian court

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Giedo van der Garde has lodged a complaint to a Victoria court claiming he should be driving for Sauber at next weekend's Australian Grand Prix, according to Sky Sports.

The Dutchman was a reserve driver for the Swiss team in 2014 and claims he was offered a deal last June to move up to a race seat for the upcoming season but that team boss Monisha Kaltenborn later went back on the agreement.

Money behind all-new line-up

With Sauber struggling financially, the team took on two new drivers for 2015 with another former Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson joined by Brazilian Felipe Nasr who is stepping up from GP2.

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Both bring strong backing with Nasr's sponsor Banco do Brasil the reason for the new blue and yellow livery on the C32 with the two drivers reportedly bringing in $40m of additional income.

Van der Garde was told of the decision to hire the all-new line-up last November and is now no longer associated with the team as Ferrari academy member Rafaelle Marciello drafted in as reserve as part of the engine deal.

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The Sauber turnstiles

Both of Sauber's 2014 drivers also moved on with Esteban Gutierrez now a reserve driver at Ferrari, and potential candidate for Manor's second seat and while Adrian Sutil also left in an initial huff and puff claiming he too had a deal for this year, he left also.

Indeed all three were part of a group of four drivers with Russian Sergey Sirotkin and another Dutchman Robin Frijns also once part of the Sauber outfit before leaving earlier last year..

This is the second legal challenge Van der Garde has taken against Sauber's decision to oust him with another case made to the Arbitration Institution of Switzerland, where the team is based, and a verdict reached that the team should retain the 29-year-old for this year.

Money still speaking volumes in driver market

The case is just another example of how influential money has become in who a team decides should race their cars.

With Sauber, Force India and Lotus all struggling financially, each has had to look to driver's with strong sponsorship, Sergio Perez in the case of Force India and Pastor Maldonado, who most remember pipped Nico Hulkenberg to replace Kimi Raikkonen because of his Venezuelan sponsors, at Lotus, merely to stay on the grid.

The topic of pay drivers is one that has rumbled on for many years as perhaps better quality drivers have missed out on a space at motorsport's top table, but with new restrictions on how drivers can earn the necessary superlicence to race in F1, with those coming into effect next year, it will be interesting to see how this current situation with Van der Garde and other drivers in the future play out.

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