Giedo van der Garde says he’s hopeful that his falling out with Sauber over contractual matters will lead to changes in the sport.
The Dutch driver took legal action against the Swiss team after they employed Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr to fill their two race seats, but Van der Garde claims he held a valid contract to race for the team.
His claim was backed by the Supreme Court of Victoria which ruled in his favour. The pair eventually agreed a settlement after months of fighting, which only became public during the Australian Grand Prix.
“Right after the Brazilian GP, when they announced Felipe Nasr,” he recalled in an interview with Formule 1. “We came together and asked ourselves what we were going to do. We’ve been screwed, we are going to get justice.
“There was no contact, they absolutely didn’t want to talk to us, so we had to do something. We quickly tried to resolve the case through arbitration, that’s why I didn’t drive in Abu Dhabi.
“We came out on top in two legal processes, but because Sauber didn’t do anything with it, we had to start a case in Australia as well. Then it became public, which was tough.”
Despite what Van der Garde described as one of the toughest times in his life, he believes it was ultimately a good thing and he’s hopeful it will bring about change in the sport.
“All in all, it has been a good thing to do. Of course, I don’t have a seat, my dream is gone, but I do believe this can change Formula 1,” he said.
“I have talked to Alexander Wurz. He is the president of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association and he is going to lobby for more justice in Formula 1.
“There is already something called the Contract Recognition Board, but they don’t do anything, except for managing contracts. The CRB doesn’t act when contract terms are violated. This is completely different in road cycling. If you don’t get paid for two months, the team gets fined. And if the team makes errors, it gets fined too. This should happen in Formula 1.
“I hope that, with this case, we have sent a signal that contracts should be respected, and that Formula 1 should remove their blinkers. You can’t cover up these things by saying: that’s part of Formula 1,” he added.