Giedo confirms settlement with Sauber

The Giedo van der Garde-Sauber saga is finally over with the Dutchman confirming they have ended their relationship "by mutual consent".

The build-up to the season-opening Australian GP was dominated by the off-track events involving the two parties with Van der Garde taking the team to court to force them to hand him a race seat.

The Supreme Court of Victoria ruled in his favour and Sauber also lost their appeal, but Van der Garde later "gave up his legal rights to race" adding that his team would continue discussions with the team.

Those discussions have now come to a conclusion with the 29-year-old confirming in a statement on Facebook that they have reached an agreement.

"We have reached a settlement with Sauber and my driver contract with the team has been ended by mutual consent," it said. "As a passionate race driver, I feel sad and am very disappointed. I have worked very hard my entire career, ever since starting with go-karts at the age of eight, to live my dream and become a successful Formula One driver. I had hoped at last to be able to show what I am capable of, driving a car for a respected midfield team in the 2015 season. This dream has been taken away from me and I know that my future in Formula One is probably over.

"I had a valid driver contract for the entire 2015 season and enforceable rights to it. I pushed very hard until last Saturday in Melbourne to get the drive that I was entitled to. This legal process started in 2014 and has taken a great deal of effort. It was never a last minute thing, but it only became public in the last week when we tried to force the team to accept the rulings of a succession of legal authorities and courts.

"I am a race driver and all I want is to race. However, the team principal was adamant not to let me drive, notwithstanding my legal rights to do so and a series of rulings and court orders in my favour and despite my race driving abilities. I will never understand this. I could have persisted, but 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. To push on against this determination might have brought down the team, it would most certainly have wrecked the opening Grand Prix in Melbourne because the team´s cars would have been seized by the court, it may have ruined the careers of two young drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. Possibly the team´s directors would even be taken into custody. I decided I did not want to live with that idea, even though it was only the team’s management that was responsible for the bizarre situation I found myself in.

"I am very grateful to my fans and many friends in Formula One who have given me a lot of support during the last couple of months. This period has been very difficult for me especially since I could not talk to anybody about the pending proceedings. Last week, many drivers on the grid gave me their support and several of them did so openly in the media as well. The same goes for several leading figures in the paddock who include team bosses and reputable former Formula One drivers. I thank them as well."

The Dutchman says he will look to continue his motorsport career in other categories.

"I see this as a new beginning. I will sit down with my management in the coming weeks to discuss my future plans. I would love to take part in the WEC and the Le Mans 24 Hours in an LMP1 car," the statement added. "Former Formula One drivers do very well in this series. We also have our eye on other series such as the DTM in 2016 and beyond."

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