JUNE 13, 2008

Dutchman goes to court

Dutch racing driver Giedo van der Garde has launched a legal action in Breda, Holland, against the Force India F1 team, aiming to recoup $3m which, he argues, was paid to the team in order to guarantee 6000km of testing. The deal was done when the Silverstone team was under previous ownership and was known as Spyker.

The complicated tale dates back to December 2006 when Van der Garde signed to be the test driver of Super Aguri F1. Four months later he broke that contract as his girlfriend's father (presumably the source of the money) Marcel Boekhoorn had just bought into the team and Van der Garde felt he had more chance of an F1 drive with Spyker than with Super Aguri.

Super Aguri was in dispute with Spyker at the time over the question of arbitration and refused to release Van der Garde to test, arguing that he had a valid contract with them, presumably hoping for a payment to be made to them.

The situation remained blocked until Spyker was bought by Vijay Mallya and transformed into Force India F1, at which point Van der Garde was allowed to test, although he completed only 2000km of running. The team went on to sign Tonio Liuzzi as its test driver, suggesting that it was not overly interested in Van der Garde.

Van der Garde is currently leading the Renault World Series, but since all these shenanigans there is little interest in him from F1 teams.