Formula One: Reckless and dangerous to let van der Garde drive, say lawyers

MELBOURNE (AFP) - Allowing Formula One driver Giedo van der Garde to start the Australian Grand Prix would be "reckless", lawyers for Sauber Motorsports said on Monday, as the Dutchman launched a legal bid to race this weekend.

The 29-year-old claims he was guaranteed one of two seats on the Sauber team last year but bosses at the Swiss outfit reneged on the deal and instead handed them to Swede Marcus Ericsson and rookie Brazilian Felipe Nasr.

The Dutchman, a reserve driver at Sauber last year, originally took his case to a Swiss arbitration tribunal which ordered Sauber to keep him on the team, reports said.

On Monday he sought to have the Victorian Supreme Court enforce the ruling in its jurisdiction just days ahead of the opening practice session for the first Formula One race of the season.

In opening its defence, Sauber lawyer Rodney Garratt said van der Garde had not trained in the team's new car and had not gone through the two-week custom seat-fitting process.

He argued that allowing him in a car he was not fitted for or trained in would put other drivers and support staff at an "unacceptable" risk and it would be "reckless and dangerous".

"Mr van der Garde has no experience driving the c34 Ferrari and would not have sufficient time to learn," Garratt told the court, Australian Associated Press reported.

Van der Garde, Ericsson and Nasr were all in court for the opening statements with the hearing continuing. It is not clear when Justice Clyde Croft will make a ruling.