Formula One: Van der Garde settles suit against Sauber

LONDON (REUTERS, AFP) - Dutch driver Giedo Van der Garde recognised his hopes of racing in Formula One were over on Wednesday after accepting "significant compensation" from the Sauber team to end a contract dispute.

"We have reached a settlement with Sauber and my driver contract with the team has been ended by mutual consent. As a passionate race driver, I feel sad and am very disappointed," he said in a statement.

The BBC reported that the compensation from the Swiss team amounted to about €15 million (S$22 million).

On Saturday, the 29-year-old ended his legal challenge to compete in the Australian Grand Prix.

The former reserve driver took the case to court after claiming he was guaranteed a seat for the 2015 season by Sauber last year but they reneged on the deal.

Instead, the Swiss outfit opted for heavily sponsored drivers Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.

Van der Garde originally took his case to a Swiss arbitration tribunal, which ordered Sauber to keep him on the team.

A Victoria Supreme Court ruling backed that decision on Wednesday, enforcing it in Australia, just days before the grand prix.

Sauber appealed that ruling but lost, prompting van der Garde's lawyers to argue that Sauber were in contempt of court by not complying with an order to honour a contract with the Dutchman and let him drive in the season-opener.

The events off the track dominated with threats of fines, jail and seizures of assets proposed as the dispute dragged on. The parties came to some resolution in the Victorian Supreme Court on Saturday after the legal teams for the two sides had continued discussions through the night.

Nasr eventually finished fifth while Ericsson was eighth in Melbourne.