Thu, 19 Mar, 2015, 10:42
The Sauber Formula 1 team has declared itself "surprised" by Giedo van der Garde's account of their contract row, but wants to move on from the affair.
Van der Garde announced in a statement on Wednesday morning that he had received compensation from Sauber to end their dispute over a 2015 race deal, and was strongly critical of the team's handling of the situation.
An Australian court ruled last week that van der Garde had a valid claim to race for Sauber in F1 this season, but the team put Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson in the cars instead.
Sauber issued its own statement on Wednesday afternoon saying that it could refute van der Garde's criticisms but would prefer to draw a line under the row.
"Many of you read today's statement on Giedo van der Garde's Facebook page. So have we and we were, indeed, rather surprised," the Sauber statement said.
"We don't know about Giedo's intentions. He may try to present himself as a winner, while we had actually hoped to come to rest after our agreement.
"Giedo decided to take a different approach - the reasoning behind we cannot understand.
"We'd have very good answers to the many statements and accusations in Giedo's post.
"But to expand on this wouldn't help our race team nor our fans and partners.
"It would only encourage a mud fight via the media and we will not lend ourselves to that."
Sauber finished fifth and eighth in the Australian Grand Prix with Nasr and Ericsson, and says it would prefer to now concentrate on racing for the rest of the season.
"The next race in Malaysia is where our focus is and that's where we will build up on last weekend's success together with our drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr," its statement continued.
"All our efforts are drawn to this objective.
"With this in mind we'd like to encourage you to form your own opinion about what happened, however critical it may be.
"From our side we herewith close the matter and look already forward to celebrating future achievements at the racetrack together with you."