Mar.23 (GMM/ Monisha Kaltenborn has broken her silence on the Giedo van der Garde affair, admitting she made “mistakes”.

The storm surrounding Sauber’s Indian-born Austrian boss and co-owner in Australia recently caused some reporters to question her ongoing suitability for the job.

Now, in her first interview since the resolution of the saga with a reported EUR 15 million payment to Dutchman van der Garde, Kaltenborn admitted the explosion of the case in the Melbourne courts and paddock had been a “shock”.

“When you sit in an Australian court and hear the word prison, that’s a shock,” the 43-year-old, who in 2012 became the first female team boss in F1 history, told the Swiss newspaper Sonntagsblick.

Kaltenborn also admitted the saga could have taken yet another twist in Melbourne had van der Garde managed to obtain his F1 super licence.

“If he had received a licence from the FIA,” she said, “he would have tried everything to drive.”

That would have unseated either Felipe Nasr, the Brazilian whose sponsor Banco do Brasil is paying for the livery colours of this year’s Sauber car, or the similarly high-paying Marcus Ericsson.

Ultimately, the saga was ended when van der Garde’s management and backers accepted a reported EUR 15 million compensation package from Sauber.

It is not clear whether the money was paid by the financially-struggling Hinwil based team, Nasr and Ericsson’s backers, or founder Peter Sauber.

“I cannot and will not comment on that,” Kaltenborn said.

However, she did admit: “Yes, I made mistakes. I was too trusting and I was punished bitterly.

“Courts do not judge by moral principles,” Kaltenborn added. “For them, only written agreements apply without regard to the other circumstances.”