Oct.11 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Bernie Ecclestone says Giedo van der Garde was right to pursue Sauber in the courts earlier this year.

As the 2015 season began in Melbourne, Dutch driver van der Garde almost brought the curtains down on the Swiss team as he pressed his claim for a race seat.

And Ecclestone now backs van der Garde, who ultimately accepted a settlement.

“A deal is a deal,” the F1 supremo told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf some seven months later. “I work the same way myself.”

With a valid contract in hand, van der Garde fought hard for his race seat at Sauber, even though the midfield team had subsequently signed up Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.

Ecclestone said: “If someone else came later and offered more money, I would say ‘Sorry, I already have a deal’. Sauber made stupid mistakes,” he charged.

“I understand that they were in a difficult position financially, but that does not mean that you can just do anything. Do you rob a bank to survive? No you don’t.”

Ecclestone’s comments about Sauber come after the Swiss team filed a complaint with the European Commission about the sport’s unfair governance.

“To be clear,” team boss Monisha Kaltenborn said earlier at Sochi, “our complaint is against the commercial rights holder (Ecclestone).”