Force India has begun a court action against Lotus which, it claims, used Force India’s intellectual property in designing its 2010 car.
Force India issued a statement in which it drew attention to the fact that it recently paid money to Lotus’s chassis builder Aerolab, one of the companies named in the suit.
Here is the statement in full:
The Force India F1 Team confirms it has instigated UK civil proceedings against 1Malaysia Racing Team SDN BHD (a Malaysian company), 1Malaysia Racing Team (UK) Limited (Lotus Racing’s parent companies), Michael Gascoyne and Aerolab SRL. Force India also confirms that a complaint for disclosure of confidential information was filed in December 2009 with the competent authorities in Italy and that investigations are being conducted.
Force India believes that Lotus Racing, via its use of Aerolab and Fondtech facilities and data, has utilised and benefited from the use of Force India F1 Team’s intellectual property, including components and tyres exclusively licensed by Bridgestone to the Force India F1 Team, on its wind tunnel model design for the current Lotus T127 chassis without permission from the Force India F1 Team.
Force India states these are very serious claims and therefore it would not be taking such action if it could not provide supportive evidence.
Additionally Force India would like to clarify that any action between Aerolab and Force India for undue termination of contract is now being addressed by the courts. Force India confirms it paid approximately one million euros in autumn 2009 to secure the payment claimed by Aerolab and it is now for the competent courts to decide whether, indeed, this outstanding amount should be paid to Aerolab given the seriousness of these current allegations.
For reference, the civil court action documentation is in the public domain and can be accessed via the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division.