Force India has confirmed that it has started court proceedings against rival outfit Lotus Racing, Mike Gascoyne and Aerolab SRL over a 'very serious' breach of intellectual property.
Both Force India and Lotus have used Aerolab for the design and development of their cars, with Force India suggesting that the F1 newcomers had benefitted from its intellectual property when designing the T127.
As well as the court action launched, the also confirmed that a separate legal action involving Aerolab for undue termination of contract is continuing.
“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,” a statement from the Silverstone-based team continued. “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.”