Force India is set to appeal against a High Court Judgement into its intellectual property disagreement with Aerolab and the former Lotus Racing team.
The Silverstone-based team was awarded €25,000 in damages after a judge ruled that CAD files had been used as a shortcut in the design of the 2010 Lotus Racing car, with Aerolab having started work with the team shortly after its relationship with Force India broke down.
However, Force India – who were forced to pay Aerolab €850,000 in unpaid fees – are set to appeal against the ruling, arguing that the compensation awarded wasn't a representative of the breach that had occurred.
“I'm not confident [of getting a compensation increase on appeal], but we'll certainly go through the process,” deputy team principal Robert Fernley told GP Week
. “The settlement is totally unrepresentative. You couldn't design a wheel nut for €25,000. Why are we spending £15 million for something we could do for €25,000?”
Rivals Marussia Racing are also reported to have spoken to the FIA about the ruling, given that the Lotus Racing – now running as Caterham – could be deemed to have broken rules regarding using the intellectual property of a rival team.
“The rules that we have to operate under are very strict and very clear in terms of what we have to do as a constructor,” sporting director Graeme Lowdon said, again in conversation with GP Week
. “There are certain parts of the car that you have to design yourself and you have to own the IP to that.
“Unless I'm mistaken, the contents of part of this judgement suggest that there has been copyright infringement and if that's the case, it needs to be looked at and it needs to be looked at seriously because it's really fundamental to the integrity of the sport.
“There's potentially an awful lot of money at stake, but it goes beyond that. There's the reputation of a team, and all sorts of things. These rules are there to make sure we're all competing on the same basis.”