Mercedes is filing legal action against a former engineer after accusing him of copying confidential files before his move to main rivals Ferrari.

Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains, the engine-making arm of the Mercedes F1 team, has launched a lawsuit against Benjamin Hoyle alleging he searched for and saved confidential files after he had informed the company he was leaving to join rivals Ferrari.

According to Bloomberg, the suit says he attempted to lift a Hungarian Grand Prix race report - which took place in July - containing engine mileage and damage data, including files containing decrypting codes. Hoyle had informed Mercedes of his intention to leave the company in May in order to take a role at Ferrari, starting in December, with the German firm duly reassigning his roles to limit is access to sensitive data.

Mercedes says it has evidence Hoyle attempted to continue seeking now confidential files, an accusation it says appears more damning by the apparent attempt to delete his traces and conceal it.

Though the lawsuit doesn't accuse Ferrari of any wrongdoing, Mercedes is adamant Hoyle's actions could have served to give its main rival an 'unlawful advantage'.

"Mr Hoyle's actions were calculated to destroy or seriously damage the relationship of trust. Mr. Hoyle and potentially Ferrari have gained an unlawful advantage."

Mercedes is seeking the return of all documents and information, payment of its legal fees, and wants to block Hoyle from joining Ferrari or any other F1 competitor until after the 2016 season.

"Legal action is underway involving Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains Ltd. and an employee," Mercedes said in an e-mailed statement. "The company has taken the appropriate legal steps to protect its intellectual property."



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