Ferrari has moved to distance itself from ex-Mercedes engineer Benjamin Hoyle following an accusation of data theft by his former employers.

As first revealed by Bloomberg, Mercedes has brought a legal case against Hoyle, who worked in the engine department of the title-winning team, claiming to have found evidence of him attempting to access files made confidential to him after he informed the company he was leaving to join rivals Ferrari.

According to Mercedes , Hoyle was set to join Ferrari this month after tendering his resignation back in May and alleges it could have gained an 'unlawful advantage' had it gotten hold of files, which it says included engine mileage and damage reports from the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Though the legal case does mention Ferrari, only Hoyle has been outwardly accused of the data breach, with the Italian firm quick to dismiss the suggestion it could have indeed gained from such information, saying it has 'never signed a contract' with him.

"Ferrari held talks with Hoyle about employing him, but he never signed a contract and is not joining the company," it told Bloomberg.

Mercedes told Bloomberg it was seeking a return of all documents and a ban on him joining Ferrari or any other team until after the 2016 season.

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



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