Force India to pay £650,000 in legal costs
4 May 2012 – A High Court judge has ordered Force India to pay £650,000 in legal costs following the copyright infringement case involving Aerolab and Caterham. Having gone to great lengths to pursue the case, the Silverstone-based outfit is now forced to submit the payments to the lawyers of Caterham and its technical head Mike Gascoyne.
The hearing had been arranged to determine how much Force India would have to pay in an overall scenario which dates back to 2009; that year, Italian wind tunnel supplier Aerolab switched from working with Force India to Caterham, which was then known as Lotus Racing and later Team Lotus.
Aerolab admitted that some Force India data had been unintentionally left on its systems and went into the design process of the 2010 Lotus car; however, the judge very much rebuffed Force India’s suggestion that its entire 2009 design had been copied. After the team rejected an offer of compensation from Aerolab, claiming it was too little, it continued the case and last month was order by the court to pay the Italian company unpaid fees from 2009. Later, Force India won their case and received 25,000 euros (£21,000, but a smaller amount than originally offered by Aerolab).
As Aerolab had admitted its error, Caterham and Chief Technical Officer Gascoyne (formerly a Force India employee) were handed indemnity; but as Force India had continued the case against Caterham and Gascoyne specifically, it must now submit the £650,000 in legal costs to respective lawyers within the next two weeks.
Force India has already said that it is taking the situation to Formula 1 governing body the FIA for further examination, although it is believed Vijay Mallya’s outfit has already been attempting to do this for approximately two years.