Force India hit with legal costs of $1 million

The Force India Formula One team must pay legal costs of more than $1 million dollars within two weeks after a copyright case involving rivals Caterham and the operators of an Italian wind tunnel, a judge ruled on Friday.

Court sources said Mr Justice Arnold awarded Mike Gascoyne, Caterham's chief technical officer, an interim payment of costs of 400,000 pounds and 1Malaysia Racing Team of 250,000 pounds.

1Malaysia Racing Team competed as Lotus Racing when they made their debut in 2010, becoming Team Lotus in 2011 and Caterham this season.

 Force India hit with legal costs of <img class=

Two costs decisions relating to Italian company Aerolab were postponed to next week due to lack of time. AFP

Two costs decisions relating to Italian company Aerolab were postponed to next week due to lack of time. Force India's own legal costs are also likely to be substantial.

Force India were ordered to pay an existing debt to Aerolab of 846,230 euros after the case concluded in March, with Aerolab ordered to pay 25,000 euros compensation to Force India.

British-based Force India are owned by flamboyant Indian drinks and aviation entrepreneur Vijay Mallya, whose Kingfisher airline is struggling with debt of $1.3 billion.

The Caterham team is run by Tony Fernandes, the boss of Malaysian budget airline AirAsia as well as English Premier League soccer side Queens Park Rangers.

Force India had initially sought 15 million pounds compensation from Aerolab and sister company Fondmetal Technologies for the alleged "systematic copying" of aerodynamic details on the team's 2009 car.

Before that, Aerolab had launched a claim against Force India for unpaid fees.

Gascoyne worked previously for Silverstone-based Force India and had used the Aerolab wind tunnel facility to test a Lotus Racing car model after leaving them.

Force India accused Aerolab and 1Malaysia of using confidential information and their intellectual property as a 'shortcut'.

The judge ruled that Force India had not established systematic copying and held that neither Gascoyne nor Caterham were liable for breach of confidence.


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Updated Date: May 04, 2012 22:18:42 IST