MARCH 7, 2011
Force India and Team Lotus in court next January
Force India's claims again Team Lotus, Mike Gascoyne and Aerolab relating to intellectual property infringement are to be heard by the British High Court on January 16, 2012. Separate criminal proceedings are currently being conducted in Italy involving team owner Tony Fernandes, Gascoyne and aerodynamicist Jean Claude Migeot.
Force India had a contract with Aerolab throughout the 2008 and 2009 for aerodynamic development of the VJM02 and VJM03 chassis, in collaboration with the team's own aero department in Brackley, UK. That ceased in August 2009 due to Force India's concerns about breach of confidentiality. Aerolab then started civil proceedings in Italy and the UK over the early termination, with Force India paying €1m into an escrow account as a security.
Two months later, Force India started its own criminal proceedings over the alleged disclosure of confidential information. The team believes that Aerolab may, during the course of its contract with the team, have disclosed Force India's intellectual property to 1 Malaysia Racing Team and Mike Gascoyne, with whom it was working at the time through a sister company, and that IP may have been used in the development of last year's Lotus T127. Force India believes that evidence retrieved during investigations carried out by the Italian authorities shows that such a transfer took place.