Force India loses court verdict

Adrian Sutil, Japanese GP 2010

Adrian Sutil, Japanese GP 2010 

 © The Cahier Archive

Force India has suffered a reversal of a 2009 High Court ruling demanding that Etihad Airways and Aldar Properties pay $4.7m in damages over ending a three-year sponsorship deal with the team after a single year.

The companies signed three-year sponsorship deals with Spyker in 2007 but both switched allegiance to Ferrari the following season when Vijay Mallya took over Spyker and the team was renamed Force India.

It is understood that Etihad saw Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines as a clashing interest and Aldar was unhappy to be associated with the promotion of an alcohol brand, the Indian business tycoon also owning the Kingfisher brewing company.

Force India claimed that it was fully prepared to cede prominent sponsorship positions to the companies and avoid clashing branding, and won a High Court verdict in 2009. Appeal judge Sir Bernard Rix, however, ruled that "Force India rode rough shod over all these rights and protections."

At Suzuka, the team had no comment to make.

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