Force India also suing Gascoyne, and Mark Smith leaves for Lotus

Mike Gascoyne is now being involved in the dispute between Force India and Lotus

Mike Gascoyne is now being involved in the dispute between Force India and Lotus

A day after Force India announced that they were suing Lotus for copying their design of their 2010 car, it has been revealed that Mike Gascoyne, the Chief Technical Officer, is also being sued as part of this court battle. Gascoyne worked with Force India from 2006 to 2008.

At the moment, it is understood that Force India are suing Lotus and Gascoyne, as they believe that the green and yellow team have used Force India’s pre-season design in their own car, through the Aerolab company, which provides aero tunnel usage for both teams. Lotus claim that they are simply caught up in a spat, and have revealed that Aerolab have provided them full indemnity in this case.

However, a statement from Force India today very clearly states that the Lotus team “has utilised and benefited from the use of Force India F1 Team’s intellectual properly”:

"The Force India F1 Team confirms it has instigated UK civil 
proceedings against 1Malaysia Racing Team SDN BHD (a Malaysian 
company), 1Malaysia Racing Team (UK) Limited (Lotus Racing's parent 
companies), Michael Gascoyne and Aerolab SRL. Force India also 
confirms that a complaint for disclosure of confidential information 
was filed in December 2009 with the competent authorities in Italy 
and that investigations are being conducted.

Force India believes that Lotus Racing, via its use of Aerolab and 
Fondtech facilities and data, has utilised and benefited from the 
use of Force India F1 Team's intellectual property, including 
components and tyres exclusively licensed by Bridgestone to the 
Force India F1 Team, on its wind tunnel model design for the current 
Lotus T127 chassis without permission from the Force India F1 Team. 
Force India states these are very serious claims and therefore it 
would not be taking such action if it could not provide supportive 
evidence.

Additionally Force India would like to clarify that any action 
between Aerolab and Force India for undue termination of contract 
is now being addressed by the courts. Force India confirms it paid 
approximately one million euros in autumn 2009 to secure the payment 
claimed by Aerolab and it is now for the competent courts to decide 
whether, indeed, this outstanding amount should be paid to Aerolab 
given the seriousness of these current allegations.

For reference, the civil court action documentation is in the public 
domain and can be accessed via the High Court of Justice, Chancery 
Division."

This is getting more and more serious every time I hear something about it. To make matters worse, it has been revealed today that Mark Smith has left Force India to join, you guessed it, Lotus. At Force India, he was the design and technical director, and will now be technical director at Lotus.

The reason I’m concerned about this is simple. When he worked at Force India, Mark Smith was the Design Director of the last 4 Formula 1 cars (2007-2010) that the team have made. Seeing as this controversy is centred around the pre-season designs of Lotus’ and Force India’s cars, it would be a disaster if Smith brought IP (intellectual property) with him to Lotus, as this would just fuel the debate even more.

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