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Force India to cough up R8.6m

2012-03-23 09:43

LONDON, England - Formula 1's Force India race team has been ordered to stump up the equivalent of R8.6-million in unpaid fees to an aerodynamics company after a long-running court case.

The pay-out was demanded by the High Court in London on Wednesday after a copyright infringement case, according to a lawyers' statement seen by AFP and media reports.

Force India had accused wind-tunnel operators Aerolab and Caterham technical chief Mike Gascoyne of systematic copyright breaches which it valued at R158.4-million.

BIG PAY OUT

While Force India was awarded R254 212 for minor copyright breaches, the court also ordered it to pay R8.6-million in fees owed to Aerolab for development work.

The court found that Caterham, formerly Team Lotus, had copied some computer files of Force India, mainly as a short cut for its own tests. Certain small Force India-designed components were then used in Team Lotus's 2010 car.

Lawyer Tim Bamford said: "The outcome is plainly a very satisfactory one for all of the defendants but particularly for Gascoyne, who was sued in his personal capacity."

Gascoyne expressed his reaction via Twitter. "Just to put the record straight, I was totally cleared of any wrongdoing and all the claims made against me by Force India were dismissed."

Force India did not comment on its large bill but said the copyright infringement would now be referred to Formula 1's governing body.

London's Daily Telegraph said Force India's losses could rise to R48.7-million, including legal costs.

AFP