Force India F1 team dismiss threat of asset seizure

London: The Force India Formula One team dismissed on Tuesday the threat of having their assets seized during next month`s Italian Grand Prix as a result of legal action.

Bologna-based Aerolab, a wind tunnel operator, issued a statement last week announcing that the London High Court had ordered Force India to pay them 1.074 million euros (USD 1.35 million) in a dispute over unpaid fees.

It warned however that it expected its director Jean Claude Migeot to be charged "pursuant to a criminal complaint filed in Bologna" by Force India in what it said was a strategy to try and force a settlement.

"The upcoming Italian Grand Prix at Monza, during which Force India`s assets will be present under Italian jurisdiction, could trigger further exchanges of action between the two parties," Aerolab warned.

A Force India spokeswoman rejected the likelihood of any asset seizure at Monza and said the 1.074 million euros had been paid over to the court in September last year pending the outcome of a related action that also involved the Lotus F1 team and others.

"The court determined the two cases should be considered separately and ordered Force India to release the 1,074,000 euros lodged with the court and also pay associated costs," the spokeswoman said.

"Force India is in the process of complying with the court`s instructions and actively progressing the IP (intellectual property) litigation."

Aerolab had sued Silverstone-based Force India for breach of contract after the operator said that their three-year collaboration had come to an "abrupt and unhappy end" in September last year.

Force India have in turn taken action against the Italian company and F1 newcomers Lotus over that Malaysian-owned team`s use of Aerolab to develop their 2010 car.

Lotus, whose technical head Mike Gascoyne previously worked for Force India, have played down suggestions that the wind tunnel model of their car had made use of data belonging to their rivals.

"Whereas you cannot copy anything or take anyone else`s IP, you can use your expertise," Gascoyne said in November. "And you will base that on what you know and what directions you know have been happening. That is what has happened."

Bureau Report


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