Force India has accused rivals Caterham of saving millions and then reaping even more millions by stealing their secret technical data.
A British court last week awarded Vijay Mallya’s team EUR 25,000 when Caterham and wind tunnel company Aerolab were found to have based models of the 2010 Team Lotus car on computer files owned by former Aerolab client Force India. The French news agency AFP reports that, as well as referring the case to the FIA, the team is appealing the decision.
Force India deputy team boss Bob Fernley said Caterham had managed to speed ahead of Marussia and HRT in the past two years, earning millions in F1 prize money.
“To get to the level that is needed, formula one is a huge amount of investment and time,” he said.
“Caterham took the Force India aero platform to get to a certain level which took them above HRT and Marussia.
“First of all it saves you millions of pounds and secondly it puts you straight into position. But even three years on they’ve not progressed that.”
F1’s governing body has yet to comment, but famously in 2007 McLaren was fined $100 million for espionage involving Ferrari.
Fernley wonders that if president Jean Todt has no reaction now, “could McLaren claim their $100 million back?”