Force India has revealed that the English High Court has set a hearing period starting on 16th January 2012 to hear the intellectual property infringement claim against 1 Malaysia Racing Team Sdn Bhd which currently runs Team Lotus, and against Italian-based Aerolab. 1 Malaysia Racing Team (UK) Ltd and Team Lotus’ Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne are also the defendants in the suit.

To refresh your memory, in November 2009 Force India claimed that Team Lotus (then known as Lotus Racing) was designing and building it’s 2010 contender with data and information supplied by Force India’s former wind tunnel operator Aerolab. Among the parts that were said to be identical with Force India’s Formula 1 car, was the front wing assembly.

Force India also said that Lotus Racing’s T127 wind tunnel model was sitting on tyres that have the handwriting of Force India’s staff. Force India which partnered with Aerolab through out the 2008 and 2009 seasons ceased the collaboration with the aerodynamics specialist in August 2009 due to the team’s concerns over a breach of confidentiality. Aerolab then started civil proceedings in Italy and in the UK against the team for the early termination of the service agreement. Force India subsequently paid a sum of one million Euros into an escrow account as a security.

Moving back to the subject of this report, it was also revealed that the Italian authorities are pursuing cases against 1 Malaysia Racing Team (UK) Ltd, Mike Gascoyne and Aerolab on the same intellectual property infringement issue. This means that the operators of Team Lotus have not only one, but two problems knocking at it’s door.

As you would also know, Team Lotus has an ongoing dispute with Group Lotus over the Lotus naming issue. Drama in this case is just an understatement.