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FIA investigation could cost Caterham £25m+

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Scott Webber, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. [​IMG]
    The Caterham F1 team has been embroiled in legal fights since its inception back in 2010, but the latest case brought against them could dwarf that of the naming saga seen last season.
    Whilst it looked as though Caterham got off scot-free from the Force India vs. AeroLab/Caterham court ruling last week, which claimed the Italian aerodynamics specialist and Tony Fernandes owned team had used significant amounts of Force India data to develop the Lotus Racing T127 from 2010, an investigation by the sports governing body could prove otherwise.

    The FIA has been asked by both Force India and Marussia - Caterham's closest rival - to investigate claims that the team used development data from the VJM05 to develop its first car.
    Marussia's sporting director, Graeme Lowdon, explained the reasons behind their dialogue with the FIA.
    "The rules that we all as teams operate under are very strict and very clear in terms of what we have to do as a constructor," he is quoted as saying by GPWeek. "There are certain parts of the car that you have to design yourself and you have to own the IP to that.

    Whilst the London High Court found AeroLab and Caterham to have used Force India CAD files, they believed it was purely to cut corners and speed up the development process, rather than copy the parts as a whole.
    However, paragraph 373 of the 122-page ruling suggests much deeper copyright infringement took place,

    If clear evidence can be found by the FIA that data from the VJM05 was designed into the T127, then the outfit could face losing its tenth place finish in 2010. Whilst such a penalty may be seen as harsh, damaging to the sport and the team, it isn't unheard of. In 2007, McLaren were stripped of their points, thrown out of the Constructors' title (in which they would have finished first), and fined £62 million ($100m).
    Such a scenario at Caterham could very well be likely if found guilty, resulting in the loss of their column one status, which sees them take a share of the F1 prize money, estimated at £18m ($30m) as well as significant fines easily topping £10m ($15m).

  2. That's really bad new, if they have to pay those huge fines, ithat could be the end of Caterham. They might have to retire from the series.. But would that bring new fines from Bernie? I don't know but if i recall correctly, team have signed a contract that makes their participation mandatory...Fernandez surely has the money to pay that amount but it would mean complete stop for developement, that would be a killer blow.

    What is vortex generator? Lower part of brake duct and mirrors are just nitpicking, they cant really be considered a major part of aeropackage.

    EDIT: Found the answer myself
    They are those small uprights under the front wing, they can be found elsewhere too, this is just an example.
  3. Ole Marius Myrvold

    Ole Marius Myrvold
    JWB 96-13 Staff

    Only 2010 results? Or 2011 as well?
  4. Everything on the front wing is the most important thing on a car, they set the tone for the rest of the car.
    Vortex generators are golden in F1.
  5. Oh that's stupid! Even if they had used the CAD files I wouldn't say they've helped them a lot! Teal Lotus finished 10th with no points scored.
  6. Chris Jenkins

    Chris Jenkins
    Driving til the wheels fall off

    Why are Marussia piping up?
    They were two places below Lotus/Caterham in 2010, so it doesn't concern them in the slightest.
  7. Honestly, all of this is frankly silly. "Oh look, CAD files from Force India. Surealy they won't mind if we copy the design and put it on our car, right?". And maybe it helped, maybe not. 10th put them in the Category 1 which allows them to receive a lot more money than 11th and 12th. Besides, even if it made things worse, it doesn't matter. It would be like someone stealing a milion dollars, then losing it all gambling.

    Marussia would be greatly benefited if Caterham is fined right now, since at the very least it would stall their development, so Marussia would have a better shot at 10th. That's probably why they are chiming in. HRT would benefit too, but they probably got their hands full already.

    Food for the thought though. If Caterham loses its Category 1 position in 2010, and therefore their share of the F! prize money, would it go to HRT? That would certainly help them this season. $30m is quite a lot of money.
  8. Chris Jenkins

    Chris Jenkins
    Driving til the wheels fall off

    No, Caterham only got Category 1 position for being position 10 for 2 seasons in a row.