Back in 2002, at the height of his serial court appearances, Arrows team principal Tom Walkinshaw opined that his company had lost its latest case (a debt in favour of Cosworth) due to "the judge not understanding Formula 1..."
The comment drew guffaws of laughter from the media, but in retrospect the Scot had a point: most non-F1 folk have little understanding of the paddock's nuances. How, then, can a judge, any judge - likely schooled in Oxbridge and residing in some leafy suburb - be expected to grasp every twist and turn of this high-octane sporting business?
Having read last week's verdict of the High Court of Justice Chancery Division in the Force India/Aerolab matter, it seems that Mr Justice Arnold failed to fully appreciate the subtleties of F1, thus handing down a judgment that, at first reading, failed to fully address claimant Force India's grievances, namely that its intellectual property had been breached by Aerolab to the benefit of its subsequent client, 1 Malaysia Racing (previously Lotus F1, now Caterham F1).
Aerolab admitted that a portion of Force India IP had erroneously remained embedded in its systems as a result of the hasty transition between the termination of Force India as a client (at the end of July 2009, six months ahead of time due to various non-payments by Force India) and taking on 1 Malaysia Racing (coincidentally also subject to legal proceedings over use of the Lotus moniker) as a client virtually overnight.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken