Mazepin loses court battle over failed attempt to buy Force India

The case brought by Dmitry Mazepin's company Uralkali against the administrators of the Force India Formula 1 team in the High Court in London has been dismissed

Mazepin loses court battle over failed attempt to buy Force India

However the Russian chemical company has not given up its claims, and says it will seek to appeal the judgement.

Mazepin, father of recently-signed Haas F1 driver Nikita, was one of several parties in the running to buy Force India when the team went into administration in July 2018, and he put in what he believed to be the highest bid.

With the clock ticking and complications due to the claims of Indian banks against owner Dr Vijay Mallya, the process eventually morphed from Plan A - a sale of the shares of the original Force India company - into Plan B, a sale of the team's assets.

The assets were eventually sold to the Racing Point consortium led by Lawrence Stroll and, in an unprecedented development, a new company was formed to take over the team's entry and run its cars under the new name, with the full agreement of the FIA and F1.

Mazepin subsequently began proceedings via Uralkali against Geoff Rowley and Jason Baker of FRP Advisory, the firm that acted as administrator.

In essence, Uralkali's claim was that the administrators had "failed to conduct a fair and proper sales process."

More specifically, Uralkali claimed that FRP had "negligently misrepresented that they would select the successful bidder on the basis of the most favourable offer" and "negligently misrepresented that the bidding process would be operated on a level playing field as between all bidders."

In addition, Urakali said that FRP "conducted the bid process negligently" and "breached an equitable duty of confidence by disclosing confidential information to Mr Stroll relating to Uralkali's bid."

The case was heard in the High Court over seven days in November by Mr Justice Miles, who in a lengthy judgement issued on Tuesday dismissed all of Uralkali's claims.

Mazepin himself did not appear as a witness, and Uralkali was represented by director Paul Ostling. In his judgement, Justice Miles made it clear that the key player's failure to appear in person had not helped Uralkali's case.

In a statement issued in response to the judgement, Uralkali said it will continue to pursue its claims.

The company noted: "Although Uralkali is disappointed with the decision of the trial court, it is pleased that the trial confirmed a number of its prior statements, including the fact that Uralkali's bid for the assets of Force India F1 team was higher than the winning bid.

"Uralkali intends to seek permission to appeal the decision handed down today and to continue to protect its rights in accordance with applicable legal procedures."

A statement from FRP Advisory given to Autosport welcomed the outcome: "Mr Justice Miles not only dismissed the Uralkali claims in their entirety, he also found that Mr Rowley conducted the sales process 'fairly and properly.'

"The judgement vindicates FRP's position from the outset, which is that the joint administrators undertook their duties with efficiency and professionalism and engaged with all parties in an entirely even-handed manner."

shares
comments
Ilott named as Ferrari F1 test driver for 2021
Previous article

Ilott named as Ferrari F1 test driver for 2021

Next article

Yuki Tsunoda replaces Kvyat at AlphaTauri for 2021 F1 season

Yuki Tsunoda replaces Kvyat at AlphaTauri for 2021 F1 season
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Plus

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Plus

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? LUKE SMITH asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Plus

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Plus

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Plus

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023
When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter Plus

When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter

Modern Formula 1 fans have grown accustomed to a lull in racing during winter in the northern hemisphere. But, as MAURICE HAMILTON explains, there was a time when teams headed south of the equator rather than bunkering down in the factory. And why not? There was fun to be had, money to be made and reputations to forge…

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2023
What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure Plus

What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure

Porsche whipped up a frenzy thanks to a cryptic social media post last week and, although it turned out to be a false alarm, it also highlighted why manufacturers remain such an important element in terms of the attraction that they bring to F1. It is little wonder that several other manufacturers are bidding for a slice of the action

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2023
Why the new Williams boss shouldn’t avoid ‘Mercedes B-team’ comparisons Plus

Why the new Williams boss shouldn’t avoid ‘Mercedes B-team’ comparisons

OPINION: Williams has moved to replace the departed Jost Capito by appointing former Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles as its new team principal. But while he has sought to play down the idea of moulding his new squad into a vision of his old one, some overlap is only to be expected and perhaps shouldn't be shied away from

Formula 1
Jan 17, 2023