Mercedes sues former engineer


Mercedes is suing a Ferrari-bound former employee for data theft.

According to a court filing released yesterday (Monday), Benjamin Hoyle is being sued by Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains, which supplies the engines for the works team, Force India, Williams and Lotus, for allegedly searching for and then saving data from this year's Hungarian Grand Prix, ironically, a race that Ferrari won.

According to the filing, Hoyle’s "actions were calculated to destroy or seriously damage the relationship of trust" he has with Mercedes. "Mr. Hoyle and potentially Ferrari have gained an unlawful advantage."

The data is said to include files containing the code required to decrypt raw race data files.

On learning that Hoyle was to join Ferrari at the end of the year, having given notice in May, he was assigned to non-F1 duties, given a new email address and proprietary data was removed from his laptop.

However, according to Bloomberg: "Despite his reassignment, Hoyle was found looking at race reports and took confidential data."

He is alleged to have then deleted files in an attempt to conceal his wrongdoing."

"Legal action is underway involving Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains Ltd. and an employee," Mercedes said in a brief statement this morning. "The company has taken the appropriate legal steps to protect its intellectual property."

It is claimed Mercedes is seeking the return of all documents and information, payment of its legal fees, and wants to block Hoyle from joining Ferrari or any other F1 competitor until after the 2016 season.

In 2007, the sport was rocked by the Spygate scandal which saw McLaren eventually fined $100m after confidential technical information from Ferrari was passed to the Woking team.

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Published: 08/12/2015
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