The Force India team looks set to have to pay back the damages it won – and then some – after the High Court verdict awarding it compensation from Abu Dhabi sponsors was reversed in London’s Court of Appeal.
Etihad Airways and Aldar Properties were ordered to pay the Vijay Mallya owned outfit some $4.7 million in damages late last year, after each abandoned their three-year sponsorship deals – said to be worth in the region of $20 million – just a year after signing on with the outfit when it was then known as Spyker.
After being found guilty of breaching their contract when they jumped ship to Ferrari during the 2007-8 off-season, the appeals court has instead ruled that both companies were entitled to cancel their deals.
The court ruled in favour of Etihad – it arguing that the simultaneous advertisement of Mallya’s own Kingfisher airline – and Aldar, which argued that Mallya’s promotion of his alcohol companies was in breach of their agreements.
Additionally, both companies were guaranteed spots as prominent sponsors under the Spyker contract, and which was a deal that Mallya – assuming his new ownership of the Spyker team after he bought it out – was seemingly not able to honour.
“In my judgment … Force India rode roughshod over all these rights and protections,” appeal judge Sir Bernard Rix ruled.
It is believed that both companies will sue for additional damages after a fairly expensive legal battle.
[Original image via LAT]