A former F1 engineer for Mercedes-Benz who had plans to switch to the team’s rival Scuderia Ferrari is being sued for data theft, Bloomberg reports.
Benjamin Hoyle, who was a team leader in Mercedes AMG Petronas’ performance engineering department, was caught searching for and saving Mercedes’ race data and other confidential files. Hoyle had plans to sign on with Ferrari following the expiration of his contract in December 2015, however the team has now come out and said it will not hire him “in the foreseeable future.”
According to an Oct. 19 filing released Monday, Hoyle’s actions “were calculated to destroy or seriously damage the relationship of trust” with Mercedes. The filing also stated “Mr. Hoyle and potentially Ferrari have gained an unlawful advantage,” due to the data theft.
In May of last year, Hoyle told Mercedes he did not intend on re-signing with the company following the expiration of his contract in 2015. The team then learned he intended on joining Ferrari following his departure and moved him to a department not related to the automaker’s F1 happenings. He was subsequently caught looking at race reports and deleted files in an attempt to cover up the theft.
Mercedes is looking to block Hoyle from joining any rival Formula 1 team in 2016 due to the potential breach and is taking the necessary legal steps to “protect its intellectual property.”