Italian wind tunnel operator Aerolab said on Friday they were taking legal action against the Force India Formula One team for “serious and persistent” breaches of contract.
The company issued a statement after media reports suggested Force India were concerned that Lotus, who are now working closely with Aerolab's parent company Fondtech, had copied details of their 2009 car.
Lotus F1 technical head Mike Gascoyne was previously employed by Silverstone-based Force India.
Aerolab managing director Jean-Claude Migeot said in a statement that the Lotus rumours were “designed only to tarnish the company's reputation and professionalism and to divert attention away from the facts.
“The truth is that Aerolab is suing Force India for not fulfilling its obligations.”
Force India were not immediately available for comment.
Aerolab said their three-year collaboration with Silverstone-based Force India had come to “an abrupt and unhappy end” in September this year after “serious and persistent breaches of contract by Force India.”
Gascoyne played down suggestions that his team's car was based on the Force India.
“Our wind-tunnel model was designed for us by Fondtech in Italy,” he told a leading automotive website.
“It is based around a 2010 chassis. The Fondmetal guys put some generic bodywork on,” he said.
Gascoyne also added, “You cannot copy anything or take anyone else's Intellectual property, but you can use your expertise - and you will base that on what you know and in what direction . That is what has happened.”