Red Bull Racing has taken legal action against its former head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows who is set to become Aston Martin F1's new technical director.
The Silverstone-based outfit announced Fallows' hiring in June 2021 although the time of his release by Red Bull had yet to be agreed.
Aston Martin was hopeful that Fallows, who spent 15 years at Milton Keynes working alongside chief technical officer Adrian Newey, would begin his tenure in early 2022 after a six-month gardening leave period.
However, Red Bull has argued that Fallows' gardening leave period can only start at the conclusion of his current contract with the team which runs until December 31st 2022. He would therefore only be eligible to join Aston from mid-2023.
Red Bull successfully argued its case in a British court on December 17, but further hearings are set to take place between January 25 and 28.
According to court documents, Fallows was removed from RBR's operations and redeployed at its Red Bull Technologies unit to work on Aston's Valkyrie road car project, a change that was allowed by the terms of his contract with RB.
However, Fallows handed in his notice two months after his move to RBT, seeking an immediate end to his contract with Red Bull. He then left Red Bull a month later.
But Red Bull stated that its engineer was not constructively dismissed, but resigned, and insisted that Fallows' contract - and its terms - "remained and remains in full force and effect".
Fallows than counter-argued that he was dismissed by Red Bull, claiming that "the minimum term of the contract was unenforceable because it was in restraint of trade".
Incidentally, Fallows has had his day in court in the past, with McLaren taking legal action against the engineer in 2014 when he reneged on a deal to join the Woking-based outfit from Red Bull.
At the time, the matter was settled out of the courts by the two teams.