As far as racing disciplines go, Formula One and NASCAR are about as different as can be. They run entirely different kinds of cars, on different kinds of tracks, for different types of fans, from garages on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Recent years have seen a handful of F1 drivers trying their hand at stock car racing, but the latest clash of civilizations is set to play itself out not on the race track, but in the court room.
The issue, it seems, is over one Mike Coughlan. The British racing engineer is no stranger to controversy, having found himself at the center of the Spygate scandal of 2007 in which he was found to have stolen private documents from Ferrari while working for rival team McLaren.
The controversy saw Coughlan temporarily banned from F1, so like his former McLaren colleagues Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen, he sailed for America and tried his hand at NASCAR. But after only six months into a two-year contract as vehicle designer director with Michael Waltrip Racing, the Williams Grand Prix team hired him to return to F1 in a senior management shake-up.
Now Waltrip is reportedly suing Coughlan and Williams for breach of contract, which they allege cost them prize money and sponsorship revenue. Williams, for its part, says it has yet to receive any documents related to the case. But something tells us this won't be the last we've heard on the subject....