NASCAR team Michael Waltrip Racing has commenced legal action against F1's famous British outfit Williams and Mike Coughlan.

Michael Waltrip, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
Michael Waltrip, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

After losing his job as McLaren chief designer and departing Formula One amid the spygate scandal, Briton Coughlan joined North Carolina-based MWR as director of vehicle design.

He then returned to F1 in June to be Williams' new chief engineer.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Michael Waltrip Racing has filed suit against Coughlan and Williams in the US District Court for breach of contract.

The report said Coughlan had joined MWR with a three-year deal set to run through 2012.

The suit reportedly alleges his move "harmed the performance of the MWR teams as well as their viability in competing for sponsorship", and seeks damages in excess of $75,000 and other compensation.

Another report at nascar.com said the suit alleges Oxfordshire-based Williams "tortiously interfered" with MWR "by negotiating to hire Coughlan while he was still under contract".