Caterham to race in Abu Dhabi


Published: Friday 14th November 2014 by The News Editor

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The administrator behind Caterham has confirmed the team will compete in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next weekend.

London-based accountancy firm Smith & Williamson announced last Friday their aim to raise £2.35million via pledges from fans and businesses around the world to get Caterham to the season-ending race.

Although currently just under £500,000 short at present, sponsors have come on board to allow the administrators to get the cash-strapped team to the grid at the Yas Marina circuit.

After being given dispensation to miss the previous two races in the United States and Brazil, Caterham’s return means there will be a 20 -car grid in Abu Dhabi.

Finbarr O’Connell, joint administrator at Smith & Williamson and interim Caterham team principal, said: “We set ourselves a major challenge, but it’s definitely been worth it.

“In only a week the fans have made the impossible, possible.

“We knew the best way to keep this team alive and attract possible buyers was to show it’s still a racing team and be in Abu Dhabi for the final.

“There aren’t enough words to say how grateful we are to all the fans that have made this possible.”

Part of the #RefuelCaterhamF1 campaign has seen team kit, race suits from former drivers and old car parts sold off to bring in donations, with new items added over the past few days.

One high-price ticket item includes dinner with one of the drivers at the Royal Automobile Club in London, although it remains to be seen who will be behind the wheel.

Rookie Marcus Ericsson, who next season will be driving for Sauber, confirmed on Wednesday he had terminated all agreements with the team.

Kamui Kobayashi is understood to still be under contract, whilst two young British hopefuls in this year’s GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer and the up-and-coming Alice Powell are looking to be involved in some capacity.

For O’Connell, though, the fact Caterham will be in Abu Dhabi allows them to continue talks with potential new owners.

O’Connell added: “We head to Abu Dhabi ready to show what a hard-working and positive group of people this is and to hopefully secure a future for the team.

“During the past few days the interest of many potential buyers has increased massively, and by racing in Abu Dhabi the team will be showcasing itself as a live and functioning team that deserves to continue into 2015 and beyond.

“It has hard-working people, team spirit and experience and now it only needs a secure financial future which I’m very hopeful we can achieve.

“Again, I’d like to reiterate we are racing in Abu Dhabi thanks to all the fans out there – an achievement that will go down in F1 history and one that we can all be very proud of.

“Let’s go racing!”

The desperation levels of the team, though, have made some like Lotus owner Gerard Lopez severely criticise Caterham’s aims, in particular as he feels they have made F1 a laughing stock.

“It (the crowdfunding) is a one-off and I think it’s sad if you think about what it’s being used for,” said Lopez.

“Formula One, which is a 1.6billion (US) dollar (£1bn) business and distributes over 900million (£573m), and we’re being asked if crowdfunding is a good idea to bring a team back. Seriously?

“Then it’s even more disastrous than I think it is, in terms of ethics.

“A team principal came to me and was laughing about the crowdfunding thing. I think it’s pretty sad.

“It’s pretty telling about the sport when people are laughing about that kind of stuff.”

Published: Friday 14th November 2014 by The News Editor

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