The administrators of Caterham appear to be doing as much as they can to try and return the Leafield outfit to the grid for the season finale Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 23rd November, but is it too little too late to save the team.
Against a background of claim and counterclaim between former owner Tony Fernandes and the shadowy consortium that acquired the team back in July, the administrators appear to be selling the family silver as part of their crowd-funding attempt to raise the cash to race in Abu Dhabi.
Caterham F1 have also been running a heavy PR strategy, revealing that Rubens Barrichello had previously made an approach to the team to drive in the last 3 races of 2014, and putting forward upcoming female driver Alice Powell as a possible test driver at the race.
In a rare moment of contrition, Bernie Ecclestone had admitted that the distribution of cash amongst teams was the root of the problems at the back end of the field, but following the threat of boycott from some of the other smaller teams in Austin, he’s now changed tack, stating that there will be no emergency payments for teams and that it’s their own responsibility to fund appropriately. He’d specifically said that the last thing he wanted to see was a team passing round the begging bowl, which is exactly the impression currently being given by Caterham on their crowd funding page.
With just 2 days left, the team have raised more than £1.2million of the £2.3million required to join the race, making it one of the most successful crowd funding programmes of recent times, but the limited amount of time before the deadline makes it extremely unlikely that the team will manage to hit their target.
Caterham Memorabilia For Sale
Alongside the donation led crowd funding exercise, Caterham’s page also includes the opportunity for fans to pick up some memorabillia at quite low prices. Typically with crowd funding projects, if the target sum is not achieved, no money is taken, from the Crowd Cube Caterham page it’s not clear whether rewards such as an Alexander Rossi racesuit (yours for a £395 donation) would still be sent out if the target is not reached.
Ultimately, the demise of the team and their attempt to resurrect themselves as a going concern (presumably to make them a more attractive target for future investment) falls somewhere between tragic and heroic, but like Marussia, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that without some intervention from elsewhere Caterham will rejoin the F1 family in Abu Dhabi.