The cash-strapped team Caterham now sees a glimmer of hope in returning to F1 field on November 23rd, with its fans stumping up £1 million in 48 hours.
The backmarker went into administration last month and has now missed two races. Therefore, on Friday, Caterham got out the begging bowl, launching the #RefuleCaterhamF1 project for a target of £2.35 to get to the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Just as what the team’s administrator and interim team principal proudly said that the Caterham F1 Team is almost half way to its funding target, this crowdfunding strategy among fans is undoubtedly successful. Besides, he said: “It is clear this campaign is becoming international. We have been approached by a number of people and organizations who have offered their support in different ways…as they want to see the team back on the grid. Most importantly, a new financially-sound interested party has entered the arena and is considering acquiring the team. This new interest is wholly due to this campaign.” It seems that not only the upcoming Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is now possible for the stricken team, the 2015 championship might be within reach too.
However, not all the people show a positive attitude towards the crowdfunding. Formula One commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone made it very clear that the crowdfunding project to get back to race is a disaster for the sport’s image and F1 doesn’t want begging bowls. He said: “If people can’t afford to be in Formula One, they have to find something else to do.” Besides, he dismissed any chance of helping the team with more money if they can’t raise enough to race in Abu Dhabi. As for this, Mr. O’Connell just said: “There has been some confusion with regard to the purpose of the Crowdfunding Project. Clearly, the plan is not to run a F1 team by using Crowdfunding but rather this funding is providing a stepping stone for the team to a new financially sound future. If teams don’t race they are at a huge disadvantage as regards a potential purchaser making a very expensive purchase decision and this Project gives the Team the ability to showcase itself and especially its cars.”
Well, from my perspective, the only obstacle for crowdfunding in F1 is a new profit distribution system. After all, the dreadful fate of Marussia proves that the crowdfunding is not the worst solution. At least, Caterham might finally avoid being shut down and made redundant.