Raising Finance

“Emotional plea” with Crowdcube takes Caterham F1 to Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

3 min read

14 November 2014

Former deputy editor

Formula 1 racing team Caterham has fallen into administration, and while its goal of raising £2.35m with crowdfunding platform Crowdcube is still yet to be reached, the company has received enough donations to achieve its aim of getting back on the tracks to compete in a final race and appeal to buyers.

Earlier this week, Real Business explored the rising trend of crowdfunding and spoke to both Finbarr O’Connell, Caterham Sports administrator and Crowdcube co-founder Luke Lang about the urgent project to help get the Caterham F1 team racing at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 23 November.

The two companies have now revealed that the Caterham F1 team has received enough investment to compete, although just 80 per cent of the £2.35 million has been reached so far. The fundraising deadline to has now been extended for another nine days.

Formula One commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone was hugely critical of the company using crowdfunding to recover from debt, saying: “We don’t want begging bowls.” At the Brazilian Grand Prix on 9 November, he added: “If people can’t afford to be in Formula One, they have to find something else to do.

“If I sit in a poker game and I can’t afford to be there with the other people, I’ll get killed and will have to leave.”

Following the updated news, Real Business caught up once again with Lang, who told us: “The Caterham F1 team have announced that they have raised enough money to race in Abu Dhabi, which was the objective of the campaign and great news for everyone involved.

“It is fantastic that so many fans have been inspired by the campaign and helped crowdfund the team to the track. It would be great if the F1 community itself showed as much support for teams up-and-coming like Caterham F1.”

Some 200 jobs could be saved with the campaign and O’Connell previously explained to Real Business that staff aren’t currently being paid.

He now says: “We knew that the best way to keep this team alive and attract possible buyers was to show that it’s still a racing team and be in Abu Dhabi for the finale, and there aren’t enough words to say how grateful we are to all the fans that have made this possible.

“We now 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.”

Update:

Over the weekend it was revealed that Caterham F1 has made 230 members of staff redundant, according to The Guardian. 

O’Connell, said: “It is a crazy situation but the most ironic thing is that the majority of the team were pressing me to make them redundant so their redundancy claim forms could be up and running while I try to sell the team. If I sell the team they will be re-employed by the purchaser and those claim forms will effectively be ripped up.”

The company has been accused of hiding the news behind the announcement the company achieved enough crowdfunding investment to make it to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.