Caterham F1 Team Raises $1.7 Million Through Crowdfunding
Formula 1 racing is in a state of tumult. The recent dropouts from two of the sport’s smaller teams, Caterham and Marussia, have sparked a heated debate about how to fix a sport that seemingly rewards the richest outfits and punishes the little guys. In a last ditch effort to get on the grid at the final race in Abu Dhabi, Caterham F1 has turned to Internet crowdfunding to front its multi-million dollar racing bill. And you know what? It just might work. RELATED: Did you know Caterham built an electric carbon-fiber bike?
After just a few hours on the British crowdfunding site Crowdcube, Caterham raised an astounding £300,000 of its £2.35 million target goal ($3.7 million). With five days to go until Caterham begins shipping out to Abu Dhabi, that number has grown to a staggering £1.06 million ($1.7 million) – all raised entirely by fans and Internet sponsors.
Of course, it isn’t a one-way street for Caterham. The racing outfit will reward donors with a number of gifts and bonuses for their support, ranging from Caterham-brand earplugs, to the front and rear wing of the team’s 2013 F1 car, or even a chance to hang out with the team at its hospitality center at the Abu Dhabi paddock.
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For the last year, Caterham’s finances have continually been a topic of uncertainty. Team owner Tony Fernandes sold Caterham F1 to investor group Engavest in July, but that didn’t stop the program from entering its equivalent of bankruptcy following the Russian Grand Prix. Caterham did not race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, nor will it field a car for this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
Any of the coveted double points awarded in Abu Dhabi could mean big dividends for the struggling F1 team and a major blow to Marussia F1, which scored two points (and elevated the team to ninth position) at the hands of driver Jules Bianchi, who currently remains in critical condition. It seems as though Formula 1 couldn’t get any messier than this.
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