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Cash-strapped Caterham to race in Abu Dhabi?

2014-11-14 13:47

BEGGING BOWL OUT: The Caterham F1 team administrators have asked fans to send money, lots of it and soon, so the cars can get to the November 23 Abu Dhabi season-closer. Image: AFP

LONDON, England - Caterham is planning to race at the 2014 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi season-ender even if they fail to raise a targeted R41-million by Friday's (Nov 14) deadline, an administrator said.

The team, who have missed the last two races, still had to raise nearly a million pounds through a crowd-funding website with 13 hours remaining.

Administrator Finbarr O'Connell, representing Smith & Williamson, told Reuters he expected the team would be going to Abu Dhabi anyway. O'Connell said: "I am 90% confident that we are going."

INTERESTED BUYERS

He added that the team's cars and parts were being packed into transport containers and loaded onto trucks at the Leafield factory.

The freight is due to be flown out of Britain to Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit.

O'Connell said: "In the last few days three interested buyers have come forward. They are people with F1 connections who are seriously interested and who if any of them bought it (the team), the world would say 'that makes sense'."

He said talks with a number of drivers, some with F1 experience and others in need of a superlicence, were also advanced. He declined to divulge any names.

SOME DEALS

Caterham, who have never scored so much as a point in five seasons, went into administration in October 2014 after being overwhelmed by debts.

The previous management, who took over from Malaysian aviation entrepreneur Tony Fernandes in July, have departed with O'Connell now the acting principal pending any sale.

He expected some deals to be completed on Friday (Nov 14), which would give administrators "the comfort we need to be 80 percent of the way there.

"If some of those things happen, we expect to be announcing we are going. If we are still a few hundred thousand pounds short, we will recalibrate up to race day to raise the rest."

F1 has had just nine teams at the last two races after Marussia, who also went into administration in October 2014, ceased trading.

The sport's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone gave Marussia and Caterham a dispensation to miss the US and Brazilian races but has said they must compete in Abu Dhabi to stay in the championship.

The Briton has spoken out against Caterham's fundraising, saying it is bad for the sport for teams to go around with 'begging bowls'.


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