Caterham to return in Abu Dhabi

2014 F1 season

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Caterham will return to F1 in next week’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, administrators representing the team have confirmed.

Finbarr O’Connell of Smith and Williamson, joint administrator of Caterham Sports Limited, said their crowdfunding operation had been successful: “We set ourselves a major challenge, but it’s definitely been worth it.”

“In only a week the fans have made the impossible, possible. 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,” he added. “During the past few days the interest of many potential buyers has increased massively and by racing in Abu Dhabi the team will be showcasing itself as a live and functioning team that deserves to continue into 2015 and beyond.”

“It has hard-working people, team spirit and experience and now it only needs a secure financial future which I’m very hopeful we can achieve.”

The team has not confirmed who will be driving their cars. Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson were their regular drivers during the season, but Ericsson announced he had split from Caterham earlier this week.

Caterham’s crowdfund remains almost £500,000 short of its target of £2.35 million however O’Connell stressed the team “are racing in Abu Dhabi thanks to all the fans out there – an achievement that will go down in F1 history and one that we can all be very proud of”.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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72 comments on “Caterham to return in Abu Dhabi”

  1. That’s good but what will happen after Abu Dhabi? Wonder who’s going to race?

    1. looks like Palmer is one of the people interested in taking over the team. If so, probably 500k of the money they collect is going to the FIA for entry fees for next year.

  2. I really hope this is to be a stepping stone to them returning next season, rather than just a way to receive more money and pay off their debts.

    I’d also like to see them survive to prove people wrong. A lot of people complained and moaned about the crowd-funding, but I would love to see it pay off, get them to Abu Dhabi, and back onto the grid next year, to prove the majority wrong.

    Sadly, I’m not at all confident.

    1. It would feel like a crime to ask fans to come up with the money, only to collect the prize money that should have been Marussia’s and to go bankrupt the next day. But then that extra money should go to the employees that will lose their jobs, than I would sympathise.

      1. @matthijs – I agree. I do however fear that the administrators have been playing us all along. I believe they ALWAYS intended to race in Abu Dhabi once Marussia collapsed, to be able to claim the prize money for finishing 10th and use it to pay off more debts. They set up the crowd funding however so they wouldn’t have to put as much money in to get the team to the race.

        1. @bradley13 It’s still not clear who gets the money in any case, and Joe Saward thinks that if entry fees are lodged, Marussia/Caterham can even miss the first 3 races of next year (Aus, Mal, Chi), and start in Bahrain, with one getting the prize money.

    2. I saw a lot of people complaining about the crowdfunding.. but honestly I’m not at all offended by it.. fundraising is a massive part of F1 and if they decide they want to do it in a non-traditional fashion – good on them.

      Besides, some of the rewards would be a great addition to any race fan’s office.

  3. Merhi? Powell? Frijns? Sainz? …Lotterer?

    1. Powell – if she can get a superlicence. From seeing how a palmer experience is in the stuff you can get, I’d say Palmer is likely to be one driver.

      Frijns has no money to boot, unlikely. Not sure how much Chilton has left, Lotterer would be crazy to go for that.

      1. @bascb Powell posted on Facebook that it is very unlikely due to not being able to get a superlicense.

        1. Yeah, I’d rather think Chilton might turn up if he has cash left. Or someone like that. I just hope JV does not suddenly turn up with this team @craig-o

        2. @craig-o @bascb Considering that Will Stevens didn’t drive in FP1 for Marussia because his superlicence papers got held up in a German DHL strike (have the FIA not heard of fax? scanning? printing?), Powell sadly has little chance past FP1..

          Are Caterham still restricted by the barmy FIA “4 drivers per year” rule? I would love to see Sainz vs. Merhi, a debut for both. Or Frijns indeed.. just someone that wouldn’t get a race otherwise. But I fear we are stuck with Kamui vs. ??? @countrygent @rjoconnell @george

          1. Looks like Kobayashi and Palmer, according to TheJudge13.. but car parts are over mileage, and replacements couldn’t be made, so we may see less running or failures during the race.

          2. Although knowing the FIA, they’ll lose Palmer’s superlicence application, scupper the team buyout and make everyone redundant..

    2. @rjconnel Gutierrez and Merhi would be my bet since Lotus has allegedly said a polite “thanks, but no thanks” to Esteban’s services after Total confirmed the continuation of Grosjean’s sponsorship, and Merhi is sure to find more of the same Mercedes euros that put him in the car for FP1 at Monza and Suzuka. Elsewhere Frijns has quietly been told to go home, Lotterer has no interest in more F1 appearances, Powell simply won’t be able to get a license and Kobayashi has no money. A subsidised appearance for Sainz though could be on the cards, since an evaluatorary weekend could help Marko solve the Sainz-Vergne conundrum. As for me, if we can see either Sainz, Merhi or even Frijns, I will be happy.

    3. Does it matter? They don’t even have Marussia to compete against now and it’s unlikely the team will be functioning at 100%, hell they might not even qualify.

  4. Is the Barrichello thing still on? I wonder who they’ll have in the cars. If I remember correctly they don’t have enough swaps left over to introduce two new drivers… right? Any news from Kobayashi?

    1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      14th November 2014, 14:43

      Wait, what? Barrichello thing?

      1. It was revealed that Rubinho would have raced in Brazil if Caterham had made it to the grid.

        1. I wonder if that was just a home race only offer for rubinho to bring a lot of national sponsorship just for the domestic brazilian market?

          1. Yes, probably. Rubinho has been haunted by the fact that he wasn’t given a proper chance to say goodbye in 2011, as he was dumped for non-performance reasons over the winter (a.k.a. Bruno Senna’s monies). His home crowd would certainly have loved to see him race one last time before saying goodbye of his own free will.

  5. I think it’s a bloody fantastic achievement and shows that fans care. I worry for their future and would much rather it was Marussia, but good on them anyway.

      1. it is not fan-funding, but crowd-funding, so whoever donated, who cares – it means there are people wanting them to race, many fans, even diehard fans would not spare a cent which is a shame.

      2. @artanonim Thanks for sharing that link! Something seemed weird to me when I saw that they had at least £1.8m, especially because no F1 fans I know even thought for a second to donate to them.

        1. I’m awaiting my £75 wheel nut.

          And also a divorce when my wife finds out…..

  6. Is it actually official now? The last thing I read was just that they’re pretty confident that they’ll make it, but not that they actually will or that it’s guaranteed. Here’s the quote per Autosport.

    “I am 90 per cent confident that we are going,” O’Connell said. “If some of those things happen, we expect to be announcing we are going.”

    1. @repete86 I’m guessing you just went straight to the comments section without actually reading the article above it.

      1. No, I read the article, but I’m looking for a different source than someone who was in the middle of one of the clumsiest bankruptcies ever in which all sides had a different story and were probably all lying to some extent. Personally, I’m not going to believe it until FOM says it’s true or I see a green car on track next Friday, because I don’t see any reason to believe anything coming from the team or its administrators.

  7. Will it be Barichello and Powell? Now that would be an interesting line-up for sure…

    1. @mashiat That would be like Father and Daughter go for a Sunday F1 drive!

    2. @mashiat sadly Caterham only have 1 more race driver they can use before they reach the limit of four per team per season.

      I have always thought it should be upped to 6 per team per season.

      1. Why is this sad? Would love to see either Kobayashi or Lotterer in the car at Abu Dhabi :)

      2. It wouldn’t be an issue because any of the rules can be changed with the unanimous agreement of all the teams… and its hard to see how any of them would oppose Caterham racing with a 5th driver.

  8. Well that’s great.

    What we need now is for Mercedes to offer to do a deal on engine development in exchange for a bit more sharing of ‘prize’ money, so that someone might buy Caterham.

  9. Finnbarr O’Connell?! Surely that’s a made up name! Sounds like a Family Guy character…

  10. petebaldwin (@)
    14th November 2014, 14:43

    So this money is going towards them making an ultimately meaningless race for them in Abu Dhabi instead of paying off the people they owe, many of whom will be really struggling because of this.

    1. @petebaldwin I can only guess the administrators think they can get more for the creditors if they at least preserve the F1 entry and are there to be seen going round and round.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        14th November 2014, 15:24

        @lockup – if that’s the thinking, fair enough but I cant see what good one race will do to help…

        1. @petebaldwin,@lockup, seems to me they are saying reminding potential buyers this is a team with a working car, entry will help them convince this isn’t just a money drain. I wish them luck, would suck to see Abu Dhabi, then gone – tough if some of the extra money goes to a Christmass for the employees, well, could be worse.

  11. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
    14th November 2014, 14:44

    My little romantic part-of-brain hopes that in some freak way, they get into the points.

  12. I may be wrong, but normally, in order to get the money, don’t you have to hit your target? As of this post, they’re nearly half a million from that target, with 9 hours to go. Surely, if they miss the target, they get nothing?

    1. yeah, but if you arrange someone to pay that 500k to drive and put it up through the platform …

      1. Strange to announce it before the £500k is actually pledged though. To be honest, the people that have pledged already might be interested in knowing where their money is really going, what if someone has now paid £1m for a drive, do they all get £500k back? I guess not

    2. Since the administrators have an interest in the crowd sourcing company, I bet there’s some jiggerypokery going on behind the scenes that will fix that.

    3. They have since put in an extra 9 days to make the target @raceprouk, so I guess that will be reached by then (re. @danbrown180)

  13. How many people that are in the periphearial rings that revolve around F1 have some serious money? Quite a few I would guess yes? From the stars, to the hanger ons, wealthy business men, Russian gangsters, Oil Sheiks, etc.

    None of these people thought it was worthy for any reason to dip into their coffers to get Caterham into the last race. I mean, they could have done it just to have had their own name plastered on the side of the car. And not a single one did. Because it was ridiculous and not worth it. So Caterham sapped funds from the fans, the people that actually work for a living, and for what?

  14. Say what you want about their methodology. But I’ll be delighted to see them back! The more, the merrier, if it can be sustained!

    My only concern, as with many is… What happens on November 24th and afterwards?

  15. Its got to be Kobayashi and Chilton surely?

    They won’t have much time in the simulator to learn the car & track – especially in light of the hybrid power trains. This means it needs to be someone who has a super license, has knowledge of the track and knows how to use a modern powertrain. Chilton is the only unemployed driver with this knowledge!

  16. I’m obviously alone in this but this campaign really appalled me.
    Multimillionaires who own the team and assets do not want to fund the team themselves and would rather ask for handouts from the general public whilst they squabble over Twitter.
    Also, as it’s not Kickstarter (It would be against their ToS anyway) there is no recourse for your money if they don’t meet the goal, add to the fact that they specify that the people pledging are ‘investors’ on that UK based site which opens up a whole load of issues about donations vs investments and I just hate the whole thing from top to bottom.
    Only good point, the staff hopefully get paid and stay in work for awhile at least.

  17. Well, hopefully it’ll mean that the companies who have been left unpaid by this group of cowboys will finally get the money they’re owed.

    Sorry I know that sounds a bit harsh, but when large numbers of very specialist companies are left unpaid for products and services they’ve provided, it puts them in a very difficult position which can affect their long-term stability.

  18. It is an interesting feat, I will grant it that, but I just don’t get it.

  19. I will believe it when I see it. But I never thought there’d even be a possibility of them competing in another race after Russia. I hope it isn’t just delaying the inevitable.

    I just hope whoever drives for them doesn’t spoil the title fight, as Ericsson has left and I assume they won’t be giving Kobayashi a call?

    1. @deej92 with Ericsson gone, Kobayashi will have to race, unless Lotterer returns, because teams are only allowed four race drivers per season (too little in my opinion), and having two new ones here will take them to five drivers.

      1. @strontium You are quite right. I forgot about that rule.

  20. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    14th November 2014, 15:09

    So what about the prize money. Given Marussia is not here anymore, who gets 9th and 10th if Sauber and Catherham don’t get any points? And is Abu Dumbi just double points or double the place as well. I mean, if Catherham reaches 11th, does it count as two 11th positions in the year? Because that could hit Sauber a lot.

    1. The rules only state that: “At the final Event of the Championship points for both titles will be doubled.”
      -> a place is a place.

  21. I think this is just embarrassing. Before the season Caterham was looking for pay drivers and in the meantime Kobayashi was raising money and “earned” himself the seat. Then during the season Caterham runs out of money and Kobayashi loses his seat. Now Caterham have been “begging” and Ericsson has moved his funding elsewhere and now latest is that the crowd gave Caterham the money and there they turn up again in just over a week. Ericsson left and I guess it is now a matter who pays them the most will get the seat. Maybe Kobayashi needs to raise some more money now ? Double the trouble double the points. This is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport but this season I have not really felt it. However I must add that I would like to see healthy Caterham on the grid next season but that just does not look very likely. Well they could be scrapping there next year what there is left to scrap. That´s why I said I would like to see them healthy and more competitive.

  22. Well, it’s a chance for any half-decent racer with large bags of cash (emphasis on the latter point) to get an F1 drive.

    I really hope Caterham can pull through, but their future looks bleak.

    1. Nowhere do they state that it is required to be any kind of decent, be it as a driver, businessman, or person, to snatch the drive. We might end up with a horrible moneybag in the grid. Or maybe the whole thing implodes before they hit the track. I wouldn’t be too surprised if that happens. The more you read about it, the fishier it gets.

  23. all I can say is WOW! it actually worked! I thought they were gone for good. I hope they make a statement in the race, it could be their last still – some political statement towards Eccelstone and the FIA, and lets see a Female race… it will bring interest to the sport from many new angles.

  24. Who do I want to see in the cars?

    My heart says Will Power and Robin Frijns, but that won’t happen.

    It will probably be Kamui Kobayashi and Roberto Merhi.

  25. maybe pedro diniz will be back for another crack at f1 with caterham?

  26. I wonder if Alexander Rossi might get the call. If Marussia didn’t collapse he probably would have raced in Austin and he was with Caterham just a few months ago…

  27. Hopefully the sponsors will be adjusted to F1’s main market. Maybe some hearing aid companies, nursing homes..

  28. Headline should read “Caterham to return in Abu Dhabi Thanks to Crowd Funding”. Not right at all!

  29. I think there will be a big “For Sale” sign on the car

  30. I hope we see Rubens again there!

  31. I read somewhere that they’d called to see if Lotterer was available but he hadn’t confirmed yet.

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