OFF BALANCE HAS ALWAYS loved heartwarming tales of battling back against the odds [probably too many Hollywood films – Ed], and so the news that stricken Formula One team Caterham could be returning to the grid in time for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 23 November certainly warmed the cockles.
But what’s more amazing is that its fans are responsible for the team’s new lease of life, after – for the first time ever – crowdfunding the project.
Thus far, more the £1m of the £2.35m required has been raised, with donations earning fans merchandise ranging from branded caps to cars’ nose cones, while a mere £45,000 could see you treated to corporate hospitality and a chance to meet drivers Kamui Kobayshi and Marcus Ericsson.
Finbarr O’Connell, joint administrator of Caterham Sports Limited (CSL) and a partner at Smith & Williamson, said: “This is the first time, to the best of my knowledge, that a restructuring process has used crowdfunding as a step forward in getting a business back on its feet. We are really excited about this which we feel is an entrepreneurial approach and optimistic of a positive outcome.”
But Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone described the scheme as “a disaster”.
“The concept is wrong and shouldn’t be allowed,” he said. “If people can’t afford to be in Formula One, they have to find something else to do.”
Anyone wishing to donate can do so here.