LONDON (Reuters) - The Caterham Formula One team will race in next week’s Abu Dhabi season-ender despite still falling short of a targeted 2.35 million pounds ($3.7 million) to get them there, an administrator said.
A tally on crowdfunding website www.crowdcube.com showed the team, who have missed the last two races, had raised 1.87 million, or 79 percent of the target sum, with nine hours remaining.
Administrator Finbarr O‘Connell, representing Smith & Williamson, said the team would be going anyway.
“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 said in a statement.
“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.”
The team’s cars were being packed into transport containers on Friday, with the freight due to be flown to the Yas Marina circuit at the weekend.
O‘Connell told Reuters three “seriously interested” buyers with F1 connections had emerged. He said talks with drivers, some with Formula One experience and others in need of a superlicence, were also advanced.
Caterham, who have yet to score a point in five seasons, went into administration last month 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.
He was hopeful the team could now secure their financial future and thanked fans for helping keep them on the road, even if more was needed.
“We 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,” he said.
Formula One has had just nine teams at the last two races after Marussia, who also went into administration last month, ceased trading.
The sport’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone gave Marussia and Caterham a dispensation to miss those races but has said they must compete in Abu Dhabi to stay in the championship.
The Briton has criticized Caterham’s fundraising, saying it was bad for the sport if teams went around with ‘begging bowls’.
(One dollar = 0.6381 British pound)
Editing by Ed Osmond