SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Caterham Formula One team, which is in administration and fighting for survival, said on Sunday it had raised more than a million pounds ($1.59 million) in the space of 48 hours and attracted a new potential buyer.
“A new financially-sound interested party has entered the arena and is considering acquiring the team,” said administrator and interim principal Finbarr O’Connell in a statement ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
“This new interest is wholly due to this campaign.”
Indebted Caterham, a tail-end team who have never scored a point since their debut in 2010, went into administration last month and missed last weekend’s U.S. Grand Prix and this weekend’s race in Brazil.
They are seeking 2.35 million pounds through a crowd funding initiative to get them back on the grid for the season-ender in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 23.
The website (www.crowdcube.com/caterham/) showed a total of 1,060,599 pounds had been pledged by 1000 ET on Sunday.
The campaign has drawn scorn from some in Formula One, a sport with annual revenues of around $1.7 billion, with commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone saying on Saturday it was a ‘disaster’ and teams should not go around with ‘begging bowls’.
O’Connell said they had misunderstood what it was about.
“There has been some confusion with regard to the purpose of the crowdfunding Project,” he said.
“Clearly, the plan is not to run an F1 team by using crowdfunding but rather this funding is providing a stepping stone for the Team to a new financially sound future.
“If teams don’t race they are at a huge disadvantage as regards a potential purchaser making a very expensive purchase decision and this project gives the team the ability to showcase itself and especially its cars.”
O’Connell also pointed out that 200 jobs were at stake at the Leafield factory in British Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency, with staff working without pay for the past six weeks.
“Without them there would be no team and they deserve everybody’s support,” he said. “This team deserves a future and I know that there are plenty of fans and companies out there that agree with us.”
(1 US dollar = 0.6300 British pound)
Editing by Ed Osmond