A crowdfunding project aimed at helping the Caterham F1 team get back into racing has surpassed £1 million, giving the financially stricken team a new hope.
Following the anger when the team was forced to pull out of recent races due to a lack of funds, the project quickly gained support and raised £1.18 million from 3,170 backers by Tuesday morning.
The huge interest in helping the F1 team has also prompted a “new financially-interested party” to consider buying the team, said administrator Finbarr O'Connel.
British-based Caterham haven’t scored a point since their debut in 2010 and went into administration in October. They have already missed out on the last two races, last weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix and the previous race in Texas.
Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project by raising financial contributions from a large number of people over the internet. The F1 team is offering rewards to anyone participating in the crowdfunding operation, such as badges, earplugs, caps, sling bags, certificates, a dinner with one of the F1 drivers and even an imprint of your name on the race car.
Despite the project sparking great interest among the general public, there are people who disagree with this way of collecting funds. One of those people is CEO of Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone.
"I think it’s a disaster," Ecclestone told reporters. "We don’t want begging bowls. If people can’t afford to be in Formula One, they have to find something else to do."
O'Connell said this project has been misunderstood, and that the goal is not to run the team through crowdfunding: "The plan is not to run a F1 team by using crowdfunding, but rather this funding is providing a stepping stone for the team to a new financially sound future," he said.
"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."