The administrators at Caterham F1 Team have launched an ambitious crowdfunding project to try and get the team on the grid for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Last month, it was confirmed that Caterham had entered administration following a dispute between its former owner, Tony Fernandes, and a group called Engavest that had supposedly bought the team.
Workers at the Leafield base were locked out of the factory and told not to return until funding had been secured for the team so it could either race in Abu Dhabi or make the grid for the beginning of the 2015 season.
Today, in a bid to make the final race of the year, the team has launched a crowdfunding project called #RefuelCaterhamF1, asking for donations from fans to raise enough money to reach the grid in Abu Dhabi at the end of the season.
The team has set a target of raising £2.35m – $3.7m – in the next seven days to be able to race in the final round of the 2014 season at Yas Marina, offering a number of perks to fans who do wish to donate.
“The Caterham F1 Team is launching the #RefuelCaterhamF1 to power the team to go racing in Abu Dhabi and hopefully beyond,” the crowdfunding page reads.
“The team is giving both fans and sponsors a unique opportunity to be the driving force behind the team by crowdfunding its return to the grid in exchange for once in a lifetime rewards.”
“We are working non-stop to get the Caterham F1 Team back racing, initially in Abu Dhabi, but hopefully that will be just a stepping stone to get it back racing on a permanent basis, under new ownership,” administrator Finbarr O’Connell said in a statement.
“In order to achieve that one of our most useful, innovative and effective options right now is crowdfunding. We want to get as many sponsors and fans as possible involved this week and make our comeback something we can all be part of.
“This team deserves a future and I’m sure that there are plenty of fans and companies out there that agree with us, so I can’t think of a better way to get us all together and show our support to the team than this one, the Caterham F1 Team #RefuelCaterhamF1 project.”
This last-ditch attempt by Caterham comes on the same day that Marussia F1 Team formally ceased trading and closed its doors for good, proving just how difficult life at the back of the F1 field has become.