Ecclestone hits out at Caterham’s crowdfunding project

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Bernie Ecclestone has hit out at Caterham’s attempt to try and make the grid for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in two weeks’ time through a crowdfunding project, telling reporters in Brazil that it is a “disaster”.

After entering administration following the Russian Grand Prix, Caterham confirmed that it would not be racing in either the United States or Brazil, but was still hoping to feature at the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi.

Yesterday, the administrators launched a crowdfunding project called “Refuel Caterham F1” in a bid to raise $3.7m in the next week and ensure that the team could race at Yas Marina.

In return for donations, fans can choose from a variety of benefits, with over 20% of the target being raised in the first 24 hours of the project launching.

However, Ecclestone has hit out at the idea, telling a number of outlets including Reuters that he thought the idea was a terrible one.

“I think it’s a disaster,” Ecclestone said. “We don’t want begging bowls. If people can’t afford to be in Formula 1, they have to find something else to do.

“If I sit in a poker game and I can’t afford to be there with the other people, I get killed and have to leave.”

Should Caterham manage to reach the grid in Abu Dhabi, it could secure the team a $40m windfall following the closure of Marussia F1 Team on Friday.

Although Marussia does rank ninth in the constructors’ championship, it will give up its position by not seeing out the season. Caterham would face a similar fate if it does not race again this year, but should it start under the lights at Yas Marina, it would automatically move up to P10 in the constructors’ championship and secure the prize money that comes with it.

You can find out more about Caterham’s crowdfunding project by clicking here.

Will Power, Roger Penske collect Indy 500 trophies

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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DETROIT (AP) Last year, Will Power finally broke through and won the Indianapolis 500, so he can cross that accomplishment off the list.

Now 37, Power is reaching an age when it’s fair to wonder how much longer he’ll keep at it.

“I’m really enjoying my racing. I’ve never been so motivated. I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, mentally on the game,” Power said. “I think once you get to this part of your career, you realize that you’re not going to be doing this forever. So you’ve got to enjoy it and you’ve got to go for it when you’ve got it, because, you know, probably only another five years at maximum, and you’re retired.”

Whenever Power’s career does wind down, his 2018 Indy 500 win will remain a moment to remember. He was in Detroit on Wednesday night with team owner Roger Penske for a ceremony in which they received their “Baby Borg” trophies for winning last year’s race. The Baby Borgs are replicas of the Borg-Warner Trophy that honors the Indy 500 winner.

Power finished second at Indy in 2015, and his victory last year made him the race’s first Australian winner. It was Penske’s 17th Indy 500 win as an owner, part of a banner year for him. Penske also won a NASCAR Cup title with driver Joey Logano.

“When you think about 2018, we had 32 race wins, 35 poles. I think we led almost 5,400 laps, with all the series,” Penske said.

On Wednesday, Penske collected another significant trophy, and he’ll be celebrated again in a couple weeks. He’s being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Feb. 1.

“It’s amazing that a guy from the north can get into the Hall of Fame in the south,” Penske joked. “No, it’s special. … NASCAR has helped us build our brand over the years, certainly, with the reputation it has, and the notoriety we get, being a NASCAR team owner.”

Penske’s most recent Indy 500 title came courtesy of Power, who long preferred road courses to ovals but certainly looked comfortable at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year.

“The 500 was one record that he didn’t have, and I think you saw the excitement he and his wife, and the whole team, when he was able to win the race,” Penske said. “He’s probably the best qualifier we’ve ever had, as a road racer, and no question his expertise. He didn’t like ovals to start with, but I think today, he loves racing on ovals.”

Power seems content with all aspects of his racing life at the moment. The aftermath of an Indy 500 victory can be a whirlwind, and it would be understandable for a driver to be weary of it eight months later, but for Power, it’s a new experience.

“I’ve been looking forward to this event for a few months now, to actually get the Baby Borg. You have the face on it – I didn’t realize that, you actually get your own face on it,” Power said. “It makes you realize the significance of the event, when you think about all the things that come with winning the 500.”

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Follow Noah Trister at http://www.Twitter.com/noahtrister