Caterham F1 Team announces it will race in Abu Dhabi

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Despite entering administration last month and missing the last two races, Caterham F1 Team has today announced that it will be racing at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Following a dispute between former owner Tony Fernandes and potential buyers Engavest, the team fell into the hands of administrator Finbarr O’Connell last month. O’Connell was tasked with finding fresh investment that would save the operation at Leafield.

In a bid to raise funds, Caterham launched a controversial crowdfunding campaign with a target of $3.7m from fan donations. With a few hours remaining, the team is 20% short of its target.

However, in a statement today, O’Connell has said that the team will be racing at the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi, and was quick to thank fans for all of their support.

“We set ourselves a major challenge, but it’s definitely been worth it,” O’Connell said. “In only a week the fans have made the impossible, possible. We knew that the best way to keep this team alive and attract possible buyers was to show that it’s still a racing team and be in Abu Dhabi for the finale, and there aren’t enough words to say how grateful we are to all the fans that have made this possible.

“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. 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.

“It has hard-working people, team spirit and experience and now it only needs a secure financial future which I’m very hopeful we can achieve. Once again, I’d like to reiterate that 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.

“We still need to raise a bit more cash so please do keep an eye on the Crowdcube website. Let’s go racing!”

Caterham is now in line for a $40m windfall by moving above Marussia in the constructors’ championship by virtue of the Anglo-Russian team’s closure ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Questions about the team’s potential driver line-up for the race do remain, though. Regular driver Marcus Ericsson cut all ties with the Leafield operation earlier this week ahead of his move to Sauber for 2015, and given the financial nature of this attempt to make the grid, it would most probably be a case of the seat going to the highest bidder. Kamui Kobayashi does remain contracted to the team, though.

After appearing to have no kind of future just one week ago, Caterham now looks set to make a sensational return to Formula 1 in Abu Dhabi next weekend.

UPDATE 11:15a ET – Caterham has also extended the deadline for making donations to its crowdfunding project.

“The Caterham F1 Team is delighted to announce that it will be racing at the final Formula 1 Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi on 23rd November thanks to the support of the fans, who have helped the team raise enough money,” a statement on the crowdfunding page reads. “But you can still support the team and get involved. The deadline has been extended to midnight (GMT) Sunday 23rd November.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.