Caterham's Marcus Ericsson drives during the third free practice session of the Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom on October 11, 2014
Caterham's Marcus Ericsson drives during the third free practice session of the Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom on October 11, 2014 © Yuri Kadobnov - AFP
Caterham's Marcus Ericsson drives during the third free practice session of the Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom on October 11, 2014
AFP
Last updated: November 14, 2014

Caterham set for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix return

Banner Icon The struggling Caterham team are set to return to action in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the administrator of the British-based outfit said Friday.

Caterham's financial problems have seen it miss the last two races since it entered administration in October.

But administrator Finbarr O'Connell told the BBC on Friday: "It's set to go. Everything's packed and ready. We are literally waiting for a contract to be signed."

Last Friday, Caterham announced a crowd-funding project, where members of the public make cash pledges, designed to get the team on the grid at Abu Dhabi in time for the November 23 race in the United Arab Emirates.

The aim was to reach a target of £2.35million ($3.7 million, 2.9 million) by a deadline of midnight GMT this Friday. Although they are presently £500,000 short, sponsors have made up the shortfall in a bid to get Caterham to the Yas Marina circuit.

The long-time backmarkers missed both the US and Brazilian Grand Prix as they scrambled for funds that would get them on the grid in time for the November 23 climax.

O'Connell, of administrators Smith and Williamson, said the lone outstanding contract issue surrounded the identity of one of the team's drivers, following Marcus Ericsson's decision to terminate his Caterham deal with immediate effect on Wednesday.

"There's a variety of contracts but this particular one is with one of the drivers we've been talking to," O'Connell said as he refused to reveal the names of drivers that Caterham, based in Oxfordshire, southern England, had contacted.

Formula One fans initially stumped up £1 million ($1.6 in 48 hours in response to the team's #RefuelCaterhamF1 appeal.

"We set ourselves a major challenge, but it's definitely been worth it," said O'Connell. "In only a week the fans have made the impossible, possible.

"We knew the best way to keep this team alive and attract possible buyers was to show it's still a racing team and be in Abu Dhabi for the final.

"There aren't enough words to say how grateful we are to all the fans that have made this possible."

Caterham launched the crowd fundraiser on the same day that fellow strugglers Marussia ceased trading and made nearly 200 staff redundant

However, Caterham's use of crowd-funding has been criticised by some of the team's Grand Prix rivals, including Lotus owner Gerard Lopez, who argue it is absurd that a multi-billion dollar sport should seek handouts from its fans.

"Formula One, which is a $1.6billion (£1 billion) business and distributes over $900 million (£573 million), and we're being asked if crowd funding is a good idea to bring a team back," said Lopez. "Seriously?"

Meanwhile Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: "I don't agree with the fans having to fund a team.

"The fans pay to be entertained by the teams, they shouldn't be having to pay for a team. The concept of that is wrong and shouldn't be allowed.".

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