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Ecclestone: Caterham crowd funding a disaster

NEWS STORY
08/11/2014

Bernie Ecclestone has branded Caterham's crowd funding project a "disaster"

Just hours after administrators revealed that Marussia had ceased trading after failing to meet its financial deadline, rivals Caterham launched a crowd funding project aimed at getting the Leafield based outfit on to the grid in Abu Dhabi. Should the bid fail, as is the case with Marussia, in missing three races the team would lose its place in the standings and thereby forfeit any prize monies due.

Consequently, the administrators for Caterham have announced details of a crowd funding project aimed at raising the necessary £2.35m to contest the season finale in two weeks.

Despite raising £514k (at the time of writing), 21% of the total amount needed, F1 supremo Ecclestone is not impressed, far from it.

"I think it's a disaster," he told reporters at Interlagos. "We don't want begging bowls. If people can't afford to be in Formula One, 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," he continued, adding that he will not 'top up' the required amount should the project miss its target.

"The trouble is they haven't really understood," he said. "People want to win, all the teams here want to win. Some teams have got more money and they spend it. When I had a race team (Brabham) a few years ago - in fact a few hundred years ago - I used to run the team according to how much money we could spend and we won the world championship. That's what they don't do. They don't seem to understand that somebody is going to be last."

While CVC is understood to have stepped in last week in Austin following threats of a boycott by three teams (Lotus, Force India and Sauber), Ecclestone has downplayed talk of a £100m rescue package. CVC isn't allowed to come up with any further money and therefore it would need to come out of the prize pot, something the other teams will never agree to.

Indeed, citing the fact that between them the teams receive "almost a billion a year", Ecclestone has little sympathy.

"They have a contract until 2020. They know exactly what the terms are. So they have to run their business according to their income. If they spend more than they get, it's not a good way to run a business," he added.

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1. Posted by The stogie, 13/11/2014 23:13

"Bernie is out of touch with reality. He doesn't appear to drop his substantial piece of the F1 revenue to help those teams. Yet when they use some initiative to raise money to be able to race he complains about them being beggars asking for handouts. Sadly Bernie's promises to reduce the cost of racing have not happened."

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2. Posted by Darvi, 12/11/2014 17:00

"Bernie, Bernie Bernie.... how will you make any money from a formula consisting of 10 works cars and a bunch of second tier cars? Don't you understand that people are already turning their backs on a sport which is increasingly distancing itself from its fans. It's time for you to hand over to someone who can put a strategy together to rejuvenate Formula 1 and go home and defend your court cases."

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3. Posted by GrahamG, 09/11/2014 11:46

"The root of all of this is the stupid model we have been saddled with. Stupidly expensive, complex engines, restrictive rules on everything which means teams spend millions trying to circumvent them, idiotic tyre rules which must increase costs and travel to places no-one wants to be or is wanted.
As someone pointed out, GP2 is only a couple of seconds a lap slower for a fraction of the cost and must therefore be better value - why not let the minnows run a GP2 car in F1 for that matter!
F1 will collapse sooner rather than later because it doesn't make any kind of commercial sense"

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4. Posted by scf1fan, 08/11/2014 22:35

"Why should Bernie (or anyone else!) care where a team gets the money to race? (Short of anything purely illegal.) I realize that "begging bowls" might be a little passť in some circles . . . but crowd funding is still more honorable that some other methods. (Such as <cough> bribery <cough> !! :-)"

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5. Posted by VC10-1103, 08/11/2014 20:15

"Further to my earlier post, in Bernie's time you didn't need a cast of 200 backroom boys to analyse data, setting up a car was done on experience. If you haven't seen get a copy of the documentary 'If You're Not Winning, You're Not Trying'. It about the JPS 1974 season. In it you see Ronnie Peterson come into the pits during practise (not qualifying in those days) and complaining of oversteer and Colin Chapman has quick think and tells the mechanics to adjust the corner weight - none of this poring over computer data. "

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6. Posted by VC10-1103, 08/11/2014 15:29

"Bernie has a cheek to compare today with what things were like when he ran Brabham. When he took over Brabham all he had to do was design and build a chassis. The engines were off the shelf from Cosworth (I know later it was Alfa & BMW) and F1 was affordable for everyone. We had Connew, Ensign, Token, Amon, Politoys, Iso-Marlboro etc, they all used the same off the shelf engine. Admittedly the likes of Lotus, Tyrrell, McLaren & Brabham engines may have been a tweaked a bit more than the other teams, but they did at least have an outside chance. In 73(?) when Williams was the Caterham of its day they finished second in the German GP. Is that sort of result possible today?"

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7. Posted by Hondawho?, 08/11/2014 15:21

"In many ways Mr E is right concerning begging bowels, however none of us know the full facts. If the teams receive over a £billion then we do not know how much Mr Fernandez may have raped the team.
The crowd funding opportunity will show the support fans are prepared to give. I have given and if it does not reach the target I would rather the money goes to assist the guys and gals who as always just before Xmas find themselves with no job! However I would be very cross if any of it was taken by the administrators to pay their fee.
There is nothing wrong with crowd funding, it's modern and quite honestly I would
Love to see 60.000 people worldwide come up with £1000 -£2000 each and then have a share of the team for 2015!!! I am in!!!!"

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8. Posted by Burton, 08/11/2014 15:14

"and maybe they would have been able to run the team on a budget if, under a severe economic crisis, they wouldn't have had to shell out for inane stuff like entry fees and a new engine formula?!

not defending the crowd funding, though. It makes sense for a musician, who can interact directly with fans, and give them back something palpable. Here, no idea what they even propose to give back."

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