F1: Gerard Lopez says Caterham’s crowdfunfing is ‘sad’ for F1

Adapted from GMM

Friday's deadline looks set to come and go without Caterham Formula Team raising the $3.7 million it needs through crowdfunding.

The small team, in administration and fighting to keep its official entry alive by making the Abu Dhabi grid, has raised only just over $2 million within hours of its self-imposed deadline expiring.

Gerard Lopez, who as owner of Genii and Lotus is frustrated that F1's income model and high costs are threatening the survival of small teams, said it is "sad" Caterham even had to revert to the controversial use of fans' hard-earned money.

"Formula 1, which is a $1.6 billion business, and distributes over $900 million, and we're being asked if crowdfunding is a good idea to bring a team back. Seriously?" he is quoted by the Telegraph.

"Then it's even more disastrous than I think it is, in terms of ethics."

But even though Caterham may miss its crowdfunding target, the team's administrator and interim boss Finbarr O'Connell is still sounding confident.

He is quoted by the Times newspaper as saying the shortfall could be made up elsewhere.

"We are talking to a number of parties, who could make a substantial investment," said O'Connell.

In that case, he said the fan-sourced funding would only have to raise slightly more and "then we could make an executive decision to go" to Abu Dhabi.

"I still strongly believe we will be racing," said O'Connell.

Others think Caterham would be better off quietly closing its doors, as even if it does make Abu Dhabi, questions remain over its ability to produce a reasonable car for 2015.

"I have been talking to the administrator regularly," said Bernie Ecclestone.

"I wonder even if they can stay in, then what shape are they going to be in after such a layoff?" Ecclestone added.

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