It came as a bit of a surprise to some when Caterham announced it wouldn’t be attending the US Grand Prix or the Brazilian Grand Prix and perhaps it was compounded when Marussia followed suit.
What was even more of a surprise was the controversial crowdfunding campaign that Caterham launched in order to help it attend the final race of the 2014 season in Abu Dhabi. Many fans were scratching their head over the mere face that a Formula 1 team was now crowdfunding for survival using a system—while hip, new and described as cool—for things like music albums, startup businesses and technology companies as a way to merely keep its doors open.
It’s now been revealed by the Independent’s Christian Sylt that the team pocketed £75,000 ($117,000) profit from the entire crowdfunding event. To refresh your memory the team set a target goal of roughly £2.4m and through the generosity of others, it reached that goal.
The article says that recently released documents show a value for the product provided to contributors who donates—such as memorabilia, T-Shirts and team components—at £160,316 ($250,092). In short, they made a lot of money off of the crowdfunding program. The target was high and it did create some secondary explanations from the team about where that money would be spent—if only vaguely.
The team also received a whopping £515,298 from its driver, Kamui Kobayashi and Will Stevens, for the favor of driving the cars in Abu Dhabi. Despite the large influx of cash, the documents say, “It is estimated that the final trading surplus figure will be in the region of £75,000.”
Caterham’s fuel costs in Abu Dhabi were £80,000 ($124,800). Add to that the travel and accommodation costs for £31,142 ($48,581) and a mind-numbing £28,577 ($44,580) for catering. There were 49 team members who totaled £98,000 salary or £2,000 ($3,100) each that is the lowest paid on the grid.
If you gave to the Caterham Crowdfunding event, how does that make you feel? Do you believe it to be a successful endeavor for the team? Administrators say they are in conversations with potential buyers but perhaps the biggest measure of success will be if the team can find a buyer, emerge from bankruptcy and grid up in 2015. The fact is, according to the article, the team owes £16.4m, including £177,600 to former employees, so clearly the entire Crowdfunding event was never going to get them healthy so much as get them to a race in order to have a meeting with a potential buyer.
Hat Tip: Independent