Caterham F1 et le crowdfunding pour courir à Abu Dhabi

Décidemment, l’actualité se bouscule en Formule 1. En plein week-end du Grand Prix du Brésil et en pleine lutte Hamilton-Rosberg pour le titre de champion du monde, Marussia a été placée en liquidation judiciaire : ses biens vont être vendus et son personnel licencié. Sans acheteur potentiel, Marussia a donc été placé en faillite.

L’autre « petite équipe » du paddock, Caterham, est quant à elle au bord du gouffre. L’équipe qui est toujours en redressement judiciaire espère pouvoir participer au Grand Prix d’Abu Dhabi qui aura lieu les 21-22-23 novembre prochain. Nous avons parlé du crowdfunding la semaine dernière avec Brabham, et bien c’est ce procédé qu’utilise Caterham pour tenter de participer au dernier Grand Prix de la saison.


Les fans peuvent donner de l’argent directement ou acheter des produits dérivés de la marque Caterham. Le site sur lequel on peut aider Caterham évoque l’historique de l’équipe qui est présente en Formule 1 depuis 2010 et qui n’a toujours pas inscrit le moindre point. Rappelons que l’équipe est entrée en F1 sous le nom de Team Lotus et qu’après un long procès concernant le nom « Lotus » l’équipe a couru sous le nom de Caterham, avant que son propriétaire Tony Fernandes la vende a un consortium inconnu à l’été 2014, faute de résultats. Un parcours chaotique pour cette équipe abonnée au fond de grille et qui lutte aujourd’hui pour sa survie. L’historique met aussi en avant les différents pilotes passés par Caterham, comme Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen, Vitaly Petrov, Charles Pic, Giedo Van Der Garde ou encore Kamui Kobayashi.

Notons également du coté des réseaux sociaux que le hashtag #RefuelCaterhamF1 centralisera les soutiens pour ce parcours vers Abu Dhabi. Caterham espère recueillir 2.3 millions de livres (autour de 3 millions d’euros) d’ici le 14 novembre au soir, et, pour cette première journée de crowdfunding, près de 520 000 livres ont été récolté, soit 22 % du chemin parcouru.


Mais ce recours au financement participatif inquiète le monde de la F1. Il traduit bien sur une crise de la F1, comme les départs de Honda et Toyota il y a quelques années étaient déjà des signaux alarmants. Les réactions ne se sont pas faîtes attendre, à l’image de Christian Horner le team manager de Red Bull :


« Je ne suis pas d’accord sur le fait que les fans financent une équipe (…) Les fans paient pour voir un spectacle offert par les équipes, ils ne devraient pas avoir à payer pour une équipe. Le concept est mauvais et cela ne devrait pas être autorisé. En Formule 1, on ne lave pas son linge sale en public ».

Pour Bernie Ecclestone, « Peut-être que des gens vont investir leur argent dans l’équipe, mais je pense que c’est un désastre. Nous ne voulons pas de mendiants en F1 ! Si les gens ne peuvent pas se permettre d’être en Formule 1, ils n’ont qu’à trouver autre chose à faire. »

Quoi qu’il en soit, la Formule 1 connaît une crise de son modèle économique et les débats pour un championnat 2015 qui compte pour l’instant à peine 18 voitures ne font que commencer…

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