Caterham, Marussia ‘like Pistorius case’

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone says he is unconcerned by the struggles of teams such as Caterham and Marussia, insisting their demise would be no loss to the sport.


Comparing them to former Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius, recently sentenced to five years’ jail for the manslaughter of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, Ecclestone on Friday said both teams were only in the headlines because of their woes.

“Nobody will miss the two teams because they’re not frontrunning teams; they’ve only got a name that people would know because of the problem they’re in,” Ecclestone told Campaign Asia-Pacific magazine.

“This poor guy in South Africa (Pistorius), for instance, has got more interest because of what happened with him than when he was winning gold medals,” said Ecclestone.

“If this case hadn’t happened, he would have been forgotten, probably.

“Same with these two teams. You need teams like Ferrari. If you go anywhere and you say to somebody, ‘Ferrari’, they’ll know what you’re talking about. If you say ‘Marussia’, they won’t.”

His comments came as the struggling Caterham team announced they were set to return to action in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

With British-based outfit Caterham’s financial problems, they have missed the past two races since entering 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.

O’Connell 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 Caterham had contacted.

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 GP rivals, including Lotus owner Gerard Lopez, who argue it is absurd that a multi-billion dollar sport should seek handouts from its fans.