Abu Dhabi GP: Bernie Ecclestone helps Caterham on F1 return

Caterham garage at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Caterham have started preparations for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has handed financially-troubled team Caterham a boost as they return to the grid at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Ecclestone has waived freight costs and chartered a plane for staff attending the season-ending race.

The team, who went into administration in October, are back racing after raising £1.8m from crowd-funding.

"They wanted to go, so we've transported them at no cost to them," said Ecclestone.

More than 200 staff at Caterham's Leafield factory in Oxfordshire have been made redundant.

The team were last on the grid at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi in October, missing the following two races in the United States and Brazil.

"We've at least helped them to some degree, something we need not have done," Ecclestone added.

"We've even chartered another plane to take them.

"We've gone a little bit over the top, but anyway, we've done it."

What is crowd-funding?
Crowd-funding is a way of asking people to invest money in businesses or projects. More than nine million investments and donations were made last year.

Administrator Smith & Williamson had set Caterham a target of raising £2.35m through a public crowd-funding project to allow them to race again.

But on 14 November, it confirmed sponsors would meet the shortfall and 40 team personnel would be able to prepare the cars to race at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

Caterham's fundexternal-link has now raised more than £1.9m from more than 6,000 backers.

Smith & Williamson reset its original deadline on the project to 23 November in the hope of finding a buyer to take the team into next season and beyond.

Finbarr O'Connell, representative for the administrators, is set to meet meet a potential purchaser at the Abu Dhabi race.