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Ecclestone slams Caterham’s ‘begging bowl’

Bernie Ecclestone has joined those who are heavily critical of Caterham’s plea for fans’ money to get the struggling team back on track.

In administration and missing in Austin and Brazil, the outfit has launched a crowdfunding scheme to raise the almost $4 million it says it needs to make it to this year’s Abu Dhabi finale.

It is a last roll of the dice for the beleaguered Tony Fernandes-founded outfit, with F1 chief executive Ecclestone warning on Saturday that if Caterham doesn’t race in Abu Dhabi, the team will lose its place on the 2015 grid.

“Yes, absolutely,” he told reporters at Interlagos.

“If I sit in a poker game and I can’t afford to be there with the other people, I get killed and have to leave,” the 84-year-old Briton added.

Red Bull’s Christian Horner has already slammed Caterham’s public appeal for money, even though the backmarker team has already raised a surprising $800,000 — more than 20 per cent of the funds it needs for Abu Dhabi.

But GPDA president Alex Wurz agrees with Horner.

“Since I’ve been in formula one, and that’s a few years, it has always been extremely tight with the teams at the back end,” the Austrian is quoted by German broadcaster Sky.

“Some teams spend more than they have.  They knew the economic conditions, they voluntarily signed up for F1 and they didn’t manage their money properly.

“For teams like this, I do not have so much compassion,” Wurz admitted.

Ecclestone, meanwhile, returned to his now familiar “begging bowl” theme to reject Caterham’s crowdfunding plea.

A couple of weeks ago, when bailiffs were seizing Caterham’s assets and advertising them for sale on Twitter, Ecclestone had said: “I think it’s better they go.

“I don’t want people going around with begging bowls.”

Now, as Caterham puts its hand out to its fans, he said of the crowdfunding project: “I think it’s a disaster.

“We don’t want begging bowls.  If people can’t afford to be in formula one they have to find something else to do.”

Ecclestone also had bad news for angry privateers Lotus, Force India and Sauber on Saturday, as he was asked for an update on behind the scenes talks about a so-called $160 million ‘fighting fund’.

Asked if the sport’s owner CVC is prepared to release the money, he told Britain’s Sky: “We’re not allowed to.

“The only way that that could ever happen is if the (other) teams agree to share their money.  They are getting nearly a billion, so maybe they can chip a few quid in between them,” added Ecclestone.