A classic Ferrari Formula 1 car driven to victory by the legendary Michael Schumacher is set to fetch millions at an exclusive RM Sotheby’s auction in Monterey, US, on 16-19 August.
The car in question – namely the F2001b, chassis number 215 – is unique, which can be said for many of Schumacher’s F1 machines given his more than exemplary career.
Schumacher contested the first two races of the 2002 season in the F2001b, as the Scuderia delayed the arrival of the F2002.
The seven-time F1 champion drove the F2001b to victory in the ’02 season-opener in Australia, which is remembered for a multi-car opening lap pile-up involving Schumacher’s brother Ralf in a skyward Williams.
Following victory in Australia, Schumacher put the F2001b on pole in Malaysia, but victory was put out of reach following a coming together with the enigmatic Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya.
Schumacher’s Ferrari pitted for a new front wing, and the German put on a sterling drive from 21st to third, to ensure the F2001b is one of few F1 cars to never finish outside the podium places.
Following the 2002 Malaysian Grand Prix, the F2001b was retired from racing action and Schumacher went on to equal the late, great Juan Manuel Fangio on five drivers’ titles, by securing the championship as early as July 21 that year at the French GP at Magny-Cours, ending the season with 11 GP victories.
It was a period of dominance for Schumacher and Ferrari, with the fearsome partnership going on to win two further titles in 2003 and ’04.
The F2001b is a part of that dominant period of the early 2000s and represents a slice of history often remembered fondly by F1 fans.
Sporting a screaming three-litre V10 engine, putting out over 900 horsepower and capable of revving upwards of 18,500 RPM, in a chassis weighing approximately 600KG, the F2001b is a loud and agile machine a far cry from the modern F1 cars of today, with their comparatively muted Hybrid powertrains and heavy chassis.
So how much will this slice of F1 history cost?
At last year’s Monterey auction, an F2003-GA sold for £11.7m, a record for an F1 car.
Prior to that, the record stood at £5.9m, when another Schumacher Ferrari, the F2001, went up for sale in 2017.
Expect the F2001b to fetch a similarly mouth-watering price tag when it goes up for sale in Sotheby’s sealed auction, with bidding opening on 16 August.