Like Michelangelo with a paint brush, Michael Schumacher was a singular force behind the wheel of a Formula 1 race car. It makes perfect sense, then, that the Ferrari F2001 Schumacher drove to a masterful victory in the 2001 Monaco Grand Prix will be offered at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on Nov. 16 in New York.
The F2001, which RM Sotheby’s President Ken Ahn calls “one of the most important and valuable modern Formula 1 race cars in history,” is on display in Hong Kong through Oct. 3, until it is shipped to the U.S., where RM Sotheby’s expects it to sell for more than $4 million.
Andrew Newton, Hagerty’s auction editor, says the car “won’t come anywhere near the $26.34 million that the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R received at Bonham’s Goodwood sale in 2013.” He does believe the presale estimate is realistic, however.
“We’ve never seen a Formula 1 car of this caliber offered in such a high-profile setting,” Newton says, pointing out that Barrett-Jackson sold a Schumacher-driven 1998 Ferrari F300 for almost $2 million in 2014.
Schumacher, who raced from 1991–2006 and 2010–12, won a record seven Drivers Championships during his career. The German driver scored the second of an unprecedented five consecutive titles in 2001, and his victory in Monaco that year was his final win at the storied venue. Schumacher’s dominating, 58-point victory in the 2001 drivers’ standings led Scuderia Ferrari to the 11th of its 15 Formula 1 Constructors Championships. That’s dominance on a monumental scale.
The Ferrari F2001 (chassis No. 21) is powered by a 3.0-liter, 800-horsepower V-10 engine mated to a seven-speed semi-automatic transmission. It is the first collector car offered at the Contemporary Art Evening Auction since Sotheby’s and RM Auctions joined forces in February 2015.
“Ferrari and Schumacher are the greatest names in motor racing, with a place in the public imagination that is synonymous with the highest achievements in the field,” says Grégoire Billault, head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art, New York. “It is therefore entirely fitting that we offer the car that represents the pinnacle of that success alongside the great names in Contemporary Art such as Warhol, Basquiat, and Johns.”
Newton says the combination of Ferrari, Schumacher, and Monaco is important. “This car played a significant role in a period of Ferrari/Schumacher success. It was an extended period of total dominance that you rarely see in motorsports. And the fact that it won Formula 1’s most famous race makes it even more special.”
Pawel Litwinski courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
The F2001 is attractive to prospective buyers for more than just its history. “You can actually use modern Ferrari F1 cars,” Newton says. “With all their software, technology, and expensive parts and materials, many F1 cars wind up as garage decorations. But Ferrari has the Corse Clienti program, which allows owners to drive their cars at certain on-track events. Ferrari will even keep it at Maranello for you.”
Good thing, too. That V-10 would cause quite the ruckus inside the Sistine Chapel.