For diehard Formula 1 fans, particularly from the early-2000s era where Ferrari was absolutely squashing its competition, Michael Schumacher is a heroic figure. The 2002 season witnessed Schumacher at the top of his game, finishing first or second in every race. And while Ferrari for the first couple of races of the season used an evolution of its previous F2001 car, the advancements baked into the F2002 car that arrived a bit late that year allowed Schumacher and his team to secure total dominance. Now, Schumacher’s Ferrari F2002 chassis #219 is bound for public auction at this year’s 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, bringing one of the premiere modern Grand Prix cars to the world stage.
Critical to F2002’s success was its revised gearbox, whose casing was constructed with super lightweight titanium. Not only did this advancement shave weight, but it also lowered the car’s center of gravity and had a smaller footprint that permitted further bodywork advancements for better aerodynamic efficiency.
At the helm of F2002 #219, Schumacher was victorious at Imola, Zeltweg, and Magny Cours, the last of which ensured his fifth World Driver’s Championship. And that was with six races still left on the calendar—the fastest anyone has ever clinched the title. Chassis #219 spent the rest of the 2002 season as a test car, and then it was retired and sold on to several private collections the world over.
RM is estimating $5.5M–$7.5M for chassis #219, but our valuation experts estimate that the Schumacher F2002 will fall closer to the $4M–$6M range.
The current record for a modern F1 car is $7.504M, which Sotheby’s managed at its Contemporary Art Evening Auction in New York in 2017, well past its $5.5M estimate. That car was Schumacher’s F2001—a car more successful than F2002 that he drove to nine victories, including Monaco. He drove F2001 in 20 races in 2001 and ’02, and in addition to the wins, he was on pole 13 times with it, clinching his fourth drivers’ championship with his win at Hungary. Not to mention that the room in New York that night was packed with major wealth—six paintings sold for more than $10M, including one by Francis Bacon that went for $38.6M.
With all that said, Abu Dhabi on Formula 1 race weekend is for sure going to be teeming with fat checkbooks, and with the energy of the event in the atmosphere, we could see some big sales. Compared to most modern F1 cars, which are a hassle to run (most become static displays), Ferrari offers the Corse Cliente program, where it will keep the car running for owners and prep it for certain track days, allowing you to actually drive the thing as intended. (Albeit a lot more slowly than Schumacher did.)
F2002 #219 is the headliner for what will be the first major collector car auction in the Middle East, where we’ll also be paying close attention to the sale of a low-mileage 1990 Ferrari F40 signed by Sebastian Vettel.