In Ferrari's last golden era, the Italian team was nigh-unbeatable in Formula 1. Michael Schumacher was bagging championships left, right, and center, filling the trophy cabinets at Maranello. His old F1 cars from that era are worth millions as storied pieces of motorsport history, and now another is up for sale.
As reported by CarBuzz, Michael Schumacher's F2001b is hitting the block at the upcoming Sotheby's Sealed auction in August. The car has some fascinating history despite a short-lived career on track that lasted just three races in 2002.
In the modern era of F1, teams inevitably design a fresh car for each season. However, Ferrari was a little late in doing so for 2002 and started the season with a modified version of its 2001 challenger, known as the F2001b. Schumacher would use the car for the first two races of the season, while keeping it on hand as a spare car for the third round in Brazil.
In Schumacher's hands, the F2001b qualified second in the opening round in Australia. The German driver would go on to claim victory on Sunday, however. Teammate Rubens Barichello had qualified his car on pole, only to be wiped out in a dramatic crash with Ralf Schumacher on the first lap. At the next round in Malaysia, Schumacher claimed Ferrari's 150th pole position, later finishing third after a dominant performance by the powerful BMW-Williams cars.
Schumacher's F2002 arrived for the third round in Brazil, a car that would go on to become one of the most dominant F1 cars of all time. However, the F2001b was still on hand as Schumacher's spare car. The situation caused some consternation with tire allocations, as Ferrari needed separate sets of tires for the F2001b and F2002, which had different wheel sizes. The team was able to come to an agreement that it would use no more sets than the usual allocation across both cars.
Meanwhile, Barichello still raced the F2001b in Brazil. He would get his own F2002 for the San Marino Grand Prix in round four, ending the run for the carryover design. Ultimately, the F2001b was raced for a good time, not a long time.
On the one hand, the F2001b is one of Schumacher's race cars with a victory and a decent record to its name. On the other hand, it was barely raced and is one of the less important cars of his career with Ferrari. Sotheby's is keeping its cards close to its chest, with estimates available by inquiry only. In any case, expect it to claim a price well into the millions nonetheless, even if it doesn't achieve the stratospheric heights of the $14.8 million F2003 that sold last year.
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