In a rare offering, Schumacher’s 2002 Australian Grand Prix-winning Ferrari F2001b will be available to purchase with Sotheby’s Sealed.
Chassis 215 is one of very few F1 chassis to have never finished outside the podium positions during its competition career, presenting a remarkable opportunity to acquire an outstanding machine of the modern era.
Car of Michael Schumacher, Ferrari F2001b Chassis No. 215. Photo by: Jeremy Cliff
One of the most recent Schumacher Ferrari F1 cars to be sold, an F2003-GA, fetched $14.9 million at a Sotheby’s auction last year – doubling the previous record for an F1 car, when an F2001 of his achieved $7.5 million in 2017.
Schumacher used the F2001B for the first two grands prix of the 2002 season and said: “We would like to use the new car as soon as possible, but only if it is better than this one and reliable.”
Schumacher drove this car for the opening flyaways of the 2002 season and won the Australian GP, an event that is memorable for the first-corner accident in which his brother Ralf’s Williams-BMW flew into the air over the back of Michael’s team-mate Rubens Barrichello.
In an incident-packed race, Schumacher slipped to fourth place, but took third from Williams’s Juan Pablo Montoya when the Colombian slid wide after a safety car restart and inherited second when Jarno Trulli’s Renault spun out.
Leader David Coulthard (McLaren) then went off ahead of the second restart, with Montoya jumping back ahead of Schumacher to lead. Schumacher repassed Montoya with a great move around the outside of Turn 2 shortly after. From there he pulled away to win by 18.6 seconds from Montoya.
This was the first of 11 races that Schumacher would win on his way to his fifth Formula 1 World Championship that year.
“I did not think we could win here,” said Schumacher after the race. “But things change quickly and from the next race I expect it to be much closer.”
Ferrari team principal Jean Todt recalls this fantastic era of F1 domination, and in particular his fondness for working with Schumacher in this video:
Michael then drove this car to a third-placed finish from pole position at Sepang in Malaysia, following a controversial clash with Montoya that broke its front wing. After making a pitstop at the end of lap one, Schumacher produced an epic comeback drive from 21st place back to the podium positions, passing BAR-Honda’s Jenson Button to finish third towards the end.
“That was an exciting race,” said Schumacher. “As far as the accident was concerned, maybe Juan could have given me more room, but he chose not to and we just touched. That’s racing. It was only a little touch, but I had to pit to change the front wing.
“I decided to push right to the end and if I had not, probably I would not have caught Button, who obviously had a problem. We have brought the old car to the first two races and did not really expect to have so many points in our account.”
The F2001b comes equipped with a 3.0-liter, Gilles Simon-designed Tipo 050 V10 engine – capable of producing almost 900 horsepower at 18,500rpm – and an electro-hydraulic, seven-speed sequential gearbox. It weighs just 1,323 pounds.
Car of Michael Schumacher, Ferrari F2001b Chassis No. 215. Photo by: Jeremy Cliff.
Among the most desirable of any modern-era grand prix cars in existence, Ferrari 2001b Chassis 215 will be available to buy, along with the second of only five Zagato-bodied 1957 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta Tour de France road cars, in separate online auctions.
Both cars will be on display at RM Sotheby’s flagship Monterey auction from August 16-19, and the F2001b will open for bidding on the Sotheby’s Sealed platform from August 16, 12:00 pm PDT to August 19, 12:00 pm PDT.