Get bidding on this race-winning Ferrari driven by Michael Schumacher
Going under the hammer next week, this F2001b was Ferrari’s brilliant stop-gap when its real 2002 car was delayed
Race-winning Michael Schumacher Ferrari up for auction alert! Yet another of the seven-time world champion’s F1 cars is going under the hammer, and while this one only featured in two races it has an interesting backstory.
You see, off the back of its dominant 2001 campaign the team approached 2002 with a problem: its new car was hampered with a gearbox problem, which threatened to put Schumacher and teammate Rubens Barrichollo on the back foot in the opening races.
So what did it do? Simple. Ferrari merely repackaged its old car with a few new bits from the new one, and hey presto it had something reliable to start afresh with.
Reliable and fast. Despite turning up to the season-opener in Melbourne with low-ish expectations, Schumacher promptly went fastest in all three practice sessions before taking the chequered flag in the stop-gap F2001b.
A fortnight later he qualified on pole (Ferrari’s 150th, no less) for the Malaysian GP, and despite a collision on the opening lap dropping him to 21st place, he still managed to finish on the podium. Not bad for a b-spec car.
That proved to be the chassis’ final outing. After the F2002 was rolled into action Schumacher wrapped up his fifth title - drawing level with Juan Manuel Fangio - after just 11 races, three months before the end of the season.
Meanwhile the F2001b was used for a few days of tyre testing before entering private ownership in 2003, bought by a Swiss collector who took great pride in taking it to track events. It then changed hands to its current owner in 2011.
Equipped with a sequential electro-hydraulic, seven-speed gearbox and a Gilles Simon-designed V10 engine that pinched a few upgrades from its eventual replacement, apparently the car needs to visit Maranello for a service. But other than that, this example’s good to go.
RM Sotheby’s is overseeing a sealed auction between 16-19 August next week, and if Schumi’s previous winning Ferraris are anything to go by, this one will fetch millions of dollars.
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Worth it for the track day envy though, right?
Images: RM Sotheby’s