Schumacher's winning Ferrari F2001b up for auction at Monterey


Well-heeled Michael Schumacher and Ferrari fans are offered an opportunity this month by Sotheby's to acquire a race-winning machine steered by the F1 legend.

The Scuderia's F2001b – chassis 215 – was raced to victory by Schumacher in the opening race of the 2002 F1 season, the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

It was the German driver's initial victory in a banner year that would see Schumacher conquer a historic fifth world title in Formula 1, which drew him level with the record achieved by the great Juan Manuel Fangio.

Two weeks after the Australian Grand Prix, Schumacher and chassis 215 captured in Malaysia Ferrari's 150th pole position in F1, prior to a thrilling performance on race day that saw the Scuderia charger battle from 21st position to a spectacular 3rd-place podium position.

Chassis 215 – powered by a glorious-sounding 3.0-litre V10 engine – was then retired from active duty as Ferrari rolled out its new F2002 contender at the following race at Imola.

The Italian outfit's new car had been delayed by gearbox reliability issues which justified the team's decision to press on at the start of 2002 with a 'b-spec' version of its trusty F2001 with which Schumacher had won nine out of 17 races on his way to his fourth world crown.

"Its public offering presents a vanishingly rare opportunity to acquire a racing car of true historic significance: one that not only carried Schumacher to a famous victory but which played a pivotal role in securing his historic fifth Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship," commented Sotheby's ahead of the car's auction at Monterey on 16-19 August.

The car's sale by Sotheby's will follow the process of a 'sealed' auction, meaning that all bidders simultaneously submit sealed offers so that no bidder knows the bid of any other participant. The highest bidder then pays the price that was submitted.

It's anybody's guess how much the consigning owner of chassis 215 will pocket. But last year in Monterey, an ex-Schumacher race-winning Ferrari F2003 went under the hammer for a cool $13.2 million, an absolute record for a modern F1 car.

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