The Ferrari in which Formula One legend Michael Schumacher won the 2003 World Championship title sold for more than $15 million at auction in Geneva on Wednesday.
“This remarkable car has achieved a world record price for a modern-era Formula One," the Sotheby’s auctioneer said after the F2003-GA, Chassis 229 sold for 13 million Swiss francs ($13.2 million).
The previous record was held by another Schumacher-driven Ferrari, an F2001 model sold by Sotheby’s in New York in 2017 for $7.5 million.
The final price, offered by an unidentified telephone bidder after a bidding war of more than 40 minutes, far outstripped expectations, with the auction house estimating pre-sale that the car would fetch up to 9.5 million Swiss francs.
It is “one of the most significant Formula One cars of all time", the auctioneers said.
Schumacher raced nine times in the car, winning five Grands Prix in the 2003 season and driving it when he clinched the title in Japan.
He has not been seen in public since suffering serious injuries in a skiing accident in 2013.
“It’s one of the Ferraris with the most victories in the constructor’s history, so it’s a very important car in the history of motor racing," Vincent Luzuy, from the Sotheby’s branch dealing with luxury car sales, told AFP.
Designed by Rory Byrne and Ross Brawn, the F2003-GA featured a longer wheelbase to improve aerodynamics, he explained.
The model was brought in at the Spanish Grand Prix, the fifth race of the 2003 season. Chassis 229 is by far the most successful of the six F2003-GAs that were built.
Schumacher drove it to victory in Spain and also won the Austrian, Canadian, Italian and US Grands Prix in the car.
He also claimed pole position in Spain, Austria and Italy in the car, and the fastest laps in Austria, Italy and the United States.
The car powered Schumacher to his sixth F1 title — a total that saw the German overtake the five won by Argentina’s Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1950s.
It also helped Ferrari win a 13th constructor’s championship — the Italian team’s fifth in a row.
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