Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher's name has grown so popular over the years that anyone who is not even mildly interested in F1 will have heard of it. The tool to his success was a Ferrari F1 car, and now the 2001 title-winning set of wheels has been auctioned at a record-breaking price tag. The seven-time Formula 1 champion's car was auctioned at New York's Sotheby's Contemporary Fine Art auction house on November 16 for $7.5 million. The F2001 was estimated to fetch a price between $4 million to $5.5 million, but after a six-minute battle on the auction floor, it rose quite substantially. The $7.5 million auction price has been declared as a world record for a modern day F1 car, with the bidders being represented by both RM Sotheby’s and Sotheby’s specialists.
It was a rare occasion - most likely the first time when a fully-functional Formula 1 car was presented at an art auction, even when some would say that an F1 is no work of art.
Sotheby's Senior Vice President Gregoire Billault admitted that the F2001 was not art but then he quoted as saying that the 2001 Ferrari was "the very best racing car ever sold at an auction, which captures the beauty of speed".
The 2001 Ferrari claimed the constructors' title along with Schumacher's drivers' title, while its second driver Rubens Barrichello finished in third. It took a total of nine wins, including the famous Monaco Grand Prix, and had 15 podiums finishes - between the two drivers.
It was a dominant display from Schumacher, who sealed his fourth title in the 13th round itself with four races to spare, ending the season with 123 points which were nearly double of what his title-rival McLaren-Mercedes' David Coulthard (65 points) could manage.