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The 10 Most Expensive F1 Cars Ever Sold at Auction

Formula 1 cars aren't cheap to produce, but the best among them can go for much more at auction, but which take the crown?...

Formula 1 cars are expensive to build, but the best of the best develop legacies worth twice that. So which are the most expensive F1 cars ever sold at auction?

10. 1982 Ferrari 126 C2 - $2.1m in 2019

1982 Ferrari 126 C2 -
Credit: Sotheby's

The 1970s were a good time for Ferrari, but by the 1980s, things were starting to take a downturn. Not a downturn, a disaster. The 1980 season saw Ferrari only earn eight Championship points. Things needed to change.

They created the 126CK and adopted turbo technology, but the aero was nowhere near where it needed to be. So they brought on some experts to redesign the 126CK. The result was the 126 C2, an immediate improvement over the CK taking the win at Imola and securing the Constructors’ Championship, the last Ferrari would see until 1999.

9. 1992 Williams-Renault FW14B - $3.37m in 2019

1992 Williams-Renault FW14B

This example is the highest price ever paid for a Williams Grand Prix car and was driven by none other than Nigel Mansell in his championship winning 1992 season. Not only that, but Williams also took home the Constructors’ that year.

This particular model was driven by Mansell six times, winning five races, and is still in working order. It’s no surprise that it’s considered one of the best cars in the history of Formula 1.

8. 1993 McLaren MP4/8A - $5.7m in 2018

1993 McLaren MP4/8A - .7m in 2018

None other than ex-F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone bought this car in 2018 and considering that the man knows his business, it had to be for a reason right? In this case, this is the McLaren Ayrton Senna drove to his sixth Monaco Grand Prix victory complete with the same engine and gearbox he competed with.

The 1993 season would be Senna’s last with McLaren and he wasn’t that keen on it. McLaren had just ended their successful relationship with Honda and wouldn’t have a new engine supplier until 1994. In the interim, they used a Cosworth-built ‘HB’ V8 engine, which wasn’t expected to be competitive against the dominant Renault V10s, but it ended up being competitive enough for both Ayrton and McLaren to grab second in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship.

7. 2010 McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25A - $6m in 2021

Credit: Sotheby's

For Lewis Hamilton fans, the MP4-25A is perhaps one of the “greatest bits of memorabilia to ever be offer for sale” according to Sotheby’s. Not only is this a stunning bit of memorabilia, but it’s also in ready-to-drive condition thanks to McLaren Racing Heritage’s restoration efforts in 2019.  

The scope of this restoration included a complete teardown of the car. The engine was sent to Mercedes AMG HPP for a health check, the fuel systems were rebuilt, and any perishable was replaced.

6. 1998 Ferrari F300 - $6.22m in 2022

6. 1998 Ferrari F300 - £5.3m (.22m) in 2022
Credit: Sotheby's

Why is this on the list? Because it’s the most successful undefeated Ferrari F1 chassis across all areas. It was driven to four victories by none other than Michael Schumacher. What else can we attribute to its pedigree? Well, it’s the only Ferrari F1 chassis to run three races and achieve victory in each one.

1998 was the season that saw Ferrari take that first step towards their 2000s domination period. Ferrari didn’t win the Constructors’ Championship that year, but they did grab second in both the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championship, something the team hadn’t experienced since 1982.

5. 2002 Ferrari F2002 - $6.64m in 2019

5. 2002 Ferrari F2002 - .64m in 2019
Credit: Gooding & Company

At this point in their history, Ferrari hadn’t won a Drivers’ Championship since 1979. Something needed to change so they brought on some new blood in 1996 with Michael Schumacher and team principal, Jean Todt. 1997 saw the rest of the dream team assemble with Rory Byrne and Ross Brawn joining Ferrari.

2000 and 2001 saw Ferrari back on top, but in 2002, the F2002 would see Ferrari clinch the most dominant World Championship performance ever seen at the time. Schumacher had 11 wins and Ferrari took home 211 points for the year, which was equal to the combined tally of all ten remaining teams.

4. 2001 Ferrari F2001 - £5.5m ($7.5m) in 2017

4. 2001 Ferrari F2001 - £5.5m (.5m) in 2017
Credit: Sotheby's

It shouldn’t be surprising that the car that won the 2001 Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships with Michael Schumacher should sell so well. As we’ve seen, it’s not the first Schumacher era car to hit the list (and it won’t be the last). Schumacher drove this machine to nine race wins allowing him to draw level with Alain Prost’s four World Titles.

3. 2003 Ferrari F2003 - $14.6m in 2022

3. 2003 Ferrari F2003 - £10.7m (.6m) in 2022
Credit: Salracing

In 2003, this car came late into the season. Ferrari used the 2002 model for the first four races, but unfortunately for the team, Michael Schumacher only won one of those races, though Ferrari had the F2003 ready for the Spanish Grand Prix. Schumacher was able to win that race, but a young Fernando Alonso was nipping at his heels.

It’s a neat story, but why did it sell for $14.6 million USD? Other than having been driven by Schumacher, this chassis (229) is the most successful of the six F2003’s built and is one of only four Schumacher era Ferraris with five wins or more in a World Championship season. He raced chassis 229 nine times earning five wins as well as his record-breaking sixth title, pulling ahead of previous record holder, Juan Manuel Fangio.

2. 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04 - $18.8m in 2023

2. 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04 - .8 USD in 2023
Credit: Sotheby's

It’s no surprise that one of Lewis Hamilton’s championship winning cars reaches so high on this list. Considered the modern successor to Mercedes’ iconic Silver Arrows of yore, this example of the W04 was driven by Hamilton at 14 out of 19 events during the season and is considered the genesis of the most successful team in modern motorsport.

With a resume like that, it’s no wonder it sold for over $18 million USD in 2023. For the romantics out there, it’s also the last Mercedes F1 car to feature a naturally aspirated V8, which provides a soundtrack many fans miss.

1. 1954 Mercedes W196R - £19.6m ($29.65m) in 2013

1. 1954 Mercedes W196R - £19.6m (.65m) in 2013
Credit: Bonhams

This was sold in 2013 at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale. This car saw five-time champion, Juan Manuel Fangio, achieve his second Formula 1 title in 1954. The W196 was part of Mercedes-Benz’s frontier-technology led comeback after the Second World War.

The W196 cars ran an enveloping bodied “Stromlinienwagen” form, instantly setting new performance standards with both drivers finishing first and second in both qualifying and the race at the French Grand Prix.

This car is not only the most expensive F1 car ever sold at auction, but the fifth most expensive car ever sold period.


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