Of course, there is no experience like driving an F1 car: The sound, the incredible horsepower, the ridiculous braking ability, and the sheer competence of the chassis combine into sensory overload of the best sort


When Jody Scheckter won the Formula 1 drivers' championship in 1979, few enthusiasts, and even fewer among the management at Fiat and Ferrari itself, could have suspected that it would be 21 long years before another driver would attain that elusive crown behind the wheel of a Formula 1 Ferrari.

That driver was the now-legendary, six-times World Champion, Michael Schumacher. This is the car, chassis 205, in which he ultimately clinched that historic breakthrough.

Rory Byrne and Ross Brawn designed and engineered the F1/2000 around an extremely advanced, molded carbon-composite monocoque chassis, powered by a 3-liter, 90-degree V10 engine developing in excess of 750 horsepower. Transmission is via a seven-speed, semi-automatic gearbox with sequential electronic fingertip "flipper" control.

Chassis 205, as offered here, has a total recorded works team mileage of 3,896 km, and has been run for a total of 18 hours, 30 minutes.

Offered now for the first time ever on the open market, Ferrari F1/2000 chassis 205 is a car of immense potential as a long term addition to any world class collection. No single car has probably contributed more to the Cavallino Rampante legend in recent decades. Few cars can claim to have won no less than four Grand Prix races, driven by arguably the greatest racing driver of all time. Even fewer can claim to have secured an F1 World Championship title, especially such a landmark one. Add to these factors the factory support now available for private owners wishing to use modern day F1 Ferraris on the track, and the user-friendly nature of the F1/2000 model and the appeal is obvious.

Racing cars don't get much more historic than this, perhaps the most important single car to have been sold by Ferrari in the past 20 years.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:2000 F1/2000 Race Car
Years Produced:2000
Number Produced:8
Original List Price:well-used but refurbished, post-season from factory: approx. $1,000,000
Chassis Number Location:tag on left side of cockpit
Engine Number Location:hidden under the exhaust, right rear
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America, P.O. Box 720597, Atlanta, GA 30358
Alternatives:earlier Ferrari F1 cars, lesser F1 cars (Minardi, Arrows), buying a ride in a Soviet space capsule

his 2000 F1/2000 Race Car sold for $1,689,992, including buyer’s premium, at the Bonhams Monaco auction held on May 15, 2004.

Let’s be realistic: This car has ceased to be a race car. Yes, its owner may go out and drive very, very fast, scaring the bejeebies out of himself and his loved ones. He may even drive it with other cars on the track, but he will never, ever race it. He is not worthy-even the back markers who drive Formula 1 cars for real are supermen who have earned the right to their rides through tremendous talent and effort.

So don’t think of this as a race car, per se; look at it instead as a full-fledged piece of sporting memorabilia, a record-breaking baseball, complete with bat, muscle, bone, and sinew (though emphatically not the vision, reaction time or experience) that made it a piece of history. This car is something you choose to own because you desire it and can afford it, not because you expect to drive it much.

Don’t get me wrong-it’s a fully operational race car. Though you won’t find one on the showroom floor at your local Ferrari store, the factory can and does sell their old F1 cars, for about a million dollars each. They take out the telemetry, upload some “vanilla” software into the engine management system, drop the redline to make the engine live a bit longer, and go to a generic suspension setup-then send them out the door.

Assuming Ferrari likes you well enough to sell you one of these cars in the first place, factory support is available through its Corsa Cliente service, which is based right across the street from the F1 facility. They’re happy to send a crew of qualified mechanics to wherever you’d like, and will make a fuss over you and the car to make sure that everything works right. This is not cheap, but it is available, though from a logistics standpoint it works far better to run the car in Europe than elsewhere in the world.

The first thing you’ve got to do if you want to drive the car is to get in it. Michael Schumacher is not a big man (5 foot, 7 inches, and all of 150 pounds) and they built the car to fit him like a thong. If you’re a standard-sized American male with a six-pack gut rather than abs, forget about it.

I know two people who own late-’90s F1 cars and they tell me that once you wedge yourself behind the wheel, these machines drive extremely well. These days, you don’t win championships in cars that are hard to drive. Of course, there is no experience like driving an F1 car: The sound, the incredible horsepower, the ridiculous braking ability, and the sheer competence of the chassis combine into sensory overload of the best sort.

No matter how good a racer you might be, at nine-tenths of your ability, the car is likely only at six-tenths-at best. Not that you’d want to drive it anywhere near that hard anyway, as the risks and costs associated with failure are simply too great. You don’t want to be the guy who tears the cover off the home run record baseball.

In Europe there is a well-established group that organizes regular events for these cars and does it up right when they do, but in the U.S. you’ll be renting a track, assembling a crew, and going out on your own. The good news is that if you don’t succumb to the red mist, not much on these cars seems to break and with limited use the costs of running aren’t that bad.

If you do have a failure, the solution is simple and always the same: Pack up the car and send it back to Italy. Aside from tires, brake pads, oil, and water, there’s not much you can change on these things yourself. By the way, make sure you know someone who speaks fluent Italian if you need help-English won’t cut it.

Regular readers know that I often look at the relative weightings of “weapons grade” values (i.e., go play with it and have fun) versus “collector grade” values (the investment qualities) in any particular car. As you can see, this car goes so far in the direction of collector grade that even thinking of owning it for its racing potential is delusional. As a collectible, the importance of its provenance is undeniable, and though the 2000 F1/2000 Race Car isn’t yet very old, Schumacher is still rewriting the record books.

So, was this a rational purchase at nearly $1.7 million? Consider that Ferrari Testa Rossas and GTOs sell for six times that much, though these cars come from racing’s “golden age” and are certainly more usable as well.

Perhaps a more appropriate comparison might be something like Mark McGwire’s then record-setting 70th home run baseball, which sold for $3 million in 1999. By that standard, you’d have to call Schumie’s Ferrari a bargain at twice the price. Even coming off McGwire’s bat, a baseball doesn’t go 200 miles per hour.

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