NOVEMBER 11, 2004
Ferrari plans to auction a Schumacher F2004
The announcement that auction house Sotheby's it will be auctioning a Ferrari F2004 with which Michael Schumacher won the first five races in 2004 flies in the face of all Ferrari traditions. The auction is scheduled to take place in May next year and will be held at the Ferrari headquarters in Maranello.
Ferrari has always had a very strict view about selling its old Formula 1 cars and normally will not let them go for several years after they have been raced and even then they traditionally go to known and trusted collectors. Ferrari has always wanted to avoid the cars being acquired by a rival team. The one exception to this rule is a Ferrari F1-90 which was handed over to the Williams team in part-payment for a settlement in a contract dispute after Jean Alesi having signed for both Williams and Ferrari in 1990.
The planned auction will include items ranging from historic memorabilia to some of the most important cars ever produced under the aegis of Enzo Ferrari and his successors - from historic racing cars to some of the finest modern sports cars. A number of items in the sale come directly from Ferrari's stock. The fact that there is an auction is interesting and it suggests that Ferrari may be feeling the pinch of financing the F1 programme rather more than some would believe.
The timing of the auction is, however, very odd. If the team is willing to sell a current F1 car, how is it going to stop the car being bought and copied by a small rival team? If Ferrari is not worried about this, then one must ask why, if the team wants to raise as much money as possible from the sale, it would not put the car into the annual Bonham's Exceptional Ferrari Motor Cars auction at the Palace Hotel in Gstaad, Switzerland, on December 18. This is an established event and attracts many wealthy Ferrari lovers who would be very happy to bid for Schumacher's F2004. This is likely to bring in more money than a sale in Maranello.
One way or another, the sale seems to be odd thing to do and you can bet that there will be much interest in F1 circles about what happens to the F2004. Paranoid rivals are very wary that Ferrari might agree to a reduction in testing and imagine that Michael Schumacher might then start to appear in private tests having been invited to test the F2004 by its new owner. The things that people dream up!
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