The most expensive Formula 1 racing cars ever sold at public auction are Fangio’s 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R and Hamilton’s 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas W04 followed by several Michael Schumacher raced Ferraris.
Race-winning Formula 1 single-seater racing cars are surprisingly rarely offered for sale at public auction but a few exceptional racers are among the most expensive and most valuable cars ever sold. Juan Manuel Fangio’s 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula 1 racing car sold for nearly $30 million in 2013 and remains the most expensive F1 car ever. The most valuable modern-era Formula 1 car is the 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04-04, driven by Lewis Hamilton, which sold for $18.8 million in 2023. It is followed by several Ferraris driven by Michael Schumacher and two special McLarens.
Most Expensive Formula 1 Racing Cars Ever Sold at Auction
The list of the most expensive Formula 1 single-seater racing cars ever sold at public auction (up to Nov 2023) are:
|Year||Car||Price ($)||Auctioneer||Auction||Auction Year||Notes|
|1||1954||Mercedes-Benz W196R||29,650,000||Bonhams||Goodwood Festival of Speed||2013||Driven by Juan Manual Fangio|
|2||2013||Mercedes-AMG Petronas W04-04||18,815,000||RM Sotheby’s||Las Vegas||2023||Lewis Hamilton’s first GP win in a Mercedes|
|3||2003||Ferrari F2003-GA||14,880,000||RM Sotheby’s||Geneva||2022||Michael Schumacher secured his sixth championship and won five GP races|
|4||2001||Ferrari F2001||7,504,000||RM Sotheby’s||New York||2017||Michael Schumacher’s fifth Monaco GP victory|
|5||2010||McLaren MP4-25A||6,741,384||RM Sotheby’s||Silverstone||2021||First Hamilton race-winning car ever sold at auction|
|6||2002||Ferrari F2002||6,643,750||RM Sotheby’s||Abu Dhabi||2019||Michael Schumacher secured his fifth championship and three GP victories|
|7||1998||Ferrari F300||6,220,000||RM Sotheby’s||Monterey||2022||Four Michael Schumacher GP victories|
|8||1993||McLaren MP4-8A||5,009,266||Bonhams||Monaco||2018||Ayrton Senna’s 6th Monaco GP win|
Note: Nominal prices including premium. USD prices as converted at the time of auction where applicable.
Most Valuable Formula 1 Racing Cars Ever Sold
Most-Expensive F1 Car Ever: 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R
The 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula 1 single-seater racing car driven by legendary five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio was the most expensive car ever sold at auction at the time of the sale when it achieved a record-breaking £19.6 million ($29.65 million) at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed sale 2013. Although the price was almost double the previous record achieved by a Ferrari in 2011, this Mercedes held the title as the most expensive car ever for less than a year. However, it remains by far the most valuable Formula 1 car ever sold in a public auction.
Most Expensive Modern-Era Formula 1 Car: 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas W04
The 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04-04, driven by Lewis Hamilton, sold for $18,815,000 as the top result in the RM Sotheby’s Las Vegas 2023 collector car auction. It became the most expensive Formula 1 racing car from the modern era and second overall only behind the Fangio-driven Silver Arrows.
Although Lewis Hamilton won only one of his over 100 GP victories in this car (Hungary 2013), this was his first race win in a Mercedes. Perhaps, more significantly in establishing the price was that this is the only Mercedes-AMG Petronas ever sold outside the company sphere and thus the first and only one ever offered for sale to the public. After the 2010 McLaren MP4-25A, it was only the second Hamilton-driven Formula 1 car ever sold at auction.
Michael Schumacher Ferrari Prices at Auction
For several years the few Michael Schumacher race-winning Ferraris that were offered for sale at public auction were the most expensive modern-era F1 cars. These Ferraris, all sold in RM Sotheby’s auctions, included the cars in which Schumacher secured his fifth and sixth championship victories, as well as the Ferrari in which he won the Monaco Grand Prix for the fifth and final time.
Remarkable Formula 1 Racing Car Results at Auction
Two of the most remarkable Formula 1 racing car auction results occurred in the same 2018 Monaco sale by Bonhams on two cars driven at Monaco by Ayrton Senna. The 1993 McLaren MP4/8A in which Senna secured his record sixth Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix victory sold for just $5 million — although the second-highest F1 result ever at the time, many considered the price disappointingly low. Senna’s first Monaco racer – a 1984 Toleman-Hart TG184 that Senna raced to a sensational second place in his Monaco GP debut – sold for an equally sensational $1.9 million (double presale estimate).