A Lewis Hamilton race-winning 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04 sold for $18,815,000 at RM Sotheby’s Las Vegas as the most expensive modern-era Formula 1 car ever.
The most expensive modern-era Formula 1 car ever sold at public auction is a 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04-04 that achieved $18,815,000 at the RM Sotheby’s Las Vegas 2023 collector car sale. The price – $3 million above presale estimate – made the Mercedes-AMG Petronas the second most valuable Formula 1 car ever sold behind the Fangio-driven 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R which achieved $30 million at auction in 2013. At the time of sale, it was the 21st most expensive car ever sold.
Most Expensive Modern-Era Formula 1 Car: 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04
The 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04-04, which sold for $18,815,000 as the most expensive modern-era Formula 1 single-seater racing car, is slightly less special than the price might suggest. It is of course a very special car but it is easy to imagine that a variety of other Mercedes-AMG Petronas racers driven by Lewis Hamilton would have achieved a similar and even higher result.
Lewis Hamilton drove this Mercedes for 14 of the 19 Formula 1 Grand Prix races in the 2013 season — a year in which he finished fourth and Mercedes second in the world championship. Although he won his first race for Mercedes in this car — the Hungarian GP — that was his only victory using this racer. (Nico Rosberg won the first two Grand Prix races for Mercedes in the modern era earlier in the season.)
Scarcity was probably the strongest driver behind the remarkable price of this racing car. The 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04-04 is apparently the only car from this stable ever sold outside the wider sphere of the organization. It certainly is the only one ever offered for sale in a public auction.
It was also only the second time ever that a race-winning car driven by Lewis Hamilton was offered for sale. The previous one was a 2010 McLaren MP4-25A that sold for $6.75 million in 2021 — a car in which he also achieved only a single race victory, the Turkish GP.
For now, it remains anyone’s guess what a Lewis Hamilton multiple race-winning and championship-year Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 would achieve on the open market.
Most Expensive Formula 1 Racing Cars Ever Sold
The list of the most expensive Formula 1 single-seater racing cars ever sold at public auction (up to Nov 2023) are:
|Year||Car||Price ($)||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.