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Michael Schumacher Benetton Formula 1 car up for auction at Spa

Michael Schumacher Benetton Formula 1 car up for auction at Spa

Michael Schumacher Benetton Formula 1 car up for auction at Spa
May 09
18:01 2017


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Formula 1 cars don’t come up for auction all that often, and ones with impressive racing history cross the auction block even less frequently. But in just a matter of days, Bonhams will offer an F1 car from one of the most beloved periods of series history: a Canadian GP-winning car that was also one of the first F1 cars driven by seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.

The car in question is a 1991 Benetton-Cosworth Ford B191 powered by a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter HBA5 V8 engine rated at 650 hp. Featuring a carbon-composite molded chassis monocoque, the Ford weighs just around 1,113 pounds.

This particular car made its first F1 appearance at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1991 with Roberto Moreno at the wheel. Later that year, the car was driven to a dramatic win at the Canadian Grand Prix at the Ile Notre Dame circuit in Montreal by Nelson Piquet. In that memorable race, Riccardo Patrese captured the pole with Piquet starting eighth on the grid, but the race itself was led by Nigel Mansell. Led, that is, until the very last lap when he started to wave to the crowd in anticipation of a win and allowed his Williams-Renault car’s revs to drop too low, stalling the car with less than half a lap left. Piquet flew past him to a win.
 



This particular car was driven by Schumi at Suzuka and Adelaide in 1991. Photo by Bonhams


The same car went on to finish well in the two French GP races, before being driven by Michael Schumacher at the Japanese and Australian GPs.

Schumacher’s time behind the wheel of this particular car was brief and particularly unlucky: At the Japanese GP at Suzuka, Schumacher had to retire from the race due to engine trouble, while at the Australian GP at Adelaide the car was sidelined after an accident. The car never raced in competition again but was restored to running order by a specialist F1 team and has since been displayed in a museum.

Bonhams notes that the car is in period working condition and is ready to run, with the only departures from period correctness being some modern FIA safety features.
 



1991 3.5-liter Benetton-Cosworth Ford B191 Canadian GP

Nelson Piquet drove this car to a win at the Canadian GP. Photo by Bonhams


Bonhams estimates this car will fetch between $820,000 and $1 million on auction day, which represents a realistic range given the car’s pedigree. The Schumacher history certainly helps here, but the F1 win at the Canadian GP with Piquet at the wheel is perhaps the banner piece of racing history. The handsome livery and design from the early 1990s — the yellow/blue/green Benetton colors from this period are particularly cherished by many F1 fans — is sure to help, too.

Visit the auction website to view the full list of lots from the upcoming Spa Classic sale.
 


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