The Mercedes W04, a very important piece of recent Formula 1 history, has been auctioned and bought for sum of millions.
The car with which Lewis Hamilton competed in his first season as a driver for the German team, in 2013, set many records.
Nevertheless, it couldn’t dethrone Juan Manuel Fangio’s 1954 W196R, which remains the Formula 1 single-seater for which the most money has been paid in the entire history of auctions.
The first Mercedes with which Hamilton won
The buyer of the car that contested 14 Grands Prix of the 2013 Formula 1 World Championship season and won the Hungarian Grand Prix (the Briton’s first as a Mercedes driver), paid the spectacular amount of $18,815,000, including commissions, or 17.3 million euros.
With that value, the W04 becomes the second most expensive single-seater ever sold, surpassing – by far – Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari F2001, for which $7.6 million (6.9 million) was paid in 2017, also at RM Sotheby’s.
At least in the short term, it will be difficult for another car to surpass the Mercedes as those after 2013 are much more difficult to place (if the brand sells them at all) due to their tremendous complexity when it comes to maintenance.
Part of its value is also explained by the fact that it is the only Formula 1 Mercedes ever put up for sale, as the star brand retains ownership.
Additionally, its value may increase if Hamilton wins yet another world title and becomes the most successful of all time (although that now certainly seems complicated).
Bidding from an airplane
The Mercedes W04 was the star of the RM Sotheby’s auction in Las Vegas, the city that this weekend is the world center of motor racing with the first F1 Grand Prix to be held in Nevada since 1982.
Curiously, at the decisive moment of the auction there was an unusual situation as one of the most interested buyers was on board a plane and was bidding by phone, but in the last moments he lost reception and had to communicate with the agent of RM Sotheby’s by messages.
Even so, he was able to raise the bid a couple of times although it was finally taken by a buyer present in the room.
Fangio-Hamilton: historic ‘front row’ for Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton will have a hard time to be protagonist of the race as he will start 10th on the grid, but one of his machines is already on the historic ‘front row’ of value.