Purchasing power

This weekend in Abu DhabiFormula 1and RM Sotheby’s will bring together some truly legendary F1 cars and a carefully curated selection of rare and desirable supercars for an incredible auction. And prior to Saturday evening’s live sale on the F1 grid, fans will have the chance to get up close and personal with some of the finest machinery on four wheels, including a title-winning ex-Michael Schumacher Ferrari F2002, as Formula 1 Director of Hospitality and Experiences Kate Beavan explains…

This weekend F1 will team up with RM Sotheby’s to host the first international collector car auction in the region at Yas Marina. Can you explain why classic cars and F1 are a good fit?

We have a hugely passionate audience. They are obsessed with Formula 1 machinery but our research also tells us that they are passionate about all kind of automobiles. They live and love race cars and road cars – sports cars classic cars, single-seaters, prototypes, everything – so it seemed a very natural fit to bring a very upmarket classic car auction to Formula 1 races. And in order to do that in an F1 way we had to seek out the best and RM Sotheby’s is probably the world’s premier high-end car auctioneer.

The benefit for us is that not only are we able to bring the glamour of F1 together with the rarefied world of high-end car auctions but we are also able to bring these incredible cars to races as part of our fan experience.

How will the cars add to fans’ enjoyment of the race weekend?

One of the key features of how we organised this auction is that we have agreed with RM Sotheby’s that the cars will be displayed at the circuit in the F1 Fan Zone.

The easiest thing for us to do would have been to stage the auction off-site in a fairly sterile convention centre type environment where wealthy clients would go to buy a car. But that would be to diminish the beauty and value of these cars. We wanted this sale to celebrate these iconic machines and to provide fans at the race with the chance to really enjoy them.

With that in mind, we have embedded the auction and the cars themselves into the Formula 1 event. Even if 99% of us can only dream of buying one, we want fans to be able to see these cars, to get up close to them and to enjoy their rarity. And we have some truly special cars on show.

What kind of machinery can fans expect to see?

Well, top of the bill has to be the ex-Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello’s World Championship-winning Ferrari F2002. This is one of the most successful cars in F1 history; with Schumacher marching to his fifth title win at the French Grand Prix, with six races in hand. The car on sale won at Imola, Zeltweg, and sealed the title with victory at Magny Cours.

We also have a 1990 Ferrari F40, which was signed by Sebastian Vettel at the launch of this partnership with RM Sotheby’s earlier this year at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

There’s also a Jaguar C-X75, one of just four made, which featured in the James Bond film ‘Spectre’, as well some spectaculars cars from some of the world’s most famous hypercar manufacturers such as McLaren, Koenigsegg and Pagani. Every one of the cars on sale is unique in some way.

And on Saturday they’ll be sold?

Yes. The cars will be displayed behind the main grandstand in the F1 Fan Zone on Friday and all day Saturday. Then, on Saturday night, the cars will be lined up on the grid under lights and we’ll hold the auction live. Formula 1 will be filming the event, too, so fans will be able to enjoy the action. The reserves on some of these cars extend beyond $5m so we expect plenty of drama as the bids come in. It promises to be quite spectacular and, after all, spectacle is what Formula 1 is about.

The car sale is obviously beyond the reach of almost everyone who’ll see the cars, but there is a way for us regular folk to get a taste of the action isn’t there?

Absolutely. There is a huge amount of amazing Formula 1 memorabilia being auctioned online. Fans from anywhere in the world can bid and there are some wonderful pieces available, including helmets from Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Kimi Räikkönen and Nelson Piquet, as well as race suits, gloves, steering wheels, car nose cones and even a Ferrari F2002 engine!

This is the first F1 / RM Sotheby’s event. Are you already planning for 2020?

We’ve got an extensive race calendar and it’s a question of agreeing between us which events might be a success. Formula 1 has some amazing locations – Monaco, Monza, Singapore, Montreal, Mexico City – that we’re almost spoiled for choice but yes, we are already talking about two more events in 2020.

And that means fans will get the chance to see a host of historic race cars and incredible supercars in the future?

Yes. We hope that events such as this really enhance the whole experience of being at a race, for the fans attending the race all the way up to the premium VIP guests. When people come to a Formula 1 race we want them to experience something amazing and unique – not just on the track but in every aspect of the Grand Prix weekend. We want them to go home thinking ‘wow, that was an incredible experience, when can I go again?’