The Formula 1 year 2003 is one of the most exciting in history: In the end, Michael Schumacher celebrated his sixth championship just two points ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. The Ferrari F2003-GA played the leading technical role in the title thriller. Their most successful chassis (#229) was auctioned by Sotheby's on November 9 for 14.8 million euros.
It all started - at least by Michael Schumacher standards - soberingly. After fourth place at the start in Australia and sixth place in Malaysia, an absurd downpour in the rain in Brazil marked the sporting low point of the season's start. It was the German's first retirement since Hockenheim in 2001. After the glorious year 2002, was there a risk of a relapse to earlier times?
While the world was looking anxiously at Maranello, the Scuderia was already working on the technical hopeful called F2003-GA. Named after Fiat magnate Gianni Agnelli, who died in January 2003, the successor to the modified F2002 was intended to put not only Schumacher but also Rubens Barrichello back on the road to success. The Brazilian finished second in Malaysia but suffered two retirements in the other races.
Evolution in the details
Under the supervision of Technical Director Ross Brawn, the concept of a longer wheelbase was chosen, giving the aerodynamicists, including well-known names such as Nikolas Tombazis and James Allison, more freedom. In addition to the classic goals of lighter weight and a lower center of gravity, the suspension has also been redesigned to accommodate the needs of Bridgestone tires.
The heart of the red goddess has also been improved. The engine department under the direction of Paolo Martinelli designed an extended variant of the officially 845 hp 3.0-liter V10 (Tipo 052) for the F2003-GA, which contributed to better weight distribution and better drivability as part of the new wheelbase. For power transmission, a likewise refined version of the semi-automatic seven-speed gearbox was used.
The F2003-GA finally made its debut at the Spanish Grand Prix. However, the race before that was already considered a sporting liberation. Michael Schumacher won a very emotional Grand Prix in San Marino shortly after the death of his mother Elisabeth. Rubens Barrichello was third.
Strong start, tight finish
Right at its first appearance, the F2003-GA followed the San Marinese triumph with the same constellation. In chassis 229, which is up for auction, Michael Schumacher also won in Austria (with pole and fastest lap), in Canada, in Italy (with pole and fastest lap) and in the United States (with fastest lap). 3rd place in Monaco and France.
Rubens Barrichello was victorious at the wheel of an F2003-GA in the UK (including pole and fastest lap) and the grand finale at Suzuka. There, teammate Schumacher had to tremble longer after a partly challenging second half of the season. In view of the German's difficult qualification, McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen was not allowed to win. In the end, the Finn finished second and Schumacher even scored a point with eighth place thanks to the new scoring system.
F2003 earns 14.8 million euros
After his racing career, chassis 229, in which Michael Schumacher broke Juan Manuel Fangio's 46-year-old title record, was constantly maintained. It was not until 2022 that Ferrari itself overtook the moving piece of history. During the course of his home visit, Mick Schumacher was also able to drive the legendary car in Fiorano - and thus crossed off another world championship winner from his list.
The grateful son then enthused: "Not only the sound but also the handling were the best during this time. I wish I could have driven in this era." On November 9, the good piece came under the hammer at the Sotheby's auction house in Geneva. Actually, the auctioneer only expected proceeds of around 9 million euros. In the end, a telephone bidder put a whopping 14.2 million Swiss francs on the table, which corresponds to 14.8 million euros.
That's enough for second place among the most expensive Formula 1 cars of all time. We have put together the complete Top Ten List for you.