Not including the sometimes eight or nine-figure development costs, building an F1 car is estimated to cost somewhere between $12,000,000 and $20,000,000 on average — an expense that accounts for a decent portion of Formula 1’s current $135M team budget cap. Being so incredibly exorbitant, many F1 cars are dismantled after they’re retired from competition, with their components being sold off or repurposed in the team’s other newer racers. As a result, it’s fairly rare to see contemporary F1 cars come up for sale — even rarer when that car was driven by a seven-time F1 champion during their first season with one of the series’ leading teams. Despite this, that’s exactly what’s just come up for auction, as Lewis Hamilton’s 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04 race car is now scheduled to take its turn going under the hammer at an RM Sotheby’s sale next month.
Predecessor to the team’s F1 W05 Hybrid, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas’ 2013 F1 W04 is a decade-old open-wheel vehicle that upon its debuted represented the absolute pinnacle of automotive performance. Piloted by Hamilton for the 2013 season alongside teammate Nico Rosberg, the F1 W04 was constructed around a carbon fiber monocoque chassis that featured a pushrod suspension out front and a pull-rod unit out back. Adorned in a state-of-the-art aero kit crafted from carbon fiber, the car was powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter V8 with a KERS system and an XTRAC seven-speed transmission. Good for over 750hp, the vehicle’s 90° V8 also revved at up to 18,000rpm. The F1 W04 also represented the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team’s final naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter V-8 F1 model.
Chassis Number F1W04-04, the particular specimen that’s slated to be auctioned off was driven by the Hertfordshire-born driver after leaving McLaren — where the now-seven-time F1 champ would fill the seat left by fellow champ Michael Schumacher. In total, Hamilton would use this exact example in 14 of the 2013 season’s 19 events — including Hamilton’s first-ever win for the AMG-Petronas squad at that year’s Hungarian Grand Prix where he beat out runner-ups Romain Grosjean and Sebastian Vettel for the top spot on the podium. What’s more, F1W04-04 also played a pivotal role in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas outfit’s’ 2nd place finish in the 2013 Constructors’ Championship where it was bested by the Red Bull Racing Renault team by just 236 points.
Expected to fetch between $10,000,000 and $15,000,000, Lewis Hamilton’s 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04 race car will take its turn going up on the block at the official auction of the Las Vegas Grand Prix that RM Sotheby’s is holding next month that race weekend.