The Exclusive Club of Historic Formula 1 Car Ownership

by AutoExpert   |  30 December, 2023

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Ever fantasized about roaring down a track in a Formula 1 car? No need to be a Lewis Hamilton or Charles Leclerc. If you're a motorsport junkie with a passion for high-speed thrills (and a wallet to match), you're in luck. There's a niche but vibrant market for historic F1 cars, and it's more accessible than you might think.

Which Era of F1 Cars Do Enthusiasts Prefer?

Earlier models, like the 1981 Williams FW07, are the go-to for many. They're user-friendly and a joy to maintain. But it's not just about ease. James Hanson, founder of Speedmaster, is the guy everyone turns to when starting out. He sells around ten F1 cars a year, ranging from 1960 to 2010 models. His advice? Stick to cars from the 1970s to the mid-90s for a manageable yet exhilarating experience. Cars from the mid-2000s onwards? They're more for show, as they're too complex and costly to run. And those hybrid-powered F1 cars from 2014? Forget about it – they're practically museum pieces.

 Formula 1 Car Ownership

What's the Price Tag on These Historic Racers?

Just like the salaries of F1 stars, the cost of these cars varies wildly. Hanson notes you could spend anywhere from £200,000 ($266,000) for a 1970s car to a staggering £6 million ($7.68M) for a top-tier Ferrari. Lorina McLaughlin, who owns a 1992 Benetton raced by Michael Schumacher, stays mum about the price but hints it was before the internet era made such finds a rarity.

 Formula 1 Car Ownership

What About Running Costs?

Running an ex-F1 car isn't cheap. If you start counting the cost, you might back out. For example, a Benetton's engine needs a rebuild every 1200 miles or so, costing around £35,000 ($45,000). Hanson adds that racing one at a U.K. event like the British Grand Prix support race would set you back about £10,000 ($12,800) for a weekend – a modest sum in the world of high-end motorsports.

How Do These F1 Cars Feel to Drive?

We've heard words of praise on driving the 1976 McLaren M23, likening it to an extension of the driver's body. But the Benetton, with its stiff setup and manual transmission, requires a bit more finesse and a bigger budget for modifications.

 Formula 1 Car Ownership

Insuring Your F1 Dream Machine

You might think insuring a classic F1 car would break the bank, but it's surprisingly affordable. According to Hagerty UK, insuring a classic F1 car is comparable to covering a classic Ford, as the insurance only kicks in when the car isn’t being driven.

Why Dive into F1 Car Ownership?

For James Hanson, it's the ultimate thrill. You're part of an exclusive club, enjoying a social scene with respectful racing. You will go through amazing experiences driving F1 cars in iconic locations like Monaco, Laguna Seca, and the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

 Formula 1 Car Ownership

Where Can You Race These Beauties?

In Europe, you've got events like the Masters Historics Formula One Championship and the Boss GP Championship, not to mention the prestigious Monaco Historic Grand Prix and Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Owning a piece of F1 history isn't just for the pros. It's a thrilling, albeit pricey, hobby that brings you into an exclusive world of speed, legacy, and the pure joy of motorsport.

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