Sebastian Vettel, Goodwood Festival of Speed, 2023

Vettel wants to add ex-Schumacher Ferrari to his sustainably-fuelled F1 car fleet

2023 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel is seeking to buy one of the Formula 1 cars raced by his hero, Michael Schumacher, to add to his collection.

The four-times world champion already owns a pair of nineties Williams and McLaren F1 cars which he drives at events to demonstrate the potential of sustainable fuel. He drove his 1992 Williams-Renault FW14B and 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend.

Speaking to media including RaceFans yesterday, Vettel said a car previously driven by the seven-times world champion is next on his shopping list.

“There’s always a lot of cars that are very, very beautiful,” said Vettel. “But probably the one I’d be missing or I feel I am missing is one of Michael’s cars, and 2004 has been stuck in my head is the most beautiful car that he raced.”

A 1993 McLaren is Vettel’s latest acquisition
However he admitted “they are getting more and more expensive” to buy. An F2004 of the type Schumacher raced that year set a record for the most expensive modern F1 car ever sold when it was bought for $3,198,500 (£1.7m) the year after it raced.

The value of such cars has risen sharply since then. Last year an F2003-GA raced by Schumacher in 2003 sold for $14,873,327 (£11.4m).

Vettel said he acquired his McLaren as he had a model of the car as a child given to him by his father, Norbert.

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“My father was a massive Senna fan and I have a little model car and it was the ’93 McLaren,” he explained. “It was in my room for a long, long time. I always thought it’s one of the most beautiful cars ever built in terms of dimensions, in terms of looks and design. So obviously it was quite nice when I had the chance to bid on it and even nicer to have a chance like today to showcase it.”

Sebastian Vettel, Williams FW14B, Goodwood Festival of Speed, 2023
He also owns an ex-Mansell Williams
He said he slightly prefers the MP4/8 to the FW14B, which Nigel Mansell won the 1992 title in. The latter’s slender, Adrian Newey-designed chassis is not entirely comfortable, Vettel explained.

“The McLaren is a year older, so it must be more sophisticated compared to the ’92,” he said. “They’re both incredible to drive if you compare to nowadays’ cars. It’s very different, it’s very tight in both of the cars.

“I still am surprised how Nigel fit in the car – not that he’s fat, but he’s big, he’s strong and he was in the day. I struggle for room so I can imagine if you’re just bigger and stronger that it wasn’t the easiest of cars for him to drive. But it was fast that he enjoyed it so I guess that’s the answer how he managed.”

The FW14B is “very iconic”, said Vettel, “but I do prefer the ’93 one a little bit more. I haven’t done much driving in it, probably not enough, but it feels a little bit more natural and maybe a bit easier to adapt.”

His two cars carry the slogan ‘Race Without Trace” and run on sustainably-sourced fuel. F1 plans to move to a similar fuel from 2026 to reduce its carbon emissions. Vettel is keen to promote the technology.

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“The idea is to demonstrate that you can have fun but you can have it in a more responsible way,” he said. “I think the world is changing, it’s something that maybe not everybody has understood yet to a full degree, but I think it is happening and it will be happening more and more of it.

Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, Suzuka 2004
Schumacher won 13 races in the F2004
“I love motorsport and I would love for motorsport to continue. It would be a shame if Goodwood was to disappear as an event or if Formula 1 was to disappear. So that, I think is a threat, it might be far away for a lot of people now, today. But as I said, the world is changing.”

Vettel retired from F1 racing at the end of last year. He said he’s “had lots of interest” from people since then but isn’t ready to choose what he wants to do next.

“I set myself the goal last year that I want to be free and I say ‘no’ to a lot of things in the first place because I want to get to know this version of myself that doesn’t know in a way what to do and doesn’t have a fixed schedule and is able to look into different things and get inspired,” he said. “That’s still the journey.

“I’m spending a lot of time with my kids as well. We’ve done a bit of travelling as well in the van, so I do enjoy that. Certainly I also know that I will not be living the life of my kids. It’s not going to be my main task even though I want to be there for them. But I think sooner or later I will probably figure out and take on a new challenge.”

Pictures: Vettel at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Vettel wants to add ex-Schumacher Ferrari to his sustainably-fuelled F1 car fleet”

  1. Graham (@guitargraham)
    17th July 2023, 14:31

    problem with the fw14b was that you had to drive through the point where the car would scare you witless. the extra performance was hiding the other side of the wiggle and it appears only Nigel could get there consistently. early 90s cars were amazing to watch, so much lighter and more nimble.

    1. @guitargraham
      The passive cars under braking pitch down and the driver can use that feeling to judge the grip of the front tyres. The active suspension keeps the car balanced at all times, so that feeling isn’t there and the driver has to just trust that the tyres will grip.

      Patrese used to match Mansell’s pace until the introduction of active suspensions, which eliminated any competition. If you are not a 110% committed then you don’t get the benefit of the active suspension system. Mansell was 40 kph faster than Patrese at Copse corner in Silverstone, insane !

  2. Greenwashing at its finest.

    1. Yea nah, let’s keeping digging a finite resource out of the ground to burn instead of looking for an alternative. We used to burn whales, coal was the alternative fuel, wonder if anyone got triggered when they saw someone burning coal rather than a whale.

      1. I wonder if back at the time coal mining was being subsidized and whale oil priced out by taxes imposed by governments prophesying the apocalypse or was it simply that coal is a cheaper and more convenient resource

        1. Ever lived in a coal mining region?

    2. Not quite, the synthetic fuel is made using 100% renewable energy and requires the capture of otherwise released CO2 to be made.

      Using synthetic fuel to make these older cars run also doesn’t require kids to dig up non-renewable rare earth materials to make batteries.

      1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        18th July 2023, 8:22

        Synthetic e-fuels still require a lot of energy to create, limiting their effectiveness in reducing CO2 emissions. They are going to be very expensive and pretty rare. Not to mention they still emit toxic nitrogen dioxide and carcinogenic particles when burnt.

        Battery technology is getting cleaner and cheaper. The new Sodium-ion batteries are free of lithium, copper and cobalt. This makes their production independent of critical raw materials. Instead of graphite, non-graphitised hard carbon is used for the anodes, which requires less energy to produce. No natural raw material is mined, because hard carbon can be obtained from bio-waste, among other things

        1. The sodium-ion batteries have tended to degrade even quicker than their lithium-ion counterparts though, so with about 2-3% capacity loss per year on current BEVs, that’d become an even bigger issue unless it was somehow possible to limit the effects of this characteristic.

      2. Because the oil industry never exploited the third world, right? And let’s all forget about every war that was started due to oil greed.

  3. He’s defitinely right regarding the Mclaren’s looks.
    It’s just everything a F1 car should be. Not as long as a boat like the current ones, not over detailed as some of its sucessors

    Just smooth and aerodynamic as an airplane. It can’t get better than that.

  4. I do like Seb. He clearly loves F1 and it’s history. He seems kind and consciously aware also. Presumably climate change deniers are thin on the ground these days, and as for ‘greenwashing’, he bought these cars because he loves them (and many of us would love to own one, let’s be honest).

    He’s just showcasing that they (and many other things can be adapted). They’re 30yrs old now, that they’re running at all is fantastic.

    And as ‘strong’ as Nigel was, he always looked relived to get out of it.

  5. Wonder how much the Big Mac is worth now – that’s the 1995 McLaren MP4/10 they had to widen before they could squeeze Nigel Mansell in, and make it look even more ridiculous. All of the praise about the looks and shape of the 1993 car didn’t apply to that one…

  6. I despair of Seb, he used to be both smart and funny. Now he’s just another nouveau-riche playboy regurgitating fake news from the mono-party propagandists. ‘Race without Trace’ is, like a lot of greenwashing the total opposite. How much food and/or rainforest has to go by the board to in order to fuel his apparent atonement for years of F1? How misguided is it to use an apex gas guzzler to demonstrate stuff that’s anything but ‘green’? Worse still, then try and tell the rest of us it’s what we have to do.

    Teeth grindingly awful stuff from Seb.

    1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      18th July 2023, 13:20

      I agree ‘Race without a Trace’ is green washing. See my comments further up on e-fuels, but if they exist only keep classic cars running on track and road then I think they are justifiable… just about.

      I still really like Seb, his humour and enthusiasm, he won’t be right about everything, none of us will, but at least he is trying. many don’t.

  7. F1’s “carbon footprint” isn’t caused by the fuel in their cars, far from it… traipsing a circus around the world uses a ludicrous amount of resources… I find their virtue signaling hilarious… if they’re that concerned, limit their series to a single region, eliminating 90% of their resource usage by eliminating all the long haul flights, etc… next reduce the # of people employed in F1 to reduce the impacts of all those carbon based mouth breathers…

    In the end, they’re just virtue signaling… they don’t care… if they truly cared they’d make radical changes… but, in the end only ONE thing matters… $

  8. Electroball76
    18th July 2023, 22:00

    Seb was going to pick up an ancient Indy car, but Ford told him ‘that belongs in a museum’

  9. I don’t get what people are so against synthetic fuels? They’re really not likely to power the engines of the future, they’re just so we can continue to run some niche vehicles that most of us true motorsport enthusiasts love. Yes they still emit SOME bad tailpipe emissions, but they are better than what we’re doing right now and Electric vehicles certainly aren’t clean. As for battery technology, it’s still a LONG way from being suitable for many countries and the best thing you can do from an environmental perspective is to continue driving a relatively new “already produced” vehicle, keeping it maintained and using until the end of its useful life, than building a new one.

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