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For sale: Schumacher’s first F1 car

1 year ago

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Dan Prosser | Ti co-founder


31 January 2023

The Jordan 191 had no business troubling the top eight in FP1 during the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa in 1991 – and certainly not with a rookie at the wheel.

The team’s best qualifying result before then was seventh at the German GP, but mostly the Jordans of Andrea de Cesaris and Bertrand Gachot were mid-pack fodder at best. Heads swivelled as Michael Schumacher went eighth fastest in that first practice session on his F1 debut. 

Michael Schumacher
Schumacher makes his F1 debut

Quite apart from being the seven-time World Champion’s first F1 car, the Jordan 191 is also reckoned by many to be the prettiest Grand Prix car of all time. And who would argue with that? Schumacher’s car will be offered for sale later this week at Bonhams’ Paris sale, alongside more than 200 lots including modern-era supercars, pre-war machines and collectible sports cars from across the ages (click here for more). 

For sale: Schumacher’s first F1 car
Schumacher’s first F1 car

The 191 is expected to fetch between €1.4m and €2m. But is it destined to sit looking pretty in a collection, or will it actually be driven? ‘I think these days there is growing trend towards people using these cars,’ says Bonhams’ Paul Darvill. ‘Younger collectors want to drive them and there’s better support for these vehicles than there was 10 or 20 years ago, so I think there’s a high probability this car will return to the track in some way.’ 

For sale: Schumacher’s first F1 car

Too many old F1 cars are non-runners, stashed away in barns or on static display somewhere, but this one is ready to be used. If fact, The Intercooler’s Karun Chandhok drove this very car at Silverstone in 2021, moments after Schumacher’s son, Mick, had done the same. Michael, just 22 years old on his F1 debut, qualified this car’s sister machine in seventh place at Spa, beating de Cesaris by 0.7secs in a potent demonstration of his potential. 

For sale: Schumacher’s first F1 car

The following day, the rookie burnt out the car’s clutch at the start and was out of the race moments later. But the world had already taken notice. Two weeks later, Michael Schumacher was a full-time Grand Prix driver – albeit for Benetton rather than Jordan after he was poached by the opportunistic Flavio Briatore. This 191 may not be one of Schumacher’s championship F1 cars or even a race winner, but it is his first – and there will only ever be one of those. 

For sale: Schumacher’s first F1 car