Simanaitis Says

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YESTERDAY, WE BEGAN our celebration of the Ferrari F2002, the car that propelled Michael Schumacher to his fifth (of seven) World Drivers’ Championships. Today in Part 2, we see the F2002 involved in two bits of action even beyond the usual controlled fury of F1.

Ferrari F2002 domination. Rubens Barrichello leads teammate Michael Schumacher in a 1-2 finish at the 2002 Hungarian GP, the race at which Ferrari clinched its fourth consecutive World Constructors’ Championship. This and other images from Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction catalog, August 17–18, 2013.

The F2002’s Role in an F1 Rule Change. Near the end of the 2002 Austrian GP, Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello was leading Schumacher, the latter on a good run for his fifth World Drivers’ Championship. The team ordered Rubens to let Schuey by for the win. The drivers complied, but no one was pleased with the action.

On the podium, Schuey declined its top step and handed the trophy to Rubens. The FIA got shirty about this and, upon review, banned team orders for ensuing seasons. It also imposed a fine of $1 million on Ferrari, Schumacher, and Barrichello. Half the fine was split equally among the trio; the other half was suspended on the condition of no further such behavior.

Needless to say, a team order ban was all but impossible to enforce, though it wasn’t until December 2010 that the FIA rescinded the regulation.

As a historical note, in previous eras of Grand Prix racing—at no particular detriment to the quality of racing—teams controlled strategy to the point of replacing a slower driver mid-race with a quicker one whose car had failed.

The F2002 office, including a multi-tasking steering wheel.

Schuey/Rubens Horseplay or …. Other F2002 drama occurred later at the United States Grand Prix, otherwise a processional affair of Ferrari dominance. On the final lap, Schuey and Barrichello amiably swapped the lead several times. Maybe there was an attempt to stage a dead heat; maybe it was Schuey’s way of giving Rubens the win he deserved in Austria.

In any case, Barrichello’s F2002 crossed the line a scant 0.011 second ahead of Schumacher’s, the closest finish ever at the Brickyard. In 1992, Al Unser, Jr., crossed the bricks 0.043 second ahead of Scott Goodyear for the narrowest Indy 500 victory. And, in Formula 1, back when timing ran to only two decimal places, Peter Gethin’s BRM beat Ronnie Peterson’s March-Ford in the 1971 Italian Grand Prix at Monza by 0.01 second.

Wanna Buy a Ferrari F2002? At its 2013 Pebble Beach Auction, Gooding & Company offered F2002 chassis no. 220. This was the car in which Schumacher achieved the F2002’s first win, at the Brazilian GP that year. It had six other podium finishes in seven races, including Barrichello’s win at the European Grand Prix, held that year at the Nürburgring. F2002 220 fetched $2,255,000 back in 2013.

Another F2002 was the star at a joint auction held by RM Sotheby’s and Formula 1 at the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend. This car was Schuey’s mount when he clinched his fifth world championship at the 2002 French Grand Prix. It sold for $6,643,500, a portion of which will go to the Schumacher family’s Keep Fighting Foundation.

To put these prices in perspective, another famed F1 car was Fangio’s 1954 W196 Mercedes-Benz. Back in 2013, it was deemed worth $29.7 million. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2020


  1. Anton Thortzen
    March 12, 2020

    WOW, what a story, what a year and what a great achievement by the team, the drivers and the car. I can’t believe nobody has commented on this interesting story about one of the most fascinating seasons in the history of Formula 1. Strangely, or is it just me?, the total dominance of Ferrari in the 2002 season seemed more interesting than the dominance Mercedes has enjoyed for a number of years now. Ferrari made every victory look like it were their first and celebrated it passionately. We loved watching Schuey jump with joy on the top podium and conduct the crowd while the Italian national anthem was played and later dropped the huge bottle of champagne to the waiting mechanics below for everyone to get a little share of the taste of victory. 2002 was a truly glorious year in F1. To add to the achievement, Michael Schumacher finished in top 3 in all 17 races, only ended 3rd once and could probably have won more races than he did, had ne not been “kind” to Barrichello, who was an excellent driver on his own. Our thoughts go to Michael Schumacher and his family in these adverse times – always.
    Thanks for a great reminder of a memorable year.

    • simanaitissays
      March 12, 2020

      Hello, Anton,
      Thanks for your kind words. I agree completely that the 2002 season was more compelling than modern F1. As I’ve said somewhere or other, I find today’s F1 technically fascinating….

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