The Bonhams Grandes Marques du Monde à Paris auction on February 2 will be filled with all manner of motorsport exotica for sale, but one emerald-green open-wheel racer will be taking center stage—the 1991 Jordan-Ford 191-6 Formula 1 car used by a very young Michael Schumacher.
During the initial practice session of his first Formula 1 appearance, Schumacher surprised all in attendance by clocking the eighth-fastest time. The car he did it in, chassis No. 191/6, will fall under the hammer barely 18 months after it was last sold by Speedmaster Cars for £1.25 million (approximately $1.53 million). Bonhams has since taken up the reigns of the new sale, with bidding estimated to accelerate to as much as $2.1 million.
“With a car so historically important in the career of one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time, this car presents an opportunity for collectors internationally to own a piece of unrepeatable Formula 1 history,” says Louis Frankel, consignment specialist at Bonhams Collector Cars. “The car is relatively simple to run compared with the Formula 1 cars of today. It comes with a pre-heater and starter, all that is needed to get the car running.”
Penned by renowned designer Gary Anderson, the 1991 Jordan-Ford 191 was the Jordan team’s first effort in Formula 1 after several successful seasons in the now-defunct Formula 3000 category. A tribute to Anderson, it was even named the “Best Looking F1 Car of All Time” by British newspaper The Daily Telegraph in 2018.
In 1991, Team 7Up Jordan drivers included veteran Andrea De Cesaris, Bertrand Gachot, Michael Schumacher, Roberto Moreno and Indycar champion Alex Zanardi. Schumacher, then competing for Mercedes in endurance races, had his one-off appearance in chassis No. 191/6 after Gachot was forced to serve an 18-month prison sentence for a traffic altercation.
Jordan brought three chassis (191/4, 191/5 and 191/6) to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit for the Belgian Grand Prix, and Schumacher immediately set to work in the 191/5, outpacing the team’s lead driver, Andrea De Cesaris, by 2.68 seconds in practice. De Cesaris immediately suspected something was amiss and switched to chassis No. 191/4 for the next session. Schumacher’s original vehicle developed mechanical issues and so he ended up in the car now on offer, but only for that session.
For the final qualifying session, the two drivers changed again. De Cesaris returned to this 191/6 and Schumacher was back behind the wheel of the 191/5. It didn’t matter, as Schumacher qualified in seventh place while managing to be 0.774 seconds faster than De Cesaris, who landed in the 11th position. During the actual race, Schumacher’s day was, unfortunately, over after two corners when his clutch failed. De Cesaris, however, just missed a debut victory for himself and the Jordan team, closing in on leader Ayrton Senna before De Cesaris had his engine expire with three laps remaining.
Schumacher’s star, though, was on the rise. He was snapped up for the very next grand prix by Benneton, a team he stayed with for the next three-and-a-half seasons and win his first two world championships with in 1994 and 1995.
There are only two examples of the 1991 Jordan-Ford 191 in existence, the other being in Michael Schumacher’s personal collection housed in his museum at the Cologne airport. As such, this sale represents an ultra-rare opportunity to own a coveted piece of Formula 1 history.
Click here for more photos of the Ex-Michael Schumacher 1991 Jordan-Ford F1 racer on offer through Bonhams.