Michael Schumacher’s first race-winning F1 steering wheel, with which he took a famous debut victory at the 1992 Belgium Grand Prix, goes up for an online auction today.
An integral part of the Benetton B192 with which Schumacher established himself as a grand prix winner, the steering wheel is an – almost – priceless piece of F1 history.
Further adding to its value, the steering wheel has also been signed by the 7-times F1 champion.
“This wheel represents the genesis of Schumacher’s story”
The lot is part of the F1 Authentics’ ‘Icons of F1 Auction’, which opens today. Their CRM manager, David Lloyd, stressed the historical and sporting significance of the piece.
“This wheel represents the genesis of Schumacher’s story,” he said. “His almost unbridled success began as he crossed the line at Belgium in 1992.”
Bidding for the lot opens on March 7, with the reserve set at £12,000. The historic F1 component is therefore guaranteed to far outstrip the selling price of a similar item, Schumacher’s 1994 signed steering wheel, sold at Sotheby’s for €7,200 in 2019.
Lining up at Spa-Francorchamps in ’92, the same track at which he’d made his sensational debut the year before, the young German started 3rd on the grid, 2.6sec off poleman Nigel Mansell in the all-conquering Williams FW14B.
The Benetton driver ran in P3 on a damp track until lap 30, when a small error led to an inspired pit call.
Pushing hard, Schumacher ran off track and lost a place to fellow Benetton driver Martin Brundle.
Rejoining the track and running close behind the British driver, Schumacher noticed his team-mate’s wet tyres were blistering.
This prompted the German to make the call to come in and take dry rubber before anyone else, believing he could make the difference.
He was right. Mansell pitted three laps later, but Schumacher had made enough hay that, when it all shook out, it was the Benetton in the lead.
Brundle would later comment on how impressed he was by Schumacher’s quick-thinking.
“It’s those pivotal moments that make the difference between being good and being great,” he said.
“I think that story shows the mental capacity he had – even then, in his first full F1 season – to drive an F1 car on the ragged edge and at the same time think analytically about what was going on around him.”
Schumacher’s plan initially only served him so well, as Mansell used his William’s superior speed to close back in.
However, a misfiring engine would put paid to the Brit’s chances, allowing Schumacher to run unchallenged to a famous victory.
He became the first German driver to win an F1 race since Jochen Mass in 1975, a first step towards taking 7 titles and entering the annals of grand prix legend.
Schumacher would go on to win a further five times at Spa, describing it as “far and away my favourite circuit”.
The steering wheel is not the only piece of historic grand prix memorabilia being auctioned by F1 Authentics.
The Icons of F1 auction opens today on F1Authentics.com. Bidding for Michael Schumacher’s signed 1992 Benetton B192 steering wheel begins on March 7, and ends March 29.