Raikkonen's 'vanishing act' McLaren up for sale


The McLaren MP4/21 that Kimi Raikkonen famously 'abandoned' at the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix is being offered for sale.

Powered by Mercedes' a naturally-aspirated 2.4-litre V8 power unit developing 750bhp at 19,000rpm - the chrome liveried MP4/21 was Woking team's contender for the 2006 Formula 1 season.

With Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya as its drivers, the British team had high hopes for the needle-nosed MP4/21 designed under Adrian Newey's technical directorship and the Finn did not disappoint, delivering a podium finish at the opening race in Bahrain, racing through the field after starting 22nd and last on the grid after crashing in qualifying.

Having been struck from behind on the opening lap in Malaysia and forced into an early retirement, Raikkonen was back on the podium in Australia, setting the fastest lap as he attempted to chase down the leading Renault of victor Fernando Alonso in the closing stages.

Those results followed by four further top six finishes in the San Marino, European (Nurburgring), Spanish and French Grands Prix were all achieved in chassis '02', the MP4/21 being sold.

For all its impressive finishes, however, the car is probably most famous for its celebrated non-finish in Monaco.

From third on the grid, Raikkonen had risen to second - again behind Alonso - but was forced to retire during a safety car period after a wiring loom caught fire.

In classic Kimi style, the supercool Finn opted not to head back to his McLaren team's pits but, much to the amusement of all, instead ambled off to spend the rest of the race aboard a superyacht in Monaco's glamorous harbour. This typically unconcerned moment from 'The Iceman' has gone down in Formula 1 folklore.

The MP4/21 was the final McLaren raced by Raikkonen who left the team at the end of the 2006 season to join Ferrari - a move which took him to the 2007 drivers' title.

Since making its final Grand Prix appearance at Magny Cours for the French Grand Prix in July 2006, chassis '02' has been extensively restored by McLaren and remained within the company's heritage collection until being sold to its current owner in 2021.

The MP4/21, which is estimated to sell for $2.5 - $3.5 million will join Mario Andretti’s title winning 1978 John Player Special Type 79, which is estimated to sell for $6.5 - $9.5 million.

The sale will be staged at the Yas Marina Circuit during the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.

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Published: 12/08/2023
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