Mario Andretti's F1 championship-winning Lotus 79 will go under the hammer soon. The American had used the car in 1978 to win the title by overcoming Niki Lauda and Ronnie Peterson in the title battle. The Lotus was the first car that used the ground effect technology, giving the team an advantage in the title fight.
Andretti duly clinched the title with the car and became only the second American since Phil Hill to win an F1 championship. Collectors have a chance to own chassis 79/4 that Andretti used to win the 1979 F1 Dutch GP in the penultimate race of the season.
The chassis is being sold by Bonhams. The same seller has auctioned off the 1992 Williams-Renault FW14B, the 1993 McLaren MP4/8A and the 1954 Mercedes W196R, which remains the most expensive F1 car ever sold at an auction (£19.6 million).
The Lotus is expected to fetch somewhere in the region of $6.5-9.5 million (£5.-7.8 million). If it does, that would put it third on the all-time list of cars to go under the hammer. Collectors will, however, have to wait till the 2023 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November to get their hands on the car, as it does not go on sale till then.
We've done everything that was asked of us - Andretti on F1 bid
Talking about Andretti, the former world champion's bid to join the Formula 1 grid has been thwarted regularly.
Even after the announcement of the Cadillac partnership, teams like Red Bull, Mercedes, Haas and others have not budged. In a recent interview in the March 2023 issue of Motorsport, Andretti said that his team has done everything that has been asked of it:
“We’ve done everything that was asked of us, and, so far, we’ve delivered. We are honest in our approach, and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to reach our goal; that’s what drives us. It’s what we love, and that’s not gonna change. All along, there have been headwinds, but you have to have the resolve, the relentless pursuit of your goal, and there’s always the opportunity to succeed."
It remains to be seen what happens in the future. If an equitable approach is framed together, that could see the teams on the grid finding an 11th team in the sport profitable, which would give the Andretti project the green light it seeks.