Monterey 2024

2006 McLaren-Mercedes MP4-21 Formula 1

United States | Monterey, California

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Chassis No.
21A-03
FIA No.
16290
Documents
Bill of Sale Only
  • One of the very first Formula One cars tested by then 21-year-old Lewis Hamilton upon his signing with McLaren-Mercedes in fall of 2006
  • Among the few F1 cars outside of a factory collection that is documented to haven been driven by Lewis Hamilton
  • Driven by Juan Pablo Montoya in the first three races of the 2006 Formula One season
  • Designed under the technical directorship of the great Adrian Newey; this was Newey’s final season with the McLaren-Mercedes team
  • The first McLaren model powered by a Mercedes-Benz FO108S 2.4-liter naturally aspirated V-8 originally rated to produce 750 hp at a spine-tingling 19,000 rpm
  • Fully restored in 2019 by McLaren Racing Heritage and accompanied by McLaren Certificate of Authenticity
Addendum: Please note that an import duty of 2.5% of the purchase price is payable on this lot if the buyer is a resident of the United States.

Following a successful 2005 season in which McLaren-Mercedes finished 2nd in the Formula One World Constructors’ Championship, with drivers Kimi Räikkönen finishing 2nd and Juan Pablo Montoya 4th in the Drivers’ Championship, the team looked to further build on those achievements going into 2006. McLaren-Mercedes retained both team drivers for the 2006 season, with team sponsorship moving to Emirates and Johnnie Walker.

With the advent of a new season came a new car, the MP4-21. Designed by Adrian Newey, Tim Goss, Peter Prodromou, Paddy Lowe, and Mike Caughlan, the MP4-21 featured new aero with a familiar “needle-nose” front reminiscent of the 2004 MP4-19; the switch to a V-8 power unit for the 2006 season also permitted a more compact rear end treatment. In total, Mercedes-McLaren claimed that 90% of the car had been redesigned or refined compared to the previous season’s MP4-20. This new model made its on-track debut in January 2006 during testing at Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Along with a comprehensive redesign, the Mercedes partnership was further bolstered with the MP4-21 being the first McLaren powered by a Mercedes-Benz engine, the FO108S. This 2.4-liter naturally aspirated V-8 was backed by a seven-speed McLaren transmission, and produced 750 horsepower at a spine-tingling 19,000 rpm. The prior season’s V-10 powerplant had been an Ilmor/Mercedes collaboration. Tires were provided by Michelin and fuel by Mobil.

Significantly, the MP4-21 represented the last McLaren-Mercedes car to be designed under the technical directorship of the great Adrian Newey, as he would depart for Red Bull Racing shortly after the MP4-21 made its on-track debut. Furthermore, in the fall of 2006 it was the first model tested by future phenom and eventual seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton in his Formula one debut.

CHASSIS NUMBER 21A-03

This car, chassis 21A-03, was campaigned by McLaren-Mercedes team driver Juan Pablo Montoya in the first three races of the 2006 F1 season. In its first race at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Juan Pablo Montoya qualified 5th. Despite being toward the front of the pack, and even leading the race for four laps, he would go on to finish 5th ahead of Williams-Cosworth team drivers Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg. In the next race, the Malaysian Grand Prix, Juan Pablo Montoya qualified 6th, ahead of teammate Kimi Räikkönen. Montoya would climb as high as 3rd but spent most of the race in 4th, which is where he would eventually finish—ahead of Ferrari team drivers Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher.

In what would be the car’s final race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, Juan Pablo Montoya qualified 5th and would climb his way up the grid, spending eight laps in 3rd, before eventually retiring after lap 46 due to an electrical problem caused by running wide over a curb. After fixing the car its last documented team use was four races later, as a T-car at the Monaco Grand Prix for Montoya.

Following Monaco, Montoya would compete in three more races for McLaren-Mercedes. After the United States Grand Prix, Montoya made the decision to leave the team, moving to NASCAR for a seat with Chip Ganassi Racing. Pedro de la Rosa would fill Montoya’s seat for the rest of the season in F1 with McLaren-Mercedes. In his shortened season Montoya would finish 8th in the World Drivers’ Championship, teammate Kimi Räikkönen would finish 5th, and McLaren-Mercedes would finish 3rd in the World Constructors’ Championship. Räikkönen would move on in 2007 to Ferrari and the open seats at McLaren-Mercedes were filled by Fernando Alonso—and newcomer Lewis Hamilton—for the 2007 Formula One season.

Future seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton made his official announcement to join McLaren-Mercedes in November 2006, however, McLaren records indicate his internal debut started slightly earlier. When only 21 years old, Hamilton tested chassis 21A-03 in October of 2006 at both Elvington and Jerez in consecutive weeks. This chassis was tested once more in November 2006 and once in January 2007 before being retired from competition use. Chassis 21A-03 was further retained for many years by McLaren, as evidenced by a plate in the car’s tub. In 2019, chassis 21A-03 was fully restored by McLaren Racing Heritage. The car is accompanied by a McLaren Certificate of Authenticity outlining its race use for the McLaren-Mercedes team in addition to confirming its restoration. The car was restored to functional specification, retaining its engine, gearbox, onboard computer, and steering wheel. With proper race support, this MP4-21 could be used in on-track exhibitions or in vintage racing.

With the global popularity of Formula One growing substantially of late, race-used chassis with known provenance have become quite sought-after among collectors. This factory-restored example, with running gear and known history—and having been one of the very first Formula One cars ever driven by Lewis Hamilton—is no exception. With Hamilton winning his first World Championship only one year after his debut in 2007, his early testing experience in the Adrian Newey-designed MP4-21 certainly played a part in his F1 development.

A rare offering by any measure, extremely few documented Lewis Hamilton Formula One cars exist for collectors outside of Factory collections. Chassis no. 21A-03 represents a wonderful opportunity to purchase a restored, usable McLaren-Mercedes team car—from the final year of Adrian Newey’s technical directorship and driven in period testing by Lewis Hamilton in his first and Juan Pablo Montoya in his final year of Formula 1 competition—with boundless potential, and unlimited thrills, in store for its next caretaker.