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What Happens to an F1 Car at the End of Every Season?

All eyes are on our race cars during the season, but what happens to those cars after the racing stops?

We chatted to our Heritage Team to find out more.

Visiting our heritage facility is like stepping into a time capsule of Formula 1 history. As you walk through the doors, you are greeted by the sight of iconic race cars that have left their mark on the sport. The memorable cars of past and present Mercedes drivers such as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas stand side by side.

F1 evolves so quickly that a chassis is classified as 'heritage' as soon as it completes its final lap of the final race of the season.

Some parts help with future designs and builds in the factory. Others may end up with partners or be displayed at our Brackley and Brixworth homes.

One factor remains the same though, and that’s heritage. All parts go to our heritage system. We check if older cars can use those parts, if they can be used for future development, or if they are no longer needed. Whatever the decision, efficiency is at the heart of it – making sure we get the most out of every component.

Inside Our Heritage Facility: Pictures

The best way to look after our cars is to allow them to do what they do best: run

All departments work together at the factory to ensure a smooth flow of car parts, taking pressure off the present by removing non-current components to allow development to focus purely on the immediate future. Everything that comes to heritage is logged, listed and given a storage location for easy retrieval. From the chassis to the bolts, we chart the journey of everything under one roof.

The best way to look after our cars is to allow them to do what they do best: run. Every single car we have is fired up every year, but it’s about so much more than simply hearing the glories of the past echo around our heritage walls.

It’s a detailed annual service, using the same processes we use trackside week-in, week-out to ensure everything remains in peak condition and ready to go should we wish to turn back the clocks. It may look like a 10-year-old car sat on display for posterity, but it’s actually a 10-year-old car ready to hit the track in 2023.

You never know when or where a demo run might be needed like in Las Vegas in 2022, or what gems from the archives we’ll be delighting the crowds of Goodwood Festival of Speed with thanks to the W02 and Mick Schumacher.

Our Heritage facility is currently home to over 1,000,000 car parts

First opened in 2016, our heritage programme houses every one of our previous F1 cars back to 2010, from W01 to W13 and is a treasure chest of significant moments from our and F1’s recent history.

There's nowhere else in the world where you'd find the winning model of Nico Rosberg from China 2012, Lewis Hamilton in Hungary 2013, Valtteri Bottas in Russia 2017 and George Russell in Brazil 2022. Michael Schumacher’s W03 from his final trip to an F1 podium at Valencia in 2012 also sits proudly in our possession. All considered classics among the motorsport community.

It's not just about the cars and the parts. We understand the importance of preserving the memories and achievements of each season. That's why we carefully curate a wide range of memorabilia, including trophies, race suits, helmets, and even archive material like drawings and setup sheets.

Our heritage is not just a collection of objects; it's a living, breathing testament to the passion and dedication of everyone involved in the team.

Our team's mission is not only to create history but also to ensure that it's never forgotten. We strive to inspire future generations of motorsport enthusiasts, reminding them of the incredible legacy that has been built over the years.