If you’re like me and got sucked into the drama of Formula 1 racing after binge watching Drive to Survive on Netflix during 2020 and you love to collect cards, it may have crossed your mind to start collecting Formula 1 trading cards. While always a popular sport with over 400 million viewers worldwide, it took a reality show to really hook the American public.
According to the New York Post, viewership of F1 races on ESPN has nearly doubled since Drive to Survive premiered in 2019. Sunday, May 8, 2022 saw the debut of the Miami Grand Prix with reported ticket prices averaging $2,414 for the race on SeatGeek and significantly higher on the secondary market. So now that we are all superfans, can we get into the F1 card market or have we already been priced out? If you've been watching the F1 card auctions on Goldin this year, you might think so.
F1 trading cards have been around for quite awhile starting with sticker cards and albums created by Panini in the 1980s featuring some of the greats such as Lauda and Senna. Later Futera was licensed to produce cards for a few years in the 1990s and 2000s featuring the likes of Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso who is still racing.
In 2020, Topps came on the scene and elevated the market with their Attax, Chrome, Chrome Sapphire, and Dynasty series. You can find an in depth look at the ins and outs of these cards on F1-Nut. These cards are on fire, especially those featuring Lewis Hamilton (7 time Driver World Champion) and Max Verstappen (winner of the 2022 Miami Grand Prix) who battled it out in 2021 for the Championship coming to a dramatic and controversial end at Abu Dhabi. Those Hamilton fans of us out there are still a little salty about it. Anyway...
With a PSA 7 2020 Topps Chrome Lewis Hamilton selling for a record setting $900,000 on Goldin Auctions in April 2022, the big names may (definitely) be out of reach for most of us, especially the refractor variations, high profile Rookie cards, and autograph cards. The refractor variations feature an alternate image of the racer on the refractor (shiny rainbow) background and are limited in production. Beckett has a good guide for spotting 2020 Topps Chrome Formula 1 Variations versus the base versions. If you believe in the future of the sport, the cards are worth investing in, particularly drivers that you like or predict will do well in the future. Drive to Survive has made us all feel like industry insiders capable of predicting the next racing legend or calling the winner of the next Constructor Championship. Put that knowledge to use and consider collecting drivers who might not garner a lot of attention right now (aka affordable) and maybe they'll be the next Charles Leclerc or George Russel coming up through the ranks and rising to the top (Leclerc is the current points leader). Raw cards are the cheaper way to go but do not have the same guarantee of condition that graded cards do in terms of condition. As with all collecting, you want to keep an eye out for good deals from reputable sellers and collect the things you like, believe in the value of, or can leverage to trade up to cards you really want.