Nothing in Formula 1 racing comes cheap. The tickets are expensive, the teams have enormous multi-million-dollar budgets, the cars themselves cost millions to develop and the drivers regularly rank among the highest-paid sportsmen in the world. So it stands to reason that not even a book about F1 would come cheap, either.
Opus is a publishing house that creates luxurious tomes in tribute to all manner of sports icons. The Official Formula 1 Opus sells, in its “basic” edition, for $3,200. That's a lot to spend on a book, no matter how rare, but that's only the starting price. Upgrade to the Legends edition, complete with the signatures of several former world champions, and you'll be parting with $16k. Not enough? The Champions edition comes in a box made of carbon fiber — the same material pioneered for the construction of F1 race cars — for a princely $32k. But even that's not the top of the list.
The publisher recently announced “The Bernie,” an even more exclusive edition of the book that measures 16 inches by 16 inches, stands eight inches thick, weighs 77 pounds and is made up of 850 pages of original photography — 1,200 images in all, many of which have never been seen before. But the book itself is only the starting point.
What really sets “The Bernie” apart is the all-access pass it comes with. The owner will get his own table in the Paddock Club at every grand prix this season, a red pass to walk the pit lane for himself and three guests, and the opportunity to take tea with Bernie Ecclestone himself. Because in case you hadn't guessed, that's who the book is named after — the billionaire businessman who runs Formula 1 and whose life the owner of this book will get to emulate for the year.
Of course that kind of access and exclusivity doesn't come cheap. Only one example of this book and its accompanying privileges will be offered, and bidding starts at $1M.
“It might seem like a large sum of money,” says Karl Fowler, the CEO of Opus Media, “but with The Bernie you’re getting a great deal more than just an exceptional book — you’re getting absolute carte blanche to go anywhere and do anything, within reason, at every race throughout the season. It’s a freedom that, generally speaking, simply can’t be bought.”