F1 Authentics might not be so authentic

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F1 Authentics

F1 Authentics is an online auction website run by The Memento Group, a team that includes former F1 mechanics, but it might not be so authentic after all.

Endorsed by F1, the site sells official Formula 1 memorabilia from F1 team car parts used in races, to helmets and race suits worn by drivers, to signed memorabilia.

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For F1 fanatics, it’s a rare opportunity to own a piece of the action from the track. However, some fans are questioning the legitimacy of some items sold by F1 Authentics with numerous reports of people receiving items different from what they ordered.

“F1 Authentics sold me fake Vettel gloves”

In October 2021, Reddit user sideb60 purchased a set of gloves worn by Sebastien Vettel at the Bahrain GP – his first race with Aston Martin. The gloves arrived five months later and were not signed by Vettel as originally advertised.

To make matters worse, the user claims they were sent replicas - not the real Vettel-worn gloves they thought they were buying.

In the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix, Vettel wore gloves with green accents carrying number five. Instead, they received gloves with pink accents not matching Vettel's gloves worn in Bahrain.

Credit: Sideb60 / Reddit

A sponsorship deal with BWT meant the design was changed to pink from the second race in Imola, suggesting the gloves sold by F1 Authentic were replicas. Adding to this, the Reddit user says they were “way too clean to be race-worn.”

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Unhappy with their purchase, they complained to F1 Authentics. After “many back and forth emails,” they received a letter certifying the authenticity of the gloves.

However, the letter was full of inaccuracies, claiming the gloves were signed by Vettel when they were not. It also referred to race boots as well as gloves when the user only bought gloves. 

After receiving the letter, the Reddit user found a set of Bahrain GP 2021 gloves for sale on eBay that appeared authentic and bought them to compare. “You can clearly see the difference, and in my opinion F1 Authentics has sent something they falsely claim to be from the Bahrain GP and doesn't even look race-worn.”

F1 Authentics Vettel gloves comparison
Credit: Sideb60 / Reddit

With the Reddit thread attracting a lot of publicity, the user was contacted by an Aston Martin representative, who explained that race-wear sold by F1 Authentics is genuine and not replicas.

He also clarified that drivers use multiple sets of race-wear on race weekends, meaning that F1 Authentics get a set and the others are sent to family members, friends, or kept by Vettel.

Aston Martin also confirmed the pink gloves were not worn in Bahrain and apologised for the mistake. To resolve this, Aston Martin worked with F1 Authentics to send Vettel’s gloves from the Dutch GP and arrange for him to sign them at Monza.

“I'm super happy with the outcome and having now got a pair of genuine signed gloves I can say it's restored some confidence in F1 Authentics," the user wrote on Reddit. "Hopefully they've learned some lessons from this and their customer service will improve in future.”

Not so authentic?

While this case was eventually resolved, it's not the first time this has happened.

In August, another Reddit user bought Zhou Guanyu 2022 Race-used C42 Bodywork. Suspecting they were sent the wrong part, they discovered it was taken from the C41.

F1 Authentics Zhou Guanyu 2022 Race-used C42 Bodywork

After contacting Sauber Group and F1 Authentics, the user believes they were sent bodywork from the C41 that Zhou used for pre-testing in Abu Dhabi last year and the part was "wrongly labelled" on F1 Authentics.

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Another Reddit user bought a 2020 Renault F1 Team RS20 carbon fibre sidepod for $3,454 CAD (around £2,400) – including $1,074 CAD shipping. Not only did F1 Authentics allegedly send the wrong part, but it was also poorly packaged with “one layer of bubble wrap and black plastic.”

F1 Authentics Zhou Guanyu 2022 Race-used C42 Bodywork
Credit: F1_Yeah / Reddit

Without sufficient protection, the part was badly damaged, delivered full of cracks and folding everywhere. “It looks like I picked it out of a dumpster after someone took a hammer to it,” the user wrote on Reddit. In response, F1 Authentics offered a discount or exchange.

“They will not refund it unless I send it back and package it ‘properly’” the user wrote. “They demand that I am responsible for any damage in transit. I've told them they are welcome to collect it, but they won't. This is shameful and reflects very badly on F1 and Renault/Alpine.”

F1 Authentics Tweet

The saga continues. A lengthy Twitter thread by user EngineMode11, a former Red Bull Racing engineer, highlights other recent examples of customers receiving defective or incorrect parts from F1 Authentics.

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One customer allegedly received a 2019 Racing Point wing with several parts missing. Another bought a 2019 HAAS Bargeboard, only to receive a 2018 Bargeboard instead.

It's a shame to see F1 fans experiencing these issues with F1 Authentics. While we can't verify the issues highlighted, we hope fans are able to get what they paid for.