Richest ever F1 drivers as Schumacher and Hamilton rank among top 10

Mick Schumacher drives his father’s Ferrari F2003-GA in October

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Formula 1 drivers are handsomely rewarded for not only reaching the pinnacle of motorsport but putting their lives at risk every time they step behind the wheel, with speeds exceeding 200mph regarded as the norm for these adrenaline junkies. And with races taking them around the globe for nine months of the calendar year, stars such as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen – thought to earn in excess of £40million-a-year – are usually too busy to splash the cash on lavish lifestyles, allowing their money to build up over time. But how does the Mercedes star measure up compare to F1 legends like Michael Schumacher in assessing his wealth? Express Sport looks at the top 10 richest drivers in the world.

Figures correct from January 2023. Source: GQ.

10) Alain Prost: £80.8m

With over 50 race victories and four world championship titles to his name, the Frenchman carved out a successful career racing for McLaren and Ferrari. His battles with Ayrton Senna attracted new audiences to F1 before the Brazilian’s tragic death, and Prost was a star attraction in attracting sponsorship deals.

Now 68, Prost is still seen around the paddock even after recently leaving his advisory role with Alpine and with a multi-million euro personal fortune, he can certainly afford to enjoy his retirement in style.

9) Eddie Irvine: £96.9m

The former Ferrari driver was already flushed with cash before he entered F1 after making successful investments in the property market. As recently as 2006, he was named as the fifth-richest man in Northern Ireland with a £160m net worth, although that appears to have decreased in recent years.

The four-time race winner raced with Jordan before moving to Ferrari between 1996 and 1999, finishing second in the world championship just two points behind Mika Hakkinen in 1999 after Schumacher broke his leg midway through the season.

8) Mario Andretti: £105m

To this day, Andretti remains the only racer in history to have participated in Formula One, IndyCar, Daytona 500, NASCAR and the World Sportscar Championship. With so many racing opportunities, it is little surprise Andretti has amassed a significant fortune.

His son, Michael, is the owner of Andretti Autosport, a four-time Constructors’ champion in IndyCar and winner of the Indy500. Providing such backing requires huge financial power, and with a cool £100m to spend, the 83-year-old is certainly not short of cash.

7) Sebastian Vettel: £113.1m

The German driver has lived a simple and private lifestyle away from the track and retired in 2022 to enjoy time with his family after four world championships and 53 race wins. 

But underneath the surface, the true extent of Vettel’s earnings makes him one of the wealthiest drivers around. His Ferrari contract was said to be worth an estimated £30m-a-year after leaving Red Bull and, after spending five years with the team, ended his career at Aston Martin.

His personal deals with Shell and Casio proved to be useful in boosting his finances too, with Vettel able to retire without many money worries.

6) Jenson Button: £122.2m

Button’s career took a huge turn for the better when he signed on with Brawn F1 for the 2009 season and won his only world championship. From there, he earned a huge payday with McLaren before deciding to bow out of racing in 2017.

With 15 wins and 50 podiums, he is recognised as one of the most successful British drivers around – and he can be seen these days working as a pundit for Sky Sports F1 when not racing himself.

5) Kimi Raikkonen: £147.7m

The Finn may be renowned for his no-nonsense, minimal-effort approach to F1 but he certainly enjoyed the glitz and glamour that came part and parcel with the job. 

After retiring in 2021, Raikkonen returned to race in the NASCAR series and it must be just for pure enjoyment, given his eye-watering bank balance. After spending over 20 years in racing, the ‘Iceman’ can boast of possessing an impressive fortune for his variety of yacht parties on the bay of Monaco.

4) Niki Lauda: £161.6m

Eventful would be one way to describe the life of Lauda after an extraordinary racing comeback. With three world titles, the talented Austrian came back from the brink of death after suffering burns to his skin following a horrendous crash.

But after finishing his career in F1, Lauda founded three of his own airlines and remained in the sport as Mercedes’ non-executive chairman. At the time of his death in 2019 at the age of 70, his net worth was valued at around £161.6m ($200m), with the majority of his estate being given to his children. 

3) Fernando Alonso: £210m

The chances are that if you continue to prove you can race at the age of 41 with two podiums in the 2023 season, you might just be worth it. Fernando Alonso penned a lucrative £15m-a-year deal with Aston Martin and has taken the team to new heights this season.

The two-time world champion’s timing has not always been perfect, leaving McLaren for Ferrari when the team were at their best, then returning to the British manufacturer after Ferrari improved their fortunes. Luckily for the Spaniard, he was paid a huge deal during the process – and his sponsors including Kimoa keep his funds topped up.

2) Lewis Hamilton: £230.2m

Hamilton signed a two-year deal with Mercedes worth a reported £40m-a-year to put him on an even keel with Verstappen before the Dutchman penned a long-term deal to 2028 to make him the highest-paid driver in F1.

But at 38, Hamilton’s endorsement deals and long-spanning career in F1 have allowed him to build a financial empire, making him one of the richest drivers in the world. The Briton has invested in fashion and tech projects, as well as owning a minority share in NFL franchise Denver Broncos.

And with his wealth rising to nearly a quarter of a billion pounds, the seven-time champion will surely be set up for life from his racing career.

1) Michael Schumacher: £484.7m

It certainly makes sense that, for a driver with seven world titles and a multitude of his own personal sponsorship deals, Schumacher would be the wealthiest F1 racer around.

The German, who suffered a serious head injury in a skiing accident in 2013 and has not been seen in public since is cared for by his wife Corinna at their home in Switzerland. The Schumacher family own a ranch in Texas, which is home to their horses and equestrian business, as well as an island property in Majorca.

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