NASCAR is probably the best-known racing series in the United States, and the Indy 500 is known as the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” But the most lucrative, popular motorsports series in the world is actually Formula One.
F1, as its commonly known, brought in $2.136 billion in revenue in 2021, MotorSport.com reported, including a one-time payoff for the cancellation of the Vietnam Grand Prix. That overall revenue number is a huge bump from the $1.45 billion in 2019, before the series was bought by Liberty Media. F1’s revenue numbers look even better for 2022, with the circuit reporting that revenue doubled to $360 million in the first quarter. NASCAR, meanwhile, tallied $100 million, while the Indy Racing League, which runs the Indy 500, brings in closer to $5 million per year.
Although Formula One is better known outside the United States, it is making inroads here. ESPN shows its races, and the Netflix series “Drive to Survive” has been quite popular, driving even more interest.
Given its relative anonymity in the U.S., Formula One’s revenue numbers would probably surprise most readers. Individual race teams can make more than $200 million in a year, so it’s no surprise that F1 drivers are, well, pretty rich. Using the data from CelebrityNetWorth, GOBankingRates compiled this list of the richest F1 drivers.
8 (tie). Martin Brundle: $100 million
Despite not winning a single Formula One race, Brundle was a successful race driver in other circuits, winning the 1990 24 Hours of Le Mans.
He’s now a successful commentator, having covered F1 races since 1997.
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8 (tie). Ralf Schumacher: $100 million
Schumacher is perhaps best known as the younger brother of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, but he was a good driver in his own right. Ralf Schumacher won six Formula One races, finishing fourth in the season standings in 2001.
Ralf Schumacher is currently a TV commentator for Sky Sports.
8. Alain Prost: $100 Million
Prost, 67, won four Formula One titles in his racing career, which ran from 1980-1991, with a one-year return in 1993.
The Frenchman became a team owner after retiring. He retired as an owner in 2022.
7. Eddie Irvine: $120 Million
Irvine, 56, raced in F1 from 1993 to 2002, finishing second in 1999. He won four races in his career before pivoting to become a media personality. A large part of his wealth comes from investments, including real estate.
6. Sebastian Vettel: $140 Million
Vettel, 34, won four consecutive F1 titles from 2010 to 2013, winning nine consecutive races in 2010 (and 13 total for the season).
The German began his career in 2006 and continues to race in 2022.
5. Jenson Button: $150 Million
Button won the 2009 Formula One championship and 15 races in his 17-year career. The British star now serves as a TV commentator and adviser to the Williams racing team.
4. Kimi Raikkonen: $250 Million
The Finnish driver certainly knew how to finish in his 20-year Formula One career, winning the 2007 title and 21 Grand Prix races.
In addition to F1, Raikkonen drove in the World Rally Championship and NASCAR. Known as “The Iceman,” he has “significant” real estate investments.
3. Fernando Alonso: $260 Million
The 40-year-old Spanish driver has been competing in Formula One since 2001, winning the season points title in 2005 and 2006. He has 32 Grand Prix victories and also has raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the IndyCar circuit.
Alonso founded a clothing retailer, Kimoa, and has several endorsement contracts.
2. Lewis Hamilton: $285 Million
Hamilton is considered by some to be the greatest driver in Formula One history. He has seven championships, tying him with the next driver on this list for the most ever. As a minority driver, Hamilton is credited with helping expand the sport’s appeal.
He has many off-track interests, from owning a vegan restaurant chain to a fashion magazine.
1. Michael Schumacher: $600 Million
Schumacher, 53, held nearly every Formula One record when he retired in 2012, including seven titles (now tied by Hamilton) and 91 wins. He had over $1 billion in career winnings.
Sadly, Schumacher suffered a severe brain injury in a skiing accident in 2013 and continues to rehab from the crash.
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