It’s no secret that F1 has money and that almost everyone directly involved has money, so the drivers making a killing is no surprise, in fact, it’s common knowledge. But who is the richest F1 driver of all time? Not who has the highest salary, but whose net worth, with all their endorsements, investments, and so on, makes them the richest of all time?
All figures are in AUD unless specified otherwise.
10. Alain Prost - $148.2 million (US$100 million)
While he won four World Championships and is considered one of the greatest drivers of the 80s, he didn’t get all his cash from racing. Well, it was from racing, but he was also the owner of his own team, Prost Grand Prix, and after his retirement he was a technical advisor for McLaren and Renault. Reportedly, he was pretty successful at investing on the stock market as well.
9. Eddie Irvine - $177.9 million (US$120 million)
While there is certainly money to be made racing, many drivers already came from wealth before they joined the grid. Take Eddie Irvine for example, he earned about $74 million racing for Ferrari in the 90s, but he made most of his money on property investment before he joined F1. The North Irishman owns around 50 flats and houses around the world.
8. Mario Andretti - $192.7 million (US$130 million)
As it turns out, you earn quite a bit of dough being one of only two drivers in history to win races in F1, Daytona 500, IndyCar, Nascar, and the World Sportscar Championship. Since retirement however, Mario Andretti owns a chain of petrol stations in Northern California, and a Napa Valley vineyard that distributes 30,000 cases per year.
7. Sebastian Vettel - $207.6 million (US$140 million)
During his time at Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel was earning a salary of $59 million, and even at Aston Martin he was earning $22 million per year. Again though, as is the trend of most of this list, it is their endorsements off the track that has earned him some extra cash. These include endorsements for brands like Casio, Infiniti, and Pepe Jeans.
6. Jenson Button - $222.4 million (US$150 million)
Jenson Button was taking home $24.4 million a year during his time at McLaren, and given he raced there for 8 seasons, this salary brought the majority of his net worth. However, he also has investment properties across the U.K and Bahrain.
5. Niki Lauda - $296.5 million (US$200 million)
Niki Lauda, having been the only driver to become a World Champion for both Ferrari and McLaren is a feat in itself and results like that will bring in the cash. When he returned to the grid in 1982 with McLaren, his salary, adjusting for inflation, was equivalent to roughly $12 million USD per year. His extensive driving career no doubt added to his net worth but founding and eventually selling two airlines certainly would have helped.
4. Kimi Räikkönen - $370.6 million (US$250 million)
Kimi Räikkönen was not only one of the highest paid Formula 1 drivers at his peak, he was one of the world’s highest paid athletes period. Across his career he earned, on average, abour $25 million USD per year. At his peak with Ferrari, he was earning around $50 million USD per year. While he would have certainly been comfortable with his race earnings alone, he also has investment properties in Thailand, Finland, and a $24 million USD home in Baar, Switzerland.
3. Fernando Alonso - $385.5 million (US$260 million)
Much like Räikkönen, Fernando Alonso has had a long and successful career in F1. In his final season with McLaren, his salary was estimated around $49 million. In addition, he has deals with brands like Citibank, Pirelli, and Adidas, as well as his own streetwear brand Kimoa that launched in 2017.
2. Lewis Hamilton - $422.6 million (US$285 million)
Lewis Hamilton has brought home $74 million a year with Mercedes, and while that figure has dropped in 2022, it’s didn’t drop very much. He earns a staggering amount racing, but he also takes home about $12 million USD per year from endorsements with Puma, Tommy Hilfiger, Bose, Sony, Petronas, and many more. Not only that, but he has property investments valued at $130 million USD, a burger chain worth $70 million USD, and a stake in the grocery delivery service, Zapp.
1. Michael Schumacher - $889.6 million (US$600 million)
He’s possibly the greatest driver of all time, he held almost every F1 record until he retired in 2012, including seven world titles! At his peak, he was making $100 million USD per year at Ferrari. You don’t get to be the best without having something to show for it.