The world of motorsport is as crazy as the speeds at which the drivers drive their vehicles. While the fastest of the lot tends to speed his way to glory and fame, a single miscalculation such as a faulty gear shift or a mistimed brake push can prove to be fatal. Such is the risk that these drivers take week in and week out. And the ones who succeed in zooming past all odds not only win silverware but also amass significant fortunes.
Formula 1 (F1) is undoubtedly the most famous of all motorsports with a massive fan following. The F1 action takes place around the year and across continents, making it easier for fans from several corners of the world to witness the spectacle in front of their eyes. With huge revenues from ticket sales, sponsorships and widespread media attention, F1 most certainly ranks among the wealthiest sports in the world. It is, therefore, not a surprising revelation that the drivers associated with the sport reap huge dividends for their endless toils.
Contrary to other sports, the individual F1 Grand Prix races have no prize money on offer for drivers. Moreover, it’s the constructor teams that are rewarded with cash prizes at the end of each season based on their rankings, not the drivers who are actually responsible for the wins. So how does the sport actually pay the drivers?
Interestingly, the construction teams are the ones who are responsible for paying the drivers their salaries and incentives for their performances. While that may sound less rewarding and unfair to the drivers who practically risk their lives at every race, the teams pay most of their drivers millions of dollars annually. Coupled with their respective endorsement deals and other investments, and it’s easy to see why F1 drivers rank among the richest sportspersons in the world.
While a list compiling the richest F1 drivers of the currently active roster of drivers makes sense, it would be unfair for retired legends of the sport to be excluded from the list. Their unwavering dedication to the sport is worthy of recognition and helps underscore the significance of the sport when we talk about it paying the drivers back what they deserve.
So on that note, here’s a look at the richest F1 drivers in 2023 including both the active drivers and the retired ones who continue to enjoy the benefits of their hard work back in the day.
A look at the richest F1 drivers in 2023
Net worth in 2023: USD 600 million
Widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers in the history of F1, Michael Schumacher is a legend. The German driver, who retired in 2012, still holds the record for the most world championship titles (he shares the record with Lewis Hamilton). At the time of his retirement, Schumacher held the records for most wins (91 races), most pole positions (68 races) and most podium finishes (155 races), all of which were later broken by Hamilton. The German, however, still maintains the record for the highest number of total fastest laps in his career (77).
Throughout his career, Schumacher raced for four different constructor teams, namely Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes. Besides F1, Schumacher also participated in the coveted 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1991 with Team Sauber Mercedes, where he finished fifth.
In December 2013, Michael Schumacher suffered a near-fatal brain injury in a skiing accident. He was placed in a medically induced coma till June 2014, post which he was shifted to another hospital for further rehabilitation before finally being allowed by the doctors to return home. The former F1 driver has been receiving treatment and rehabilitating privately since then.
According to a report by Celebrity Net Worth, Michael Schumacher, in 2023, has a net worth of around USD 600 million, effectively making him the richest F1 driver in the world. He was inducted into the FIA Hall of Fame in 2017, and in 2020, was conferred with the FIA President Award as recognition of his incredible achievements.
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Net worth in 2023: USD 285 million
A legend of the motorsport world, Lewis Hamilton shares the record for the most world championship titles with Michael Schumacher (both are tied at seven wins). He is revered as the greatest ambassador of the F1 fraternity in the modern era, and his contribution to the world of motorsport is unmatched. Besides being one of the greatest drivers of all time, Hamilton is also a philanthropist who is known for his environmental work and social activism. The Briton is responsible for widening the fan following of F1 through his eccentric personality.
Now in the twilight of his illustrious racing career, the British F1 driver, at the age of 38, ranks among the richest Formula One drivers in 2023. According to reports, Lewis Hamilton enjoys a net worth of an estimated USD 285 million. Forbes also named Lewis Hamilton in its list of The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes in 2023, where he occupies the 21st position. Additionally, in 2020, Time magazine included Hamilton in its list of the world’s 100 most influential people. He was also knighted in 2021 by King (then Prince) Charles.
Net worth in 2023: USD 260 million
At the age of 42, Fernando Alonso is one of the oldest F1 drivers to be competing in 2023. Regarded as one of the greatest drivers of his generation, the Spaniard has won the world championship twice – in 2005 and 2006. He has competed in F1 with as many as five constructor teams, namely Renault, McLaren, Ferrari, Minardi and Aston Martin (who he currently races with). Besides F1, Fernando Alonso has also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice (in 2018 and 2019), the 24 Hours of Daytona once (in 2019) and the coveted FIA World Endurance Championship in 2018-19, becoming the only man to win both the F1 World Drivers’ Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship.
A winner of 32 Grand Prix races, Fernando Alonso, in 2023, has a net worth of around USD 260 million, according to reports. The Spanish driver has a consolidated annual earning of around USD 40 million and is one of the wealthiest F1 drivers in the world in 2023. He was also recognised by Forbes as one of the highest-paid athletes from 2012 to 2018.
Net worth in 2023: USD 250 million
A former world champion (in 2007), Kimi Raikkonen is one of the most renowned F1 drivers in the history of the sport. The Finnish driver enjoyed racing in the F1 circuit before he drew the curtains on his F1 career in 2021. During this time, Raikkonen raced with five constructor teams, namely Sauber, McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus and Alfa Romeo. Kimi Raikkonen is also the most successful Finnish F1 driver by several metrics and holds the record for the second-most race starts in F1’s history (349 starts). He has won a total of 21 Grand Prix races in his career.
According to reports, Kimi Raikkonen, in 2023, has a net worth of USD 250 million. At his peak, the Finnish driver earned over USD 50 million per year. In 2009, Forbes ranked Kimi Raikkonen second in its list of The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes.
Net worth in 2023: USD 210 million
The world of F1, at present, belongs to Max Verstappen.
At the age of 25, the Dutch F1 driver has taken the motorsport fraternity by storm, winning the world championship in consecutive years in 2021 and 2022. By the looks of his current form, with 12 wins in 14 Grand Prix races so far, it seems like Verstappen’s crowning moment as the world champion in 2023 is only a matter of time. Max Verstappen, in 2015, became the youngest driver to compete in F1 at the tender age of 17 years and 166 days. In his eight-year-long career, the Dutch has competed in F1 with two constructor teams, namely Scuderia Toro Rosso and its parent team, Red Bull Racing. Verstappen has won 47 Grand Prix races in his career so far.
As per the latest data, Max Verstappen, in 2023, enjoys a net worth of USD 210 million. He overtook Lewis Hamilton to become the highest-paid F1 driver of all time by virtue of his present contract with Red Bull Racing, which sees Verstappen earn a whopping USD 60 million per year. Forbes also ranked him third in its list of The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes in 2023 aged 25 and under, behind French footballer Kylian Mbappe and National Football League player Kyler Murray.
Net worth in 2023: USD 150 million
A present-day NASCAR Cup Series driver, Jenson Button won the F1 world championship in 2009 when he drove for the Brawn GP team. The British driver boasts of 15 Grand Prix wins and 306 starts in his F1 career which spanned over 17 years. After F1, Button moved on to the Super GT series and won the Autobacs Super GT Series in 2018, before joining the NASCAR Cup series earlier in 2023. Alongside Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button is one of the most decorated British motorsport racers of all time.
At the age of 43, Jenson Button ranks among the richest F1 drivers in 2023, six years after leaving the sport. According to reports, he has a net worth of an estimated USD 150 million in 2023 and owns a luxurious mansion in Santa Monica, California worth USD 5.8 million.
Net worth in 2023: USD 140 million
A four-time world champion (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013), Sebastian Vettel is best known for his neck-to-neck rivalry with Lewis Hamilton as the duo dominated a large part of the 2010s before the meteoric rise of Max Verstappen. Since 2007, the German driver has raced with five constructor teams (BMW Sauber, Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin) before retiring from F1 in 2022. Vettel holds the record for being the youngest world champion to date (in 2010) in the history of F1. He also holds the records for the third-highest number of Grand Prix wins (53 races) and podium finishes (122 races). This isn’t surprising given that Sebastian Vettel has made 299 race starts in his 15-year-long career.
According to reports, Sebastian Vettel, in 2023, has a net worth of around USD 140 million, by virtue of which he ranks among the richest F1 drivers in the world. Forbes also included him in its list of The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes in 2020 (he held the 32nd spot on that list).
Net worth in 2023: USD 120 million
Hailing from Northern Ireland, Eddie Irvine is a former F1 driver who competed in F1 between 1993 and 2002 and finished as the runner-up in the 1999 World Championship. During his nine-year-long career, Irvine raced in F1 for three different constructor teams, namely Jordan, Ferrari and Jaguar. He made 145 starts throughout his career and won four Grand Prix titles. He also finished on the podium 26 times.
Even after retiring two decades ago, Eddie Irvine continues to rank among the richest F1 drivers in 2023. According to reports, the 57-year-old has an estimated net worth of USD 120 million.
Fun fact: Eddie Irvine starred in an American romantic comedy film The Prince & Me, which also starred Julia Stiles.
Net worth in 2023: USD 100 million
A yesteryear F1 driver, Alain Prost has been the world champion on four occasions (1985, 1986, 1989 and 1993). The Frenchman held the record for most Grand Prix victories before Michael Schumacher surpassed Prost’s tally of 51 wins at the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix. During his time on the F1 circuit, Alain Prost was associated with four constructor teams as a driver, namely McLaren, Renault, Ferrari and Williams. He finished on the podium 106 times and started 33 races at the pole position. After retiring as a driver, Alain Prost bought the Ligier team from Flavio Briatore in 1997 and renamed it as Prost Grand Prix. Prost GP was eventually dissolved in 2002 due to bankruptcy.
According to reports, Alain Prost, in 2023, enjoys a net worth of around USD 100 million and ranks among the wealthiest F1 drivers in the world.
Fun fact: The French driver also competed in the Andros Trophy, an ice racing championship, from 2003 to 2012, winning the championship three times in that period.
Net worth in 2023: USD 90 million
Wrapping up the list of the richest F1 drivers in 2023 is Nigel Mansell, another yesteryear F1 driver who won the 1992 World Championship. He moved on to CART racing in 1993 and won the CART Indy Car World Series that year, becoming the first individual to win the CART title in his debut season. The Briton also holds the unique distinction of being the only individual to simultaneously hold both the World Drivers’ Championship and the American open-wheel National Championship. Nigel Mansell ranks second in the list of the most successful British F1 drivers in the history of the sport, only trailing Lewis Hamilton in terms of race wins (31 wins). The Briton has 187 starts to his name and has finished on the podium 59 times.
According to various reports, Nigel Mansell, in 2023, has a net worth of around USD 90 million. The British former F1 driver has also participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010. In 2005, Nigel Mansell was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– Who is the richest F1 driver in 2023?
Michael Schumacher is the richest F1 driver in 2023 with a net worth of around USD 600 million.
– Who has a higher net worth: Lewis Hamilton or Michael Schumacher?
Michael Schumacher has a higher net worth (USD 600 million approximately) as compared to that of Lewis Hamilton (USD 285 million approximately).
(Main Image Credits: Courtesy Instagram/@Michael Schumacher and Instagram/@Lewis Hamilton)
(Featured Image Credits: Courtesy Instagram/@Michael Schumacher)