The best F1 drivers have a net worth that can rival any of the highest-earning athletes in the world, and these drivers have accrued more wealth than anyone else over the years.
While some command huge salaries, others have combined that with business acumen and turn their millions into tens and even hundreds of millions – even while contributing through philanthropic activities.
We won’t keep you waiting any longer, so here is a look at the F1 drivers who are reported to have the highest net worths in the sport’s history, in US dollars, with Alain Prost having been bumped off the list by the reigning World Champion in 2024 – if net worth predictions around him are correct.
10 – Eddie Irvine, $117.3m [£92.5m]
Former Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine was a strong presence in the paddock and came closest to title glory in 1999, fighting against ‘Flying Finn’ Mika Hakkinen at McLaren, with Michael Schumacher relegated to a support role after a mid-season leg break.
While he would have been earning a handsome salary with the Scuderia, the majority of his wealth has been accrued through a series of property investments.
9 – Mario Andretti, $127m [£100.1m]
A legend of motorsport across multiple disciplines, Mario Andretti has seen corners named in his honour and is welcome in any paddock in the world.
All that success has come with a lucrative bonus, with Andretti having won F1 and IndyCar titles, along with victories in both the Daytona and Indianapolis 500 – as one of only three drivers to win races in F1, IndyCar, NASCAR and the World Sportscar Championship.
8 – Sebastian Vettel, $136.9m [£107.9m]
The four-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel famously kept a low profile away from the track, until he created an Instagram account only to announce his retirement as his first ever post on social media.
He commanded one of the highest salaries in the sport until then because of his on-track success, and is known to have several historic F1 cars in his collection – with big endorsements from brands such as Shell adding to his salary.
7 – Jenson Button, $146.6m [£115.6m]
Jenson Button was reportedly one of Formula 1’s highest earners even before he won his World Championship in 2009, and a lucrative move to McLaren followed a year later.
He now boasts an investment property portfolio, with a sponsorship with Mobil 1 keeping him behind the wheel in selected events, and alongside TV punditry work he also works as a senior advisor to the team which handed him his F1 debut, Williams.
6 – Kimi Raikkonen, $178.4m [£140.6m]
Having been able to command one of the sport’s biggest salaries in his peak years, Kimi Raikkonen is also believed to have invested in property in his native Finland as well as abroad.
He is now helping his son Robin begin his own journey on the motorsport ladder, having started out in karting in 2023, and Raikkonen’s net worth will have been a result of almost two decades of competing at the highest level.
5 – Niki Lauda, $195.5m [£154.1m]
Now sadly no longer with us, Niki Lauda was also a brilliantly astute business mind as well as a world-class racing driver.
The three-time World Champion went on to found and subsequently sell two different airlines as part of his business dealings, alongside keeping his hand in the F1 paddock through being a Ferrari consultant, team principal of Jaguar and then the highly-successful non-executive chairman of Mercedes – convincing one Lewis Hamilton to sign with the team.
He also wrote five books and was no stranger to the odd cameo in TV or films, prior to his death in 2019 aged 70.
4 – Max Verstappen, up to $210m [£165.5m]
Max Verstappen appeared among Forbes’ highest-paid athletes in the world in 2023 and has ranked as Formula 1’s highest-paid driver for the past two years, according to the business magazine, due to his unprecedented success in that time.
Coupled with a mega deal with Red Bull that sees him through until 2028 on a salary that already puts him among the top earners in the sport, his bonuses saw him reportedly earn $70m alone in 2023.
Alongside that, Verstappen is an ambassador for EA Sports, has a host of personal sponsors and is investing in creating his own GT team.
3 – Fernando Alonso, $260m [£205m]
Fernando Alonso has earned a place as one of F1’s most expensive drivers to hire, and for good reason given what he is able to do behind the wheel.
He has looked to give back to motorsport where he can, having opened the Fernando Alonso Sports Complex in his native Asturias in Spain featuring a museum and karting circuit in his name.
He also acts as an agent for the next generation, under A14 Management, looking to bring talented drivers through to Formula 1 if he can.
2 – Lewis Hamilton, $285m [£224.7m]
Having been one of F1’s biggest earners since his move to Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton has taken a place near the top of the tree for a reason – with seven World Championships to his name to show for it.
He has re-invested by starting initiatives such as Mission 44 and the Hamilton Commission, aimed at improving representation for traditionally under-represented backgrounds in motorsport.
Also one of the most marketable drivers in the sport, high-profile deals with the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, IWC, Bose and a huge amount of others over the years will have supplemented his income.
Alongside his income, Hamilton was fifth in the Sunday Times’ ‘Giving List’ in 2022, having reportedly given 6.7% of his wealth – or around £20million – to charitable causes based around youth, education and employment in a single year.
1 – Michael Schumacher, $586.5m [£462.5m]
For two years in 1999 and 2000, Forbes labelled Michael Schumacher as the highest-paid athlete in the world, and in 2005 EuroBusiness magazine predicted he was the world’s first billionaire athlete (yes, with a B).
Well-known for his huge donations to charity and people in need alongside his high earnings, Schumacher was later listed by Forbes in 2017 as the fifth-highest paid athlete of all time, in terms of career earnings.
He has not been seen publicly since a life-altering skiing accident in 2013, with his condition kept a closely guarded secret by his family.
[Initial figures compiled by GQ Australia, with current F1 drivers’ figures compiled through a combination of reported figures]