To have amassed a fortune of £50 million is impressive. To have done it by 26 years old is nothing short of miraculous! The Sunday Times recently published its annual Sport Rich List (UK and Ireland only), and the McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton is certainly on the money.
Hamilton is paid 2.5x as much as his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button (£15m vs £6m per year). Ouch. That works out at just under £800,000 per race for Hamilton, and just over £300,000 for Button (assuming there is no Bahrain grand prix this season). Read and weep, footballers of the world. Hamilton also earns a tidy sum of pocket money on top of his salary through his promotional work with the Santander banking group. Button features in a dodgy Head & Shoulders advert.
Former McLaren driver, and new BBC F1 commentator, David Coulthard is worth the same as Hamilton. We don’t imagine he earns a fortune from the commentating gig, but he did sell a Monaco hotel last year so things aren’t too tight in the Coulthard clan.
All the drivers live in exile, tax-exile that is: Hamilton in Zurich, Button in Guernsey, and Coulthard in Monaco (how generic!). When you’re that rich and globally-mobile, tax is apparently optional.
Who’d have guessed that the mildly irritating ex-Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine could be so loaded? £80m! Best known for almost winning the championship in 1999, Irvine took his vast riches from Formula 1 and invested it in property. He even owns the modestly-named ‘Eddie Irvine Sports’ complex in Northern Ireland, complete with its own indoor karting track.
Jody Scheckter may not be a household name these days, but the ex-McLaren and Ferrari driver is certainly raking in the cash with a £60m fortune. He caused carnage at the 1973 British grand prix (check out the video below), and later went on to win a world title in 1979 with Ferrari. These days Jody can be found tending to his organic farm in Hampshire – rock and roll!
Despite appearances, former Williams driver Nigel Mansell is worth a stonking £50 million! The grandad-style burgundy cardigan sported in a recent advert suggested that the legendary driver might be short on cash – but with a £3m private jet and a £5.8m home, he’s clearly nowhere near the bread-line.
Damon Hill won the championship in a Williams in 1996 – but since last year he’s managed to lose £1 million. It seems unlikely to have been lost down the back of the sofa. Perhaps Hill should reignite his Pizza Hut endorsement?
Winning Formula: the richest drivers in 2011
- Johnny Dumfries (£110m)
- Eddie Irvine (£80m)
- Jody Scheckter (£60m)
- David Coulthard (£50m) / Lewis Hamilton (£50m) / Nigel Mansell (£50m)
- Jenson Button (£48m)
- Sir Jackie Stewart (£41m)
- Jonathan Palmer (£32m)
- Damon Hill (£19m)