Billionaire Toto Wolff is by far the wealthiest Formula 1 team principal currently serving, in fact, all of them put together are not worth what the Mercedes boss has in ‘the bank’ according to Forbes.
This piece was prompted by thoughts of Lord Acton’s astute observations two centuries ago: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.
“Despotic power is always accompanied by corruption of morality. Authority that does not exist for Liberty is not authority but force. Everybody likes to get as much power as circumstances allow, and nobody will vote for a self-denying ordinance. Absolute power demoralizes.”
Extreme perhaps, but we do live in a world where power means money, and money means power. Good timing and pertinent as we take stock of an F1 that is booming, on all fronts with those involved reaping massive rewards, depending of course how many fingers (and toes) are in the F1 paddock pies.
Here’s an overview of who are the richest team principals in F1 with comparisons to other key, and high-profile figures in the top flight of motorsport. Barring one (noted below) the figures were sourced from Forbes, which publishes go-to lists of global earners from all walks of life.
Sourced from Forbes: Net worth of F1 Team bosses as of 2023:
Toto Wolff $1.6-Billion
Zak Brown $120-Million
Christian Horner $50-Million
Alessandro Alunni Bravi $5-Million
Guenther Steiner $5-Million
Franz Tost $5-Million
James Vowles $5-Million
Fred Vasseur $3-Million
Andrea Stella $1.5-Million
According to Forbes, Wolff’s fortune went from $ 1-Billion to $ 1.6 billion during the course of the past year. An astute businessman who led Mercedes during their record-breaking run of 15 F1 world championship titles in eight years. Now fallen on hard times, for a once so dominant team, the Austrian 51-year-old still remains one of the most powerful figures in the F1 paddock.
His McLaren counterpart, Zak Brown is not the F1 team principal but the company’s CEO. However, he does appear to be involved and even makes the big calls. Ultimately the buck stops with him. The American has a passion for iconic race cars, a fabulous collection which is sure to contribute a fair wad to his fortune.
The worth of the real Big Bucks Barons that have been involved with F1 over the years:
☩ Dietrich Mateschitz $27.4 Billion [at time of passing May 2022]
John Malone $9.9 Billion
Lawrence Stroll $3.6 Billion
Bernie Ecclestone $2.9-Billion
John Elkann 1.7-Billion
Gregory B Maffei $793-Million
Ron Dennis, Eddie Jordan $600-Million
Flavio Briatore $400-Million
Michael Andretti $130 Million
Stefano Domenicali $120-Million
Mohammed Ben Sulayem $75-Million
Chase Carey $44-Million
Michael Andretto $40-Million
Ola Källenius $35-Million [Estimated]
Jean Todt $18-Million
The late Dietrich Mateschitz, Red Bull founder, turned his passion for motorsport into a World Championship-winning team. At the same time, it paved the way for countless (hundreds) of drivers to race at all levels of the sport. The best picked to race in the Austrian billionaire’s F1 teams.
Also worth noting, although out of the paddock these days, F1’s favourite villain – the man who turned the sport into what it is today, his way – Bernie Ecclestone still has a reminder of the fortune he made out of nabbing F1’s commercial rights.
Notably, the substantial Middle East investment in F1 over the past two decades is largely financed by sovereign funds of Bahrain and UAE initially, now Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Representing extremely wealthy Kings and Sheikhs, whose worth would render most of the above tiny.
For example, the estimated net worth of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is said to be personally worth $18-billion. But as the de facto head of state and effectively in charge of the nation’s entire $34-Trillion budget. Thus no contest!
As for the drivers, despite not being seen in public for a decade, German F1 legend Michael Schumacher racked up a massive fortune during his heyday in F1, from one race with Jordan, then Benetton qand particularly after his glory days with Ferrari before his lucrative ‘second coming’ with Mercedes.
Fellow seven-times F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton is the richest of the drivers currently on the grid, with fellow veteran Fernando Alonso not far off. Kimi Raikkonen quit with a good retirement package too!
Here’s what some of the notable drivers, past and present, are worth today according to Forbes:
Michael Schumacher $600-Million
☩ Ayrton Senna $400-Million [at time of passing May 1994]