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Former F1 drivers and income


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#1 statman

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 18:08

I am intrigued by this subject because I saw Verstappen saying that he paid a visit to Nelson Piquet and he showed him his extensive car collection including classic F1 cars.

 

Now Piquet retired from F1 in the early 90s. Yes, he's a 3-time world champion but I really doubt he made the kind of money the current generation of drivers are making. Yet these old-time drivers seem to have a pretty good life. Some still live in Monaco, fly around the world and making paddock appearances. I see Alesi always with his son around the world, can't be cheap either.

 

I understand guys like Nico Rosberg or Massa are set for the future and some have taken a job: like Jackie Stewart is I believe involved with Heineken (he's always doing official 'stuff' during the racing weekend). But what about Fitipaldi? There's like a dozen Fitipaldi's in (junior) racing categories. Not exactly a cheap undertaking.

 

Is there some kind of FIA pension fund?



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#2 ARTGP

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 18:36

If you account for inflation, strategic investments, endorsements, and "minimizing your taxes",  these drivers should have been able to maintain their fortunes indefinitely. 

 

Although the last I recall, Alesi sold his F40 last year to fund his son's racing career. But Alesi was not as big as Fittipaldi or Piquet.



#3 NewMrMe

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 19:02

Various ways.

 

Those that are still household names will still be able to make money from endorsements and sponsorship.

Those with sense would have made investments during the peak years of their income that would help to provide them with an income once they quit racing. An example would be founding or investing in businesses, which Piquet does seem to have been quite successful at since he hung up his helmet.

 

I believe Eddie Irvine used the money he earned to invest in property. I think I heard as a result he is one of the richest ex F1 drivers even though many of his racing peers were more successful.



#4 alframsey

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 19:14

When you're earning the equivalent of millions of dollars, in whatever decade, it does not take a genius to ensure that lasts a lifetime. There are endless investment opportunities which offer a decent to amazing return over the long term, even a student I knew who invested his entire tuition loan came out with more than double his 48k over ten years (a pretty reasonable return). I appreciate it is easy to waste money but if you aren't an outrageous type then you will be in a good position, plus add that these people were most likely pals with Bernie.... this adds endless 'money in your pocket for naff all' opportunities.



#5 YamahaV10

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 19:15

Pro athletes from the 80's and 90's did pretty well, Earnings were high for the period even adjusting for inflation.That depends of course , that they investment and didnt just spend it away.

In some cases earnings have fallen. The best hockey players in the NHL were making 20 million dollars in the 80's and 90's. Now in 2021 ,the best player makes 12.5 million.

#6 DeKnyff

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 19:22

I am intrigued by this subject because I saw Verstappen saying that he paid a visit to Nelson Piquet and he showed him his extensive car collection including classic F1 cars.

 

Now Piquet retired from F1 in the early 90s. Yes, he's a 3-time world champion but I really doubt he made the kind of money the current generation of drivers are making. Yet these old-time drivers seem to have a pretty good life. Some still live in Monaco, fly around the world and making paddock appearances. I see Alesi always with his son around the world, can't be cheap either.

 

I understand guys like Nico Rosberg or Massa are set for the future and some have taken a job: like Jackie Stewart is I believe involved with Heineken (he's always doing official 'stuff' during the racing weekend). But what about Fitipaldi? There's like a dozen Fitipaldi's in (junior) racing categories. Not exactly a cheap undertaking.

 

Is there some kind of FIA pension fund?

 

Piquet is the son of an early sixties Brazilian minister. This already hints to a high social origin and possibly good investment opportunities in the booming Brazilian economy of the last thirty years.



#7 TennisUK

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 19:22

I am intrigued by this subject because I saw Verstappen saying that he paid a visit to Nelson Piquet and he showed him his extensive car collection including classic F1 cars.

Now Piquet retired from F1 in the early 90s. Yes, he's a 3-time world champion but I really doubt he made the kind of money the current generation of drivers are making. Yet these old-time drivers seem to have a pretty good life. Some still live in Monaco, fly around the world and making paddock appearances. I see Alesi always with his son around the world, can't be cheap either.

I understand guys like Nico Rosberg or Massa are set for the future and some have taken a job: like Jackie Stewart is I believe involved with Heineken (he's always doing official 'stuff' during the racing weekend). But what about Fitipaldi? There's like a dozen Fitipaldi's in (junior) racing categories. Not exactly a cheap undertaking.

Is there some kind of FIA pension fund?

Nelson made a fortune compared to most of his contemporaries, perhaps not at Brabham but certainly at Williams, Lotus and Benetton. And he then invested it wisely in a business that did GPS for trucks from memory. Most of his money now will have come from that.

Edited by TennisUK, 18 December 2021 - 19:23.


#8 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 21:11

I expect Piquet was on a fairly similar deal as Senna in the late 80ies - And recall Senna's $1 million per race.



#9 Alan Lewis

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 21:20

Nelson went to Williams because he felt Bernie wasn't paying him enough at Brabham.

A quote I remember from the time (probably Nigel Roebuck in Autosport) was that Prost was getting $3 million and Piquet was on $1 million (or whatever the numbers were): "I don't know how you rate drivers but I don't think Alain's three times better than me."

#10 Collombin

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 21:25

Piquet was so open about money, just ask him and I'm sure he'll tell you everything.

#11 messy

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 21:35

When you’re so stinking rich all you need is someone more clued up than you to point you in the right investment direction and you’re set for life, let’s be honest. I think the vast majority of them did just that. Wealth is relative and most of these guys were just as rich relative to everyone else as the current lot.

#12 jpm2019

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 21:39

Most drivers families where rich before they got to f1. 



#13 chr1s

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 21:44

Remember also, Nelson came from an extremely wealthy family anyway, which is how he was able to take up motor racing in the first place.



#14 PlayboyRacer

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 21:52

I believe Eddie Irvine used the money he earned to invest in property. I think I heard as a result he is one of the richest ex F1 drivers even though many of his racing peers were more successful.

Think Irvine in the very early days made some good coin out of the stock markets, particularly when he was over in Japan. Was probably pretty wealthy even prior to F1. He's done extremely well for himself ever since. His sweet Jaguar deal didn't hurt either.

#15 r4mses

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 22:08

Judging by the interview Rosberg did with Flavio, Piquet did not get a fortune at Benetton. Rather the contrary.



#16 BRG

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 22:49

 But what about Fittipaldi? There's like a dozen Fittipaldi's in (junior) racing categories. Not exactly a cheap undertaking.

Emerson won the Indy 500 twice.  That pays pretty well just on its own.  Plus many years in F1 and Indycars.

 

Even if you were only pulling down a few hundred thousands a year back in the day, it still put you in the top 1% of the population.  Hardly the breadline!



#17 scheivlak

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Posted 18 December 2021 - 23:04

I expect Piquet was on a fairly similar deal as Senna in the late 80ies - And recall Senna's $1 million per race.

Not in the late 80ies. That was 1993 IIRC.



#18 SkidmarksLeadToTheCrash

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Posted 19 December 2021 - 00:42

Interesting thread. Good posts, too. Maybe some retired drivers are on the FÍA payroll to earn an appearance fee and get whisked around the world. It would keep older fans tuned in.

#19 Dolph

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Posted 19 December 2021 - 01:06

If you account for inflation, strategic investments, endorsements, and "minimizing your taxes",  these drivers should have been able to maintain their fortunes indefinitely. 

 

Although the last I recall, Alesi sold his F40 last year to fund his son's racing career. But Alesi was not as big as Fittipaldi or Piquet.

 

As an interesting connection Piquet negotiated that F40 for Alesi.



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#20 Dolph

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Posted 19 December 2021 - 01:12

Judging by the interview Rosberg did with Flavio, Piquet did not get a fortune at Benetton. Rather the contrary.

 

Piquet didn't have results with Lotus so there was talk of him losing motivation. His salary at Benetton was result (points earned) related. Good thing he won 3 GP's with them.

 

https://books.google...enetton&f=false


Edited by Dolph, 19 December 2021 - 01:21.


#21 Dolph

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Posted 19 December 2021 - 01:15

But what about Fitipaldi? There's like a dozen Fitipaldi's in (junior) racing categories. Not exactly a cheap undertaking.

 

 

 

Emerson won the Indy 500 twice.  That pays pretty well just on its own.  Plus many years in F1 and Indycars.

 

Even if you were only pulling down a few hundred thousands a year back in the day, it still put you in the top 1% of the population.  Hardly the breadline!

 

 

Just a year ago Emmo was reportedly in financial trouble.

 

https://f1i.com/news...-in-brazil.html



#22 Dave Ware

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Posted 19 December 2021 - 01:30

Emerson and Wilson's father was a journalist, which to me, is middle-class.  So to the best of my knowledge, no money there.  Somewhere along the line Emerson obtained a farm on which he grew oranges.  I believe it was or is a very large farm (might be a better word than "farm."  "Plantation?")  When he won one of his Indy 500s and was in victory circle, he gently pushed away the offered jar of milk to drink some of his own orange juice.  I'm sure he has other business interests as well.

 

Wilson "ran" the Copersucar F1 team, and while I believe that he was in charge of the whole thing, I don't know his exact role.  I'm quite certain that he was at or near the top.  And that

Copersucar paid a healthy sum to get the team up and running.  Despite the lack of success, I can imagine - without knowing for sure - that Wilson paid himself at least decently and probably his brother as well. 

 

After Jody Scheckter retired he developed a firearms training system to train police forces.  Instead of using bullets, it used light, or laser light.  Something like that.  It's my understanding that he made some good money from that.  A few years ago I saw, possibly on YouTube, an interview and at that time he had a farm in England where he raised cattle organically.  I suppose that is worth his time or he wouldn't be doing it. 

 

According to an article in a Watkins Glen race program, Howden Ganley was part owner of a tool-making business and owned a couple of F1 cars already.  I expect this might have been '73 or '74.  Granted, this is before he retired...

 

Ganley and Schenken had the Tiga racing car manufacturing business, and I've no idea how that turned out for them.  I'm sure it at least paid the rent and who knows, they might have had some cash leftover afterwards. 

 

I have also read that Eddie Irvine has real estate.  Lots and lots of real estate, and much of it was the kind of houses that we might see on "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous."  

 

In the documentary "Racing Stewart," JYS said that when he retired, he expected that he would have about 5 years that he could continue to make money based on his name and fame.  Funny how that turned out!

 

Interesting thread.  I wonder about such things, too. 



#23 Dave Ware

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Posted 19 December 2021 - 01:33

Just a year ago Emmo was reportedly in financial trouble.

 

https://f1i.com/news...-in-brazil.html

Wow.  Goes to show, it's not how much you make, it's how you spend it. 

 

If I ever get this kind of rich I'm just going to pay my damn taxes. 



#24 shure

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Posted 19 December 2021 - 02:39

Remember also, Nelson came from an extremely wealthy family anyway, which is how he was able to take up motor racing in the first place.

his family didn’t pay for his racing. In fact, he kept his racing a secret from them and didn’t use the family name. When he came to the uk I believe he worked as a mechanic for a while to fund his racing. When he retired from racing he went into business and by all accounts did very well for himself

#25 TennisUK

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Posted 19 December 2021 - 07:15

Piquet didn't have results with Lotus so there was talk of him losing motivation. His salary at Benetton was result (points earned) related. Good thing he won 3 GP's with them.

https://books.google...enetton&f=false


He must have been laughing at the end of 1990. 3rd in the championship, loads of money - and best of all, he beat Mansell!

#26 TennisUK

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Posted 19 December 2021 - 07:15

his family didn’t pay for his racing. In fact, he kept his racing a secret from them and didn’t use the family name. When he came to the uk I believe he worked as a mechanic for a while to fund his racing. When he retired from racing he went into business and by all accounts did very well for himself


He worked as a mechanic in Brazil before racing in Europe, too. That is where he met Roberto Moreno.

#27 BRG

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Posted 19 December 2021 - 11:16

After Jody Scheckter retired he .... had a farm in England where he raised cattle organically.  I suppose that is worth his time or he wouldn't be doing it. 

 

He still owns Laverstoke Park Farm in Hampshire, producing all sorts of organic stuff.



#28 ehagar

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Posted 19 December 2021 - 22:26

I'm sure the top of the F-1 pyramid did (and continues to do) absolutely fine. Motorsport was awash with cash in the 80s and early 90s. The loss of tobacco sponsorship and a series of global financial crises hit motorcycle racing pretty hard and there are plenty of riders basically paying for rides now. F-1 having more global viewership has probably insulated it a bit.



#29 taran

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 15:13

Emerson won the Indy 500 twice.  That pays pretty well just on its own.  Plus many years in F1 and Indycars.

 

Even if you were only pulling down a few hundred thousands a year back in the day, it still put you in the top 1% of the population.  Hardly the breadline!

 

Emerson was bankrupt after his failed F1 adventure and a divorce. He went to Indycars in 1984 to earn some living money and became far more successful than anyone had expected. Which brought him a second fortune albeit quite modest compared to the kind of silly money modern F1 drivers make. And CART salaries were always more modest than F1 driver salaries.
 



#30 BRG

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 15:29

CART salaries were always more modest than F1 driver salaries.
 

But beyond the dreams of avarice for most of us ordinary mortals.



#31 statman

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 15:33

thanks for the replies. Some good information.

 

I have actually found the Piquet-Lotus contract from 1988:

 

https://www.industry...cs/#id=smkb0190

 

It's 21 pages but I distilled the following:

 

1st year: $1,500.000

  • $900,000 for driving services (exl. testing)
  • $200,000 for testing
  • $400,000 for promo activities

 

Bonus:

  • $4,000 per championship point
  • $150,000 if the WDC won


#32 TennisUK

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 15:41

 

thanks for the replies. Some good information.

 

I have actually found the Piquet-Lotus contract from 1988:

 

https://www.industry...cs/#id=smkb0190

 

It's 21 pages but I distilled the following:

 

1st year: $1,500.000

  • $900,000 for driving services (exl. testing)
  • $200,000 for testing
  • $400,000 for promo activities

 

Bonus:

  • $4,000 per championship point
  • $150,000 if the WDC won

 

From memory his total cost was about 1/3 of their whole budget.

 

I think Senna was about 50% of the entire budget the year before.



#33 DeKnyff

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 15:42

 

thanks for the replies. Some good information.

 

I have actually found the Piquet-Lotus contract from 1988:

 

https://www.industry...cs/#id=smkb0190

 

It's 21 pages but I distilled the following:

 

1st year: $1,500.000

  • $900,000 for driving services (exl. testing)
  • $200,000 for testing
  • $400,000 for promo activities

 

Bonus:

  • $4,000 per championship point
  • $150,000 if the WDC won

 

He scored 22 points, for a total of $1,588,000. Taking into account the conversion factor between the 2021 dollar and the 1988 dollar is 2.35, that makes $ 3,731,800 in current money, or € 3,302,000 (or £ 2,807,000).

 

A lot of money for us, mere mortals, but not near what current-day drivers earn, specially for the reigning World Champion.



#34 statman

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 14:24

someone already posted about Emerson, but more bad news:

 

Two times champion Emerson Fittipaldi's cars and trophies garnished over debts



#35 Beri

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 15:40

Don't most drivers just invest in realty?

#36 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 15:55

 And CART salaries were always more modest than F1 driver salaries.
 

 

Depends, late 90s Indycar drivers were making a few/several million. Someone like Michael Andretti would have been earning as much as anyone but Michael Schumacher(and I guess BAR-era Villeneuve).

 

But then it really took off in F1 with the manufacturers.

 

It seems to be pushing upwards again. Ignore your Hamilton/Verstappen or even the Alonso/Vettel category, the rumored salary for Ricciardo is surprising. Not because of his current form but because he never quite seemed like a WC-in-waiting. But his Renault deal, if true, seems like something out of mid 00s factory-tobacco budgets. 

 

NASCAR drivers used to absolutely print money. They still do, but it's lower since there's fewer sponsors and they're paying less.



#37 FirstnameLastname

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 17:50

Damon Hill had a successful onlyfans

#38 milestone 11

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 18:07

Damon Hill had a successful onlyfans

What does this mean?

#39 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 18:43

And wtf did he put on it



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#40 ARTGP

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 18:49

Curiosity killed the cat   ;)



#41 Tombstone

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 19:03

 

 

In the documentary "Racing Stewart," JYS said that when he retired, he expected that he would have about 5 years that he could continue to make money based on his name and fame.  Funny how that turned out!

 

 

Sir Stirling made a living on his name for the best part of 60 years. I discount his early eighties touring car 'career'.

 

There's a story about some (gentlemanly) negotiations regarding an appearance fee when he ended up saying "my name is all I've got old boy".


Edited by Tombstone, 28 June 2022 - 19:05.


#42 Dolph

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 19:12

someone already posted about Emerson, but more bad news:

 

Two times champion Emerson Fittipaldi's cars and trophies garnished over debts

 

Trophies? Disgusting  :eek:

 

That's like garnishing one's memories or achievements.

 

Maybe somebody can buy Fittipaldi's world titled. Have his name put on the title instead of Emmo.


Edited by Dolph, 28 June 2022 - 19:15.


#43 ARTGP

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 19:14

Trophies?  :eek:

 

That's like garnishing one's memories or achievements.

 

Given a choice between trophies and a roof to live under, I think I know which one I'd give up  :smoking:



#44 William Hunt

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 19:20

... There's like a dozen Fitipaldi's in (junior) racing categories. Not exactly a cheap undertaking.

 

The Fittipaldi's are sponsored / funded by Telmex, a Mexican telecomunications company owned by Carlos Slim.



#45 FirstnameLastname

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 19:22

And wtf did he put on it


Stuff for fans, presumably. Pictures of his helmet and the like.

#46 Bleu

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 07:31

Just listened Thierry Boutsen's Beyond The Grid episode. He's involved in aircraft business successfully.



#47 New Britain

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 07:43

Depends, late 90s Indycar drivers were making a few/several million. Someone like Michael Andretti would have been earning as much as anyone but Michael Schumacher(and I guess BAR-era Villeneuve).

 

But then it really took off in F1 with the manufacturers.

 

It seems to be pushing upwards again. Ignore your Hamilton/Verstappen or even the Alonso/Vettel category, the rumored salary for Ricciardo is surprising. Not because of his current form but because he never quite seemed like a WC-in-waiting. But his Renault deal, if true, seems like something out of mid 00s factory-tobacco budgets. 

 

NASCAR drivers used to absolutely print money. They still do, but it's lower since there's fewer sponsors and they're paying less.

I forget who, but only a few years ago a fairly well-known driver recounted how, in one of his early years in Indycar (the '00s or early teens) he and his wife had a pre-race conversation about whether they had enough money to afford a fast food meal. :eek:



#48 CSF

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 07:53

Think Irvine in the very early days made some good coin out of the stock markets, particularly when he was over in Japan. Was probably pretty wealthy even prior to F1. He's done extremely well for himself ever since. His sweet Jaguar deal didn't hurt either.

 

Yeah Eddie was already a millionaire by the time he got to F1, I believe he is something like the fourth richest F1 driver ever which is quite impressive. 



#49 jAnO76

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 08:06

Stuff for fans, presumably. Pictures of his helmet and the like.

this is gold..



#50 Sterzo

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 12:27

Dan Gurney did all right for himself as a multiple team owner, David Coulthard owned a hotel and still runs his own media company, Mark Blundell has a driver-management business, Niki Lauda had his airline and later a Mercedes role, while Helmut Marko is back in the F1 paddock, and Gerhard Berger runs the DTM. Jonathan Palmer somehow made a successful business out of running racing circuits, contributing immensely to British motor sport. Any F1 driver "down on his luck" ends up as a Sky TV pundit.