How Michael Schumacher Made More Than $1 Billion in His Life & F1 Career

Published 11/05/2021, 5:48 AM EDT
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 19: Michael Schumacher of Germany and Ferrari talks to the media during a Shell Press Conference at the Transamerica Hotel during the previews to the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Interlagos Circuit on in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)


When talking about Formula 1, it is all but impossible to not mention Michael Schumacher. The seven-time champion set records in the sport and to this day, has an immense fanbase. It is this popularity that made the driver extremely marketable. As a result, Schuhmacher finds himself in the list of the top 10 highest-paid athletes of all time.

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Sportico recently released a list of the top 25 highest-paid athletes, regardless of the time of their career. Michael Schumacher was the only F1 driver in the top 10 list; he made it with $1.13B to his name.

How did Michael Schumacher make his billions?

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According to data collected by Sportico, Schumacher contested Tiger Woods for the position of the highest-paid athlete at the beginning of the 21st century. However, he was the world’s first billionaire athlete. This is primarily because of his hefty salary from Ferrari, and the five championships he’s won with the Prancing Horses.

MONTE CARLO, MONACO – Michael Schumacher of Germany and Ferrari looks on in the Ferrari pit during the qualifying session for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The money predominantly came from his time at Mercedes and Scuderia Ferrari.

However, his endorsements were just as crucial. Shell, Vodafone, and Marlboro were big names that ensured big bucks. It is also believed that Shell paid Schumacher $10 million just for wearing a cap that had the company logo on it.

Further, German investment company, Deutsche Vermögensberatung paid Schumi $8 million for wearing their cap. He is the most decorated driver in F1, and every title, win, and podium finish only added on to his growing salary.

The Red Baron has a private island off the coast of the UAE, multiple luxury mansions, and high-speed machinery like a private jet and a custom Ferrari FXX.

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Other motorsport representatives on the list

The man who has equaled Schumacher’s record appears on the top 25 list; Lewis Hamilton is 20th. Not too surprising, though, as he has a heavy Mercedes contract and multiple wins to his name as well as sponsorship from brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Puma, Monster Energy, etc.

Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 24, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Retired NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon also represents motorsports in a field dominated by basketball and football stars. Once again, prize money and endorsements were the key features; however, Gordon also has stakes in Hendrick’s Motorsport, which adds to the tally.

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Shreya Sanjeev

607 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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