Meet The Formula 1 ‘Billionaire Boys’ Club,’ Worth An Estimated $146 Billion

Table of Contents As criticism of the cost of participating at motorsport’s elite levels mounts,…

Table of Contents



By Lisette Voytko

As criticism of the cost of participating at motorsport’s elite levels mounts, and as a new cost cap comes into play, these billionaires are pouring money into F1 teams, circuits and more.

Without the support of his father’s multiple jobs, Lewis Hamilton never would have risen through the ranks of go-karting in his native England. Now a driver for Mercedes’ Formula 1 team with a record seven world championships under his belt, he has roundly criticized the amount of money needed to be competitive in motorsports, telling Spanish racing outlet AS in May that F1 is a “billionaire boys’ club.” 

“If I were to start over from a working-class family, it would be impossible for me to be here today,” Hamilton, F1’s sole Black driver on the grid and an outspoken advocate for diversity in motorsports, told AS. He’s spot-on: A single season in Formula 3—a stepping stone to F1—costs drivers more than $1 million to participate, Mercedes principal and CEO Toto Wolff recently told German broadcaster RTL.

Recently, three newer drivers on the grid—Haas’ Nikita Mazepin, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi—have been criticized for earning their place in F1 through their fathers’ vast fortunes rather than on their own merit, being stuck with an age-old label as “pay drivers.” Combined with a new cost cap imposed by a contract agreed to by F1 teams and controlling interests that is meant to limit the amount spent on improving car performance—with loopholes for driver salaries, among other items—it’s no surprise that tension around the wealth in the F1 paddock only seems to be growing. Forbes estimates that at least ten billionaires, worth a collective $146 billion, are involved in F1 as of the 2021 season.

Here’s a look at the sport’s wealthiest team owners, sponsors and other figures. Net worths are as of July 16, 2021.


Net Worth: $71 billion

Claro, an arm of the pan-Latin American telecom company America Movil owned by Mexican mogul Carlos Slim, is a Red Bull team sponsor, with the company’s logo featured prominently on the rear wing of its cars. Slim has reportedly sponsored Mexican driver Sergio Pérez from his early karting days through his current driving career for Red Bull. The two men appear to have developed a close relationship: Pérez has referred to Slim as his father, his friend and his support system in Instagram posts.


Net worth: $27.5 billion

Dietrich Mateschitz, cofounder and CEO of the ubiquitous Red Bull energy drinks, holds a 49% stake in the beverage company. Red Bull emerged as a dominant force in F1 in recent seasons with two teams on the grid: Red Bull and AlphaTauri, a junior team and training ground. Mateschitz also owns the Red Bull Ring, a track in Spielberg, Austria, that replaced the A1-Ring, which he purchased in 2004 for an undisclosed sum. He has hosted the Austrian Grand Prix there every year since 2014.


Net worth: $16.3 billion

Ineos, Sir James Ratcliffe’s British petrochemicals giant, owns a 33% stake in Mercedes, a dominant force on the grid thanks to driver Lewis Hamilton’s championship streak. German carmaker Daimler AG and team principal and CEO Toto Wolff split the remaining ownership of the team. Ineos is a relative newcomer, having acquired its stake in the Mercedes team (for an undisclosed sum) in December. Separately, Ineos inked a five-year Mercedes sponsorship deal for $128 million in April 2020.


Net worth: $7.7 billion

U.S. telecom billionaire John C. Malone oversees F1’s commercial rights through the Formula One Group, which Malone’s Liberty Media acquired in 2017 for $4.4 billion. Nicknamed the “Cable Cowboy” for his many cable-company deals over the years, he’s reportedly working to juice American interest in F1 through more U.S. races, among other initiatives. His Liberty Media also owns the Atlanta Braves and a 77% stake in satellite radio network SiriusXM.


Net worth: $7 billion

Stephen Ross, a prominent Republican donor and the majority owner of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, is using part of his estimated $7 billion fortune to bring F1 racing to Miami for the first time in 2022 at Hard Rock Stadium. Ross founded Related Companies, the real-estate developer behind New York City’s Hudson Yards office and retail complex, and owns millennial-friendly brands SoulCycle and Equinox Fitness.


Net worth: $5 billion

Private-equity tycoon Antony Ressler owns a piece of British racing team McLaren, with Ares Management, the private-equity firm he cofounded and chairs, having been part of a consortium led by MSP Sports Capital that acquired a 15% stake in McLaren in December 2020. The stake is set to increase to 33% by the end of 2022.


Net worth: $3.4 billion

Bernie Ecclestone was essentially ousted as CEO of the Formula One Group by fellow billionaire John C. Malone after Liberty Media’s 2016 acquisition of the group. “I was dismissed,” he told a German racing outlet in 2017, and he has not offered further details. He was appointed chairman emeritus and an advisor after his four-decade run, but his contract was not renewed following racial statements he made in June 2020. Ecclestone remains influential and is often quoted in F1 news stories.


Net worth: $3.2 billion

Lawrence Stroll is executive chairman of the Aston Martin team, which his son, Lance Stroll, races for. Lawrence Stroll, who made his fortune leading U.S. fashion brand Michael Kors through a 2011 IPO, came to own a 16% stake in Aston Martin in April 2020 through a rebrand and merger of a separate F1 team owned by him (which was formerly known as Racing Point). This followed his $238 million investment in the storied British carmaker in January 2020.


Net worth: $2.6 billion

The Texas-based Circuit of the Americas has been home to the Austin Grand Prix since opening in 2012 and counts John Paul DeJoria, founder of Patrón tequila and cofounder of Paul Mitchell hair products, among its investors. ROKiT Drinks, a subsidiary of DeJoria’s telecom company ROKiT Group, was supposed to be the title sponsor for beleaguered racing team Williams through 2023, but the team terminated the deal in 2020 for undisclosed reasons.


Net worth: $2 billion

Ferrari’s iconic F1 team, cloaked in its signature red, has a significant investor: billionaire John Elkann, through his role as chairman and CEO of Exor, the holding company of Italy’s prominent Agnelli family. Italy’s top-tier Juventus soccer club and Christian Dior are just two of the Agnellis’ many high-level investments alongside Fiat, another Italian automaker.

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