No matter how the Italian Grand Prix turns out for Fernando Alonso this weekend, don’t feel too bad for him. The Spanish driver tops the Forbes list of the top-earning drivers in motorsports, tallying $30 million in the year from June 2012-June 2013. That’s one leaderboard where he is way ahead of current F1 points leader Sebastian Vettel. Vettel comes in at 8th, with a mere $18 million of earnings. Alonso is the 19th top earning athlete, behind Manny Pacquiao (No. 14) and ahead of Maria Sharapova (No. 22), and Rafael Nadal (No. 30).
The publication looked at earnings from salaries, bonuses, endorsements, and the drivers’ shares of prize and licensing money. Here’s how Forbes tallied the list:
1. Fernando Alonso: Ferrari, Formula One
$30 million total; $28 million salary, $2 million endorsements,
Alonso’s endorsements include kitchen countertops, Ferrari cologne and Fiat cars. The 32-year old has topped this list since at least 2010. His current contract with Ferrari extends to 2016. He recently bought a Spanish cycling team, Euskaltel Euskadi, to save it from extinction.
Michael Schumacher similarly earned $30 million during the 2012 season.
2. Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes, Formula One
$27.5 million total; $26 million salary, $1.5 million endorsements
That’s enough to buy plenty of earrings and bulldogs. Hamilton is one of the most marketable drivers in the sport, according to the article.
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr: Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR
$26 million total; $13 million salary, $13 million endorsements
Fans voted Earnhardt as Nascar’s most popular driver for the 10th straight year in 2012. No wonder he earns a lot from merchandise and licensing.
4. Jimmie Johnson: Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR
$24 million total, $17.3 million salary, $6.7 million endorsements
5. Valentino Rossi: Yamaha Motor, MotoGP
$22 million total; $12 million salary, $10 million endorsements
Rossi ranks first in MotoGP victories with 80 wins. He took a pay cut to return to Yamaha after two disappointing seasons with Ducati. He is now fourth in the 2013 standings.
6. Tony Stewart: Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR
$18.5 million total; $12.5 million salary, $6 million endorsements
Stewart broke his leg in a race in August, cutting short his 2013 season.
7. Jeff Gordon: Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR
$18.2 million total; $12.7 million salary, $5.5 million endorsements
Gordon partly owns Jimmie Johnson’s car, which captured five straight championship wins from 2006 to 2010.
8. Sebastian Vettel: Red Bull, Formula One
$18 million total; $17 million salary, $1 million endorsements
His winning ways have added a lot to his bonus tally this year.
9. Danica Patrick: Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR
$15 million total; $6 million salary, $9 million endorsements
Patrick took pole position in the Daytona 500 and finished 8th in the race, the highest finish ever for the race by a female driver. She also has the celebrity record for 12 Super Bowl commercials for the Internet company Go Daddy.
10. Jenson Button: McLaren, Formula One
$14 million total; $14 million salary, $0 million endorsements
Surely Button’s manager can sign him up for another lucrative shampoo ad?
Each of their salaries may be a pittance when compared to what certain congressmen and senators, as well as Janet Lim Napoles, allegedly pocketed. The earnings also pale beside other athletes’ earnings listed on Forbes, such as Tiger Woods’ $78.1 million; Roger Federer, $71 million; and Kobe Bryant, $61.9 million. Manny Pacquiao earned $34 million.
But it’s still plenty of reward for those who have the racing cockpit as their office.
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