Race Car Drivers Earn More Than Car Company CEO’s



As the typhoon cuts across the Philippines, our Manila correspondent, HAROLD, ponders about the unfairness of life…well, one aspect of it.

I am now convinced that in the automotive world, manual skills pay more than intellectual and entrepreneurial skills. Top F1 and Nascar race drivers register higher earnings than carmakers’ CEO’s in 2013.

The highest paid auto company CEO, Alan Mulally, formerly of Ford, earned a net compensation package worth US$28.9 million last year, keeping him in the same stratosphere as the leaders of companies such as Disney and IBM. But Fernando Alonso, the former karting world champion and twice F1 World Champion who has driven for Renault, McLaren and Ferrari, is now the highest paid F1 driver in the world with US$40.8 million earnings. Oh, Nascar’s most popular driver for eight straight years, Dale Earnhardt Jr, even earned more than Mulally with US$29 million. Does this mean that the “hands” earn more than “brains?”

Allan Mulally – US$28.9 M


Fernando Alonso – US$40.8 M


Dale Earnhardt Jr- US$29 M

Industry insiders in the USA even believe that Mulally was overpaid compared to his former counterpart, General Motors’ ex-CEO, Dan Akerson, who had a US$9 million compensation package. CEO’s from European auto companies are paid higher than their Japanese counterparts: compare Martin Winterkorn of Volkwagen AG who received US$23.1 million last year against Nissan’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn’s salary of US$12.5 million. Or compare Mercedes’, Dieter Zetsche, who was paid US$11.4 million last year against Toyota’s CEO, Akio Toyoda, who earned only US$1.7 million. I believe that Toyoda is underpaid, considering the corporation’s size, market aggressiveness and Toyota’s brand leadership in many global markets.

But compare these CEO salaries with the following F1 drivers: Lewis Hamilton earned US$21.76 million, Jenson Button made US$21.5 million, Sebastian Vettel earned US$13.6 million and Mark Webber brought home USD$13.5 million.

To further highlight the disparity, compare the CEO salaries with the top NASCAR earners, after Earnhardt: Jeff Gordon earned US$25 million, Jimmie Johnson made US$24 million, Tony Stewart earned US$18 million and Kevin Harvick was paid US$15 million.

Not even the highest paid CEO from a Japanese auto company, Carlos Goshn, can beat any of the top five highest F1 and Nascar drivers’ earnings.


Jeff Gordon – US$25 Million


Lewis Hamilton – US$21.76 M


Jeff Gordon – US$25 Million
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