Billionaire F1 Boss Toto Wolff Increased His Net Worth By 60% This Year

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The Mercedes-Petronas CEO is riding high despite the fortunes of his team this season.
The Mercedes Formula 1 dynasty may be spinning its wheels right now—the team is in a distant second place in the constructors’ standings—but CEO and team principal Toto Wolff is still putting up big numbers.

Forbes now estimates Wolff is worth $1.6 billion, up from his previous mark of $1 billion in March. That increase comes because Mercedes F1, the second-most-valuable team on the grid, is now valued at an estimated $3.8 billion. (Wolff, INEOS and Mercedes’ parent company own 33% each.) When Forbes last valued F1’s teams, two years after Liberty Media bought the series in 2017 for $4.7 billion in cash and stock, Mercedes was valued at just over $1 billion.

Much has changed during Liberty Media’s tenure. The average value for F1’s ten teams has reached $1.88 billion, up 276% from 2019. Ferrari narrowly edges Mercedes for the top spot at $3.9 billion. The venerable Williams team has the lowest valuation at $725 million.

The sport’s popularity has soared, particularly in the U.S., thanks to the debut of Netflix’s Drive To Survive docuseries in 2019, which captivated content-hungry viewers during the Covid-19 pandemic. F1 will also introduce its third U.S. event in November: the highly anticipated Las Vegas Grand Prix. (Miami and Austin, Texas, already have races.)

Arguably the most transformative factor, though, has been the spending restrictions implemented by Formula 1 and racing’s governing body, the FIA. Under the “cost cap,” teams can spend $135 million for equipment, engineering and staffing in 2023, before inflation and event adjustments. (Driver salaries, such as Lewis Hamilton’s estimated $55 million in earnings, are not included.)

The regulations have forced big-budget teams like Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, which used to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars in pursuit of success, to be more efficient and decisive in their spending. For Mercedes’ F1 outfit, it’s made their business highly profitable. Forbes projects the team is on track to post revenues of $700 million, with operating income of $192 million, in 2023.

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