As our Rian Bosse told you, American millennials aren’t much interested in auto racing. But globally, one racing star attracts a wide audience: Lewis Hamilton.
Now, the Formula 1 champion has a contract to match his global celebrity status. On Wednesday, Hamilton, 30, signed a new three-year deal with Mercedes-Benz that is reported worth 100 million pounds ($155 million), according to The Telegraph.
At the conclusion of the deal, in 2018, Hamilton, who is British, will have driven cars from Mercedes or powered by Mercedes engines for 20 years. He joined the Mercedes AMG racing team in 2013, after making his F1 debut with McLaren in 2007.
Here are some numbers to know about Hamilton and his contract.
- Hamilton will earn about $49 million a year, a significant increase from his current deal, which pays him $32 million annually.
- At least for now, he is the highest paid athlete in Britain. But, the money is similar to what soccer star Christian Ronaldo could earn if he returns to Manchester United, according to Jennie Gow of the BBC.
- Hamilton currently ranks No. 19 on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest paid athletes. He has endorsements worth $3 million a year, but given his new status, that figure is likely to go up. He is considered one of the most marketable athletes in the world by SportsPro magazine.
— Jennie Gow (@JennieGow) May 20, 2015
To be sure, Hamilton is not a household word in the United States, where F1 fans often have to get up early or stay up late to see most races. He may be best known in the entertainment world for dating Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, with whom he broke up earlier this year.
But, you can bet his visibility will only grow. Hamilton is managed by Simon Fuller, creator of the Pop Idol and American Idol franchise, and some racing experts think he has the ability to become as iconic as the late Brazilian racing star, Ayrton Senna.
His new contract was announced on the eve of the Grand Prix de Monaco, considered the premier racing event of the F1 circuit, which Hamilton won in 2008 and has trying to win again since then.
“Monaco is one of the places where every driver wants to win,” he told BBC Sport.
“I want so badly to repeat that this weekend. Whatever I feel about my abilities, somehow I have never executed a perfect weekend in Monaco. Even when I won I hit the wall early in the race, but thankfully was able to recover.
Will I ever have one of those perfect weekends here? I don’t know, but I am going to give it everything I have got over these next four days.”
Here are some highlights from his 2008 victory.