The defending Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel is all set to be the highest paid athlete in the world as he steps out of Red Bull Racing and signs a USD 80 million (INR 491.36 crores) deal with Ferrari for the year 2015.
Last year, the highest paid athletes were Cristiano Ronaldo in the first place with USD 52 million (INR 319.38 crores), Matt Ryan second at USD 42 million (INR 257.98 crores) and Lionel Messi in third with USD 41.7 million (INR 256.14 crores).
Vettel, in the recent past had won 39 races and four consecutive Championships. He will now race for Ferrari, following the footsteps of countryman Michael Schumacher, his hero who won five titles for Ferrari.
Although many car manufacturers race in Formula One, Ferrari has always taken the sport very seriously and also had their boss, Luca di Montezemolo resign after bad performance on the track of recent.
After Schumacher left Ferrari, the Italian giant has not won a driver's title since 2007 and not even a single race since last year.
Lets take a look at the top five highest paid Formula One drivers:
5. Jenson Button
The British Formula One racer started his career in the year 2000 racing for Williams F1 team. Button won 15 of the 263 races he started and has won one Championship. He currently races for the McLaren Mercedes team. Button gets paid USD 20 million (INR 122.84 crores) a year.
4. Lewis Hamilton
The number four spot belongs to another British racing driver, Lewis Hamilton. He currently races for the Mercedes team. Hamilton has set numerous records and has won 31 races in his career till date and has won one Championship in the year 2008. Hamilton takes home USD 24 million (INR 147.41 crores) a year at the moment.
3. Kimi Raikkonen
At number three is the Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen. He started his F1 career in the year 2001. Kimi currently races for Ferrari and has won 20 races and one Championship in the year 2007. Kimi has also raced for the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2010 and 2011. The Finn currently gets paid USD 27 million (INR 165.84 crores).
2. Fernando Alonso
At the number two spot is the Spaniard, Alonso. He made his F1 debut in the year 2001 and currently races for Ferrari. Alonso has 32 wins under his belt and was the champion in the years 2005 and 2006. Alonso takes away USD 27 million (INR 165.84 crores), the same as Kimi.
1. Sebastian Vettel
At the number one spot is the German driver Sebastian Vettel. Vettel currently races for the Red Bull Renault team and has won 39 races and four championships in the year 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. He started his F1 career in 2007 and is known as the most successful driver of all time. He takes home USD 27 million (INR 165.84 crores) and is all set to take home USD 80 million (INR 491.36 crores) in 2015 with Ferrari.