2016 Driving Rich List - Lewis Hamilton

2016 Driving Rich List revealed: Bernie stays top despite £460m drop in wealth

Lewis Hamilton on course to become Britain’s richest sportsman

2016 Driving Rich List - Lewis Hamilton

IS BERNIE ECCLESTONE untouchable? Many inside motor sport and among its millions of fans ponder that question daily, but it’s also a thought that preoccupies some of the wealthiest people in world, who judge status by the number of figures in their bank balance.

Today The Sunday Times reveals the 2016 Driving Rich List, published in full below, and it shows that although Ecclestone’s wealth has fallen by an eye-watering £460m in a year, the outspoken motor racing magnate remains comfortably the richest person in motoring.

Ecclestone’s fortune is calculated at £2.48bn. That’s a drop from £2.94bn in 2015, following a costly divorce from Slavica, his second wife, a row with the taxman and the declining health of Formula One (even he said recently that he would not pay to watch a grand prix). Even Bernie’s big-spending daughters were factored into the sums this year.

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The chasing pack have seen their fortunes rise, on the whole, with significant gains by Mohsin and Zuber Issa, owners of the Euro Garages chain, John Bloor, the man behind Triumph Motorcycles’ resurgence, and the Scottish car dealer Sir Arnold Clark.

New entries in the Driving Rich List include the husband and wife Toto and Susie Wolff, an F1 team boss and a racing driver, respectively.

Toto Wolff was appointed a director at the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team in 2013 and now owns a 30% stake in the team. Since joining Mercedes he has steadily sold off his shares in Williams F1 and HWA, netting £25m. He still has stakes in a rally parts dealer and a sports management operation. Mercedes AG Petronas was valued by Forbes magazine in its annual study of F1 teams at more than £470m in 2015, making Wolff’s stake worth £141m.

The richest F1 driver is Lewis Hamilton, who is a new entry this year with £106m. His latest deal with Mercedes gives the 31-year-old a basic salary of £21.4m, rising to £27.6m with success bonuses. It sets him on the path to becoming Britain’s richest sportsman, surpassing David Beckham.


Hamilton owns a £20m Bombardier jet to take him to and from race circuits across the globe, a £10m apartment in Monaco and a home in the mountains of Colorado. He moved first to Switzerland and then to Monaco, where the tax regime is more generous than in Britain.

It is a far cry from his early days in karting, but even then, at the age of 10, he told Ron Dennis, the boss of McLaren, he would one day become a world champion with McLaren – a feat he achieved in 2008, becoming F1’s youngest champion at the time.

Find the full list of Driving millionaires below.


1 Bernie Ecclestone and family, £2.48bn (-£460m)

2016 Driving Rich List - Bernie Ecclestone

Last year: 1 (no change) | Source of wealth: Motor racing

Rich List 2016 says: 

Ecclestone, 85, the Formula One boss, warned recently that the sport was in the worst state it had ever been and he would not pay to take his own family to watch a grand prix. Harsh words coming from the man – a Suffolk trawlerman’s son – who transformed the sport from a niche competition to a global phenomenon.

He remains in control of day-to-day operations, despite selling most of his holding. A bond issue in 1999 and the sale of a majority stake in 2006 netted Ecclestone £1.9bn, although a divorce from Slavica, his second wife, cost him a fortune.

He still retains 5.3% while his family’s Bambino Trust has another 8.5%. Potential bidders have circled F1 with a £4bn-plus valuation mooted.

We clip his holding and other family assets back to £2.48bn: the business is not in good shape, with TV audiences falling, and his daughters, Tamara and Petra, are big spenders. He is also involved in a row with HMRC over a £1bn tax bill.

He married Fabiana Flosi, a Brazilian 46 years his junior, in 2012.


2 Georg and Emily von Opel, £1.4bn (+£100m)

2016 Driving Rich List - Georg and Emily von Opel

Last year: 2 (no change) | Source of wealth: Finance and property

Rich List 2016 says: 

Von Opel, 50 in May, is director of the London-based wind turbine investment vehicle GVO Wind and owns all of Hansa, a Swiss-based holding company with £1.4bn of assets.

A great-grandson of German car brand founder Adam Opel, he and his London-born wife Emily, 43, have five children and support underprivileged young people through their foundation. Other assets include a Hampshire estate.


3 John Bloor, £1.25bn (+£225m)

2016 Driving Rich List - John Bloor

Last year: 3 (no change) | Source of wealth: Construction and motorcycles

Rich List 2016 says: 

A miner’s son from Derbyshire, Bloor, 72, runs his own housebuilding operation. He bought the Triumph motorbike name for £150,000 and spent £80m on a new factory to revive the marque.

Bloor Holdings, parent of Triumph and the housebuilding business, saw profits soar to £96.2m in 2014-15, when it showed £562.5m net assets. It is worth £1.2bn and Bloor owns it all.


4 Sir Arnold Clark and family, £1.025bn (+£350m)

2016 Driving Rich List - Arnold Clark

Last year: 4 (no change) | Source of wealth: Car sales

Rich List 2016 says: 

Clark, 88, is Britain’s first billionaire car dealer. He started in 1954 and profits rose sharply in 2014 at Glasgow-based Arnold Clark Automobiles to a record £107.2m on record sales of £3.2bn.

The business, owned by Clark and his family, is worth £1bn. Other assets include the yacht Drum, once owned by Simon Le Bon.

Click here for the full car dealer Rich List, revealed exclusively by driving.co.uk


5 Mohsin and Zuber Issa, £700m (+£550m)

2016 Driving Rich List - Mohsin and Zuber Issa

Last year: 22 (+17) | Source of wealth: Fuel distribution

Rich List 2016 says: 

In just 15 years, the Blackburn-based Issa brothers have turned their combined savings of £5,000, which they used to lease a single run-down garage in Bury, Greater Manchester, into the fast-growing Euro Garages chain, with 341 sites around Britain.

Their formula is straightforward: they acquire neglected service stations and smarten them up, offering partnerships to retailers including Spar, Greggs, Starbucks and Subway so motorists can grab some groceries or a bite to eat. As a result, only 25% of their profits come from fuel –down from 70% at a standard forecourt.

Working as co-chief executives, the brothers have defined roles: Mohsin, 45, takes charge of day-to-day operations, while Zuber, 44, handles strategy and acquisitions.

“We were sure we could make petrol stations more profitable than anyone else,” Mohsin says. “Our father came to England in the 1960s and bought a filling station. We spent weekends there as children. It’s in our blood.”

The Issas take their responsibilities seriously, preparing young employees for management as the business grows. And there’s no alcohol in their forecourt outlets: they don’t believe it is ethical to sell drink to drivers.

Profits at Euro Garages reached £34.7m on £815.6m sales in 2014-15, and last October a private equity investor took a stake valuing the operation at £1.3bn. The Issas are majority shareholders.


6 Paddy McNally, £570m (+£60m)

2016 Driving Rich List - Paddy McNally

Last year: 5 (-1) | Source of wealth: Advertising and hospitality

Rich List 2016 says: 

McNally, 78, has retired from the Formula One hospitality business that made his fortune. A Donegal man, he started Geneva-based Allsport to handle trackside advertising at F1 circuits during races.

The Paddock Club, which caters for VIPs at the events, was sold by McNally for $350m. He owns the former Wiltshire home of James Bond author Ian Fleming.


7 Lord Edmiston, £540m (+£68m)

2016 Driving Rich List - Lord Edmiston

Last year: 6 (-1) | Source of wealth: Car sales and property

Rich List 2016 says: 

Edmiston, 69, launched Christian Vision, a global ministry working to reach 1bn people. The charity spent £17m last year and the Conservative peer donated a further £25.6m, taking its assets to more than £270m.

He announced earlier this year that he is to quit the Lords to spend more time on his charity work. His IM Properties, which he started after being made redundant, saw profits double to £33.2m in 2014. It is one of Britain’s biggest importers of Far Eastern cars.


8 Sir Ronald Hobson, £470m (+£6m)

2016 Driving Rich List - Sir Ronald Hobson

Last year: 7 (-1) | Source of wealth: Property

Rich List 2016 says: 

Hobson, 95, and Sir Donald Gosling (qv) built car parks on old Second World War bomb sites and collected £290m each, plus hefty prior dividends, when they sold National Parking Corporation. They later sold further property companies for £189m.

The Hobson Charity had net assets of £48m at the end of 2014-15.


9 Geoffrey Warren, £450m (+£50m)

2016 Driving Rich List - Geoffrey Warren

Last year: 10 (+1) | Source of wealth: Car sales and land

Rich List 2016 says: 

Warren, 61, wants to build a £5bn new town on his Cargiant supermarket’s 45-acre site in Old Oak, part of a vast regeneration scheme in west London. QPR, the football club it used to sponsor, wants to build a stadium on the land, but Cargiant has rejected the proposal.

Warren owns the £350m operation. It hopes to submit a planning application by the end of the year and relocate its car sales by 2021.


10 Sir Donald Gosling, £432m (+£5m)

2016 Driving Rich List - Sir Donald Gosling

Last year: 8 (-2) | Source of wealth: Property

Gosling’s passion is the sea. He is a benefactor to naval charities and lent the superyacht, Leander G, to the Queen for her diamond jubilee in 2012. He has just sold it.

He started the National Parking Corporation with Sir Ronald Hobson (qv) and they each netted £290m when it was sold in 1998. Gosling, 87, runs a charitable foundation.


The richest of the rest in motoring

For details on the people below, view the list on the Sunday Times website.

11(10) Jack Tordoff and family £383 +£15m
12(new) Gerald Ronson and family £350 New
13=(12) Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia £300 +/-£0m
13=(11) Ron Dennis £300 -£50m
13=(13) Lord Heseltine and family £300 +£20m
16(21) Nigel Spokes and family £270 +£110m
17(new) Toto and Susie Wolff £240 New
18=(15) Tony Bramall and family £210 +£2m
18=(new) Sir Michael Marshall and family £210 New
20=(new) Graham Peacock £200 New
20=(new) Susan Tobbell £200 New
22(16) Keith Bradshaw and family £190 +£10m
23(new) Alasdair Locke £180 New
24=(20) Rodger Dudding £170 +£8m
24=(17) Sir Peter Vardy and family £170 -£5m
26(19) Sir Colin Giltrap £168 +£1m
27(18) John Griffin and family £165 -£5m
28(14) Tony Quinn £156 -£66m
29(new) Michael Hunt and family £154 New
30(24) Douglas Park and family £146 +£14m
31(23) Daryl Foster £140 +/-£0m
32(25) Sir Tom Farmer £130 +/-£0m
33(new) The Marquess of Bute £122 New
34=(33=) Derek Hood £120 +£20m
34=(26=) Terry Lister and family £120 +/-£0m
34=(26=) Andrew Page and family £120 +/-£0m
34=(29) Max Smith-Hilliard £120 +£5m
34=(26=) Kevin Wheatcroft £120 +/-£0m
39(new) Michael Loughran and family £112 New
40=(33=) The Duke of Richmond and Gordon and family £110 +£10m
40=(30) Neil Trotter £110 +/-£0m
42(40) Martin Birrane £109 +£25m
43=(31) David and Betty Carr £106 +£3m
43=(38) Lewis Hamilton £106 +£18m
45(new) Guy Harwood and family £105 New
46=(new) John Collins £103 New
46=(32) Graham Dacre £103 +£1m
48=(33=) Ross Brawn £100 +/-£0m
48=(33=) James Hull £100 +/-£0m
48=(new) David Newman £100 New
51(new) Hugh and Loreen Nicholl and family £90 New
52(new) Richard Teatum and family £85 New
53(41) Eddie Irvine £80 +/-£0m
54(42) David Agnew and family £75 +/-£0m
55(new) Trevor Mather £74 New
56(44) Ken Cheevers and family £50 -£10m