A Paydriver (German pay- driver ) is a racing driver for a professional auto racing team that brings through their own sponsors ( links with industry or by the family) own money into the team to maintain the operation of the racing team. In a narrower sense is frequently assumed that the target driver would not find work in the mentioned team without financial support.


The financing of a racing team is often based on several pillars. The most famous is the sponsorship, so the direct support and funding from a company. Traditional advertising, so pure placing logo or products, forms another basis. In the top racing series such as Formula 1, DTM or WRC, to large corporations often engage their own work teams. Successful top teams due to the level of awareness and the associated higher income often buy tip the driver and pay top salaries.

For many teams, the Paydriver are a part of the financing. Because many drivers have built up over years of a relationship with a tribe sponsor or maybe even a pure conveyor, consists of these drivers the opportunity to " buy " into a team. Here is not acquired a portion of the racing team in general, but the right to start for this team for a limited time.

In grassroots racing series such as the VLN it is quite common that professional teams build vehicles to make them Paydrivern available. Here, this is even a private business model.

Also in Formula 1 is the obligation of Paydrivern a common business model, which has been practiced for decades. For Christian Horner, the chief of the racing team Red Bull Racing, it goes in the selection of driver " always a matter of finding the right balance between financial considerations and the driver's talent ."

Niki Lauda was one of the first Paydriver. In 1972 Lauda bought with a loan of Raiffeisen Bank in the amount of two million shillings a cockpit in March.

The fact that a driver buys with money in a motorsport team, says not automatically something about missing or existing abilities. Although many Paydriver came especially in Formula 1 only to individual missions. Examples include Giovanni Lavaggi (Pacific Minardi in 1995 and 1996), called Philippe Adams ( Team Lotus 1994) or Jean -Denis Delétraz ( Larrousse 1994). On the other hand, succeeded in a number of riders who started their Formula 1 career as Paydriver to draw attention to themselves by convincing performances in technically inferior team and to be long-term loyalty to established racing stables. Some of them were later able to even win the Formula 1 World Championship. Examples include Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso or Damon Hill, who at the beginning of their Formula 1 careers of new or unsuccessful teams such as Jordan Grand Prix ( Schumacher ) Minardi (Alonso ) or Brabham ( Hill ) shopped. Schumacher and Alonso were, however, already been supported financially very early automobile manufacturers. Pastor Maldonado bought in 2011 with the financial support of Petróleos de Venezuela at Williams F1, and was often referred to in the media as " classical Paydriver ".

According to Christian Danner, the concept of Paydrivers is a dirty word today. It is often pointed out that even established driver pull over when changing to a new team sponsors and thus support their exchange for the new team financially. As an example, Fernando Alonso is called: His move to Scuderia Ferrari in 2010 meant that some Spanish sponsors like Banco Santander now supported the Italian team.