London, Nov 3 : Ace F1 racer Lewis Hamilton may soon outdo David Beckham as the biggest sporting star, predict public relations experts.
The speculation comes after the racing driver sealed the 2008 Formula One World Championship in Brazil.
Experts have said that the F1 champion's career earnings could top one billion dollars, far ahead seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher.
According to Auto Trader's Motoring Rich List, Hamilton is currently thought to be worth around 15million pounds.
"He is going to be bigger than David Beckham, because he is only 23 and motor racing is even more lucrative than football," the Telegraph quoted Max Clifford as saying.
He added: "If you were to chose a sport from a purely financial point of view, motor racing would have to be number one."
In his opinion, motor racing had global appeal and attracted big-spending sponsors from the worlds of finance and oil.
The last Sunday Times Rich List in April estimated David and Victoria Beckham's wealth at 125 million pounds, more than half of which is contributed by the former Spice Girl.
Right now, Beckham is reportedly earning about 16 million pounds a year through endorsements and playing for US football team LA Galaxy.
Clifford said: "The money is greater than in tennis or football. I represented Michael Jordan and basketball is pretty big, but on a world stage F1 is just about as lucrative as you can get.
"Lewis Hamilton is young, he is obviously talented and he is a good looking fellow, so you have a perfect recipe for sponsorship."
And if he becomes the world champion, he would easily become a household name in Britain and around the world.
"We don't have many world champions, so the media here will become even more crazy about him that they already are," he said.
Clifford added: "That will just add to his worth. He will be transformed from being the 'crown prince' in tabloid terms to the 'king'."
Story first published: Monday, November 3, 2008, 18:36 [IST]
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