18. Sylvan Adams

Age 62
Net worth $1,7bn
Source of wealth  Iberville Developments
Nationality Israeli/Canadian
F1 involvement Driver sponsor

Sylvan Adams is the son of Quebec real estate tycoon Marcel Adams a Holocaust-era forced labour camp escapee who died at the age of 100.

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Adams made his fortune continuing in his father’s footsteps in Canada before emigrating to Israel in 2015.

Again, following his father, he is a keen philanthropist establishing the Margaret and Sylvan Adams Family Foundation to support educational and medical projects in Israel and Canada.

Adams, when in his 40’s discovered a passion for cycling resulting in him becoming a world-time trial champion several times.

He co-founded the Israel cycling Academy team in 2015, now called Israel Start-Up Nation.

The team competes with another Formula 1 billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe who owns Team INEOS Grenadiers, but as Adams told Forbes magazine, “We are not spending the kind of money that Jim Ratcliffe is putting [into cycling], but then nobody is.”

Adams is a man who makes things happen, and his business card reads, “self-appointed Ambassador at large, for Israel.”

He has recently declared, “I decided that I’m going to devote the next chapter of my life to promoting Israel.”

Adams was the driving force behind bringing the Giro d’Italia cycling race in Italy to Israel in 2018.

Adams got his chequebook out, and $80m later, the deal crystalised, and the race left Europe for the first time.

The cycling race was met with protests from “anti-Israel activists” who claimed the event “sports washed” Israel’s human rights record.

Ultimately, the race went ahead as scheduled. Every team selected for the Giro took part, including two units of Arabic ownership, the Bahrain-Mérida team and the United Arab Emirates team.

Adams became involved in F1 when in 2020, he financed French – Israeli Roy Nissany as Williams F1 test driver for the 2021 season.

Adams does not lack ambition telling MotorSport, “The ultimate goal is to win a drivers’ championship, Roy is a winner – why should we set our bar lower than that?”

When Nissany was signed for Williams, Adams commented, “The idea of seeing the Israeli flag on the car and Roy being beamed to 350m to 400m television viewers every couple of weeks is going to be quite something.

“My projects are reaching over the media to reach people, regular people, and just show them the country.”

What influence does Sylvan Adams hold in F1?

Well, as a driver backer, very little at the moment, and unlike fellow Canadian billionaires Latifi and Stroll, he is not looking to buy a team.

However, he has hinted at setting up a driver academy for promising Israelis.

“I look at this, and I say it’s probably premature for me to talk about academies and other things, but certainly my track record speaks to wanting to develop the sports or activity I’m involved in and to provide an opportunity for the youth of Israel, he says.

“Why shouldn’t we have an academy that generates a pipeline of drivers leading to further success? We have this special case called Roy Nissany, and I’m looking at him as possibly an aspirational figure for kids today who are looking at him.”

He may wish to follow in his father’s footsteps one more time, telling Forbes, “There’s a Jewish proverb, ‘May you live to 120,’ so [even if I live ten years longer than my father] I’ll still be ten years short of the [biblical] ideal.”

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