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Formula One is the most elite motor sport in the world. It’s a sport that requires both skill and guts from its drivers, so it is not a surprise that F1 drivers are some of the most talented athletes in the world that get paid big bucks as a reward. It is also quite expected for F1 drivers salaries to be a constant hot topic for fans and the media.
The salaries of F1 drivers are usually kept under wraps by the teams and the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), the governing body of F1. But the media likes to estimate their salaries. The salaries of F1 drivers depend on many things, like their performance, experience, and popularity. The drivers who get the biggest salaries are usually the most marketable ones, and you are only marketable if you are a successful driver.
Best-Paid F1 Drivers
Max Verstappen is the highest-paid F1 driver. Verstappen is one of the most talented drivers in Formula 1 and has a bright future ahead of him, considering he is only 26 His salary is estimated to be around $55 million a year. The orange army worships the two-time world champion, and the Dutch messiah, who is currently running away with the 2023 championship, is one of the most recognisable faces of the sport.
Lewis Hamilton is next on the list of highest paid F1 drivers. He’s won seven World Championships and has a huge fan base. Hamilton’s salary is estimated to be around $35 million a year. Besides his salary, Hamilton also makes a lot of money from endorsements and sponsorships. He’s one of the most marketable athletes in the world and has deals with brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Puma, and Bose.
The third-highest-paid F1 driver is Ferrari poster boy Charles Leclerc. The young Monegasque is one of the sport’s most marketable athletes, and in another life, he could definitely make a career out of modelling. He is the face of Ferrari for the foreseeable future, and he will be looking to climb to the top of the list once he wins the elusive world championship.
Lowest-Paid F1 Drivers
The salaries of the lowest-paid F1 drivers are peanuts when compared to the top of the list, Max Verstappen. Well, obviously, all of these comparisons are relative. The lowest-paid driver on the grid still nets a mind-boggling seven figures.
The lowest-paid F1 driver is believed to be Yuki Tsundoda. While this might be a tad bit surprising as Yuki has now entered his 3rd season in the sport, he started on a very measly salary, and the AlphaTauri team isn’t known to pay the big bucks to its drivers. The AlphaTauri driver’s main objective is to break into the Red Bull team, and it makes sense for the team not to unnecessarily inflate its working budget.
The second-lowest-paid F1 driver is believed to be Logan Sargeant. The American rookie is with Williams, who are currently competing against Yuki and AlphaTauri to not be the worst team on the grid for the 2023 Formula 1 season.
Someone who might surprise you on this list is Lance Stroll. Why is the son of billionaire team owner Lawrence Stroll taking home a paltry $2 million? Well, that is partly because he doesn’t need to rely on a salary at all. Even considering his numbers would be unfair. The Canadian’s salary doesn’t do justice to his eye-watering net worth.
Similarly, the ‘pay drivers’, as they are called by the fans, usually bring in more money to the team than they take home. Zhou Guanyu is an example. Even though he might take home $2 million, his sponsors bring in significantly more for the team.
The sad reality is that the grid consists of the 20 drivers who played their cards right and not the 20 most deserving drivers. That being said, these drivers are necessary for teams such as Haas and Williams, which aren’t backed by the cash of the other teams. F1 was never a meritocracy, and it probably never will be one. The harsh reality is that this is what makes F1 tick.
The complete list of driver earnings:
- Max Verstappen, Red Bull: $55 million
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes: $35 million
- Charles Leclerc, Ferrari: $24 million
- Lando Norris, McLaren: $20 million
- Carlos Sainz, Ferrari: $12 million
- Sergio Perez, Red Bull: $10 million
- Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo: $10 million
- George Russell, Mercedes: $8 million
- Esteban Ocon, Alpine: $6 million
- Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin: $5 million
- Pierre Gasly, Alpine: $5 million
- Kevin Magnussen, Haas: $5 million
- Alex Albon, Williams: $3 million
- Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo: $2 million
- Lance Stroll, Aston Martin: $2 million
- Nico Hulkenberg, Haas: $2 million
- Oscar Piastri, McLaren: $2 million
- Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri: $2 million
- Logan Sargeant, Williams: $1 million
- Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri: $1 million
To wrap things up, the salaries of F1 drivers vary a lot depending on their performance, experience, and popularity. The best-paid F1 drivers, like Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, make tens of millions of dollars a year, and even the lowest-paid drivers scrape the seven-figure mark.
F1 is a very competitive and challenging sport, and the salaries of F1 drivers reflect that. It’ll be interesting to see how the salaries of F1 drivers change in the future.
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