Drivers, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

How much are F1 drivers earning in 2020 – and should their pay be capped?

2020 F1 season

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The driver-line up for the 2020 F1 season is almost entirely unchanged from last year.

But two of the sport’s hottest rising stars – Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen – signed new deals with their teams during the off-season.

How much are they worth? The details of drivers’ earnings are contained in the (secret) archive of the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board in Geneva, which is accessible only to six lawyers appointed to hear contractual disputes as may arise.

We assess the current market value of each competitor based on discussions with team bosses – most of whom have either had approaches from drivers or made their own enquiries – and driver managers, whose duty is to know market values of their charges and of the opposition.

This information is cross-referenced with other sources and colleagues who have a feel for driver markets in order to ensure the figures are as accurate as possible. Here are our estimates of the current F1 drivers’ salaries:

RaceFans’ 2020 Formula 1 driver salary estimates

TeamDriverSalary* (US)
MercedesLewis Hamilton$40m
MercedesValtteri Bottas$8m
FerrariSebastian Vettel$30m
FerrariCharles Leclerc$10m
Red BullMax Verstappen$25m
Red BullAlexander Albon$2.5m
McLarenCarlos Sainz$8m
McLarenLando Norris$2m
RenaultEsteban Ocon$5m
RenaultDaniel Ricciardo$20m
AlphaTauriDaniil Kvyat$2m
AlphaTauriPierre Gasly$2m
Racing PointSergio Perez$8m
Racing PointLance Stroll$3m
Alfa RomeoKimi Räikkönen$5m
Alfa RomeoAntonio Giovanazzi$1m
HaasRomain Grosjean$7m
HaasKevin Magnussen$5m
WilliamsNicolas Latifi$1m
WilliamsGeorge Russell$1m

Note: All drivers on basic packages with individual bonuses

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As things stand 12 current drivers will be out of contract at the end of this year. During pre-season testing the word in the paddock was that Lewis Hamilton is looking to renew his package with Mercedes at $50m, with bonuses potentially escalating that to total annual earnings of $80m.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2020
Hamilton is F1’s star draw and its biggest earner
Sebastian Vettel, who perceives himself as being on Hamilton’s level, would be looking for $40m minimum from Ferrari, topped by bonuses. Max Verstappen’s four-year deal with Red Bull and Honda likely includes healthy championship and podium bonuses over and above points money. Thus the 22-year-old could easily pull at least $40m if the cards fall his way.

But should drivers continue to command such huge salaries at a time when the global pandemic has left all of them sitting on the sidelines? Some competitors in other sports have already taken temporary pay cuts.

F1 has been forced to delay introduction of its 2021 technical rules package and carry over the current cars for a year as a cost-saving measure, with bans on upgrades and no pre- or in-season testing. Thus, drivers will be even less active.

However the financial regulations (aka budget cap) will be introduced as is, save that the limit of $175m (excluding marketing and hospitality costs, management salaries and driver stipends) is likely to reduced to $150m (or less). The cap does not cover drivers’ salaries.

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It remains unclear how many races will be held this year. Eight have been cancelled or postponed already. Is it appropriate for drivers to pull this sort of money while the sport is haemorrhaging money faster than one of Hamilton’s pole laps?

Start, Albert Park, 2019
Should drivers take a pay cut while they aren’t racing?
Could any person, regardless of economic times, justify an annual income of $50m for a couple of hours of sweat time on 22 Sunday and the odd marketing commitment? Don’t blame the drivers: they’re simply taking what’s offered by teams.

The budget cap – even at its present level of $175m – means teams such as Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull will have to downsize. Each may have to move up to 300 staff from their F1 programmes, though no doubt the teams will do everything possible to redeploy their loyal workers on other projects outside the sport.

To put the numbers in perspective, according to latest available filings, Mercedes F1 reported a 2018 payroll (including social costs and employee benefits) of $108m (£1 = $1.15) for around 900 heads. The situations at Ferrari or Red Bull are only slightly less dramatic if at all.

Whenever F1 talks cost cuts the debate usually centres on testing, engines, wind tunnel restrictions and so on. But not driver wages which, at the top end, can make up 15% of a team’s overall budget.

True, some drivers pay to race, but that compounds the divide between the top three teams and the rest. The solution is for driver earnings to be included in budget caps on the basis that they are performance differentiators, which would in turn release more funding for staff and technology by driving down driver costs.

Of course drivers are paid for their skills as well as image rights: They could theoretically be paid a dollar for driving and $50m for image rights. But systems have been devised to control teams’ spending under the budget cap, with draconian sanctions for transgressions. It should therefore be possible to control driver wages as, for example, America’s National Football League already does for its players.

Any change in this respect would have to take existing long-term contracts into account. But the sport could act now and legislate that the rate currently paid to the top earners is fixed as the maximum for the time being, then reduced thereafter. Hamilton and Vettel, the current top earners, are unlikely to be in F1 beyond 2023

If F1 is serious about cost saving during these uncertain times and in the future, it absolutely needs to clamp down on the biggest cost centre amongst the top teams: driver earnings. Paying race drivers 50 times as much as the USA pays its president or 200 times the earnings of Britain’s prime minster – regardless of the individuals – is unsustainable. And, in light of current circumstances, unjustifiable.

Update: 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ salaries

2020 F1 season

Browse all 2020 F1 season articles

76 comments on “How much are F1 drivers earning in 2020 – and should their pay be capped?”

  1. Did Renault really have to offer Ocon €5m to accept to drive for them? Compare that to €2m for Norris or €1m for Russell.
    Renault seems to be the team which is paying the highest premium to attract drivers.

    1. Ocon is a difficult guy but he’s a future superstar. Plus he’s French. It seems pretty going rate to me. Especially as Renault are paying Ricciardo that much, which is no big secret. So if they pay Ricciardo that, he knows what he can bargain for.

      1. Ocon was set to take a Renault seat last year before Ricciardo made himself available, so I imagine that’s when the rate was set. As Ocon had limited prospects (approaching zero) other than this seat this year, I don’t think Renault needed to match the previous offer to get him to accept the drive but you certainly wouldn’t want a guy like Ocon with another chip on his shoulder for a lousy few million.

      2. I really don’t see some people think Ocon is a future superstar. Against Perez, he lost out two years in a row and showed consistent race pace deficit. He has the skill obviously, but from there to saying that he is a future superstar … Other drivers of his generation have shown a lot more …

        1. In 2018 Ocon finisht ahead 8 times compared to Perez his 5 times. So how can he have a consistent race pace deficit? He was clearly faster in both qualifying an race in 2018, but had worse luck. The difference in points was mainly because of Perez his lucky podium in Baku.

          1. Of course all Perez 10 podiums been out of lucky circumstances, you can´t get to those in performance alone if not on the top cars, getting podiums on midfield cars talks about consistency

            Guess what ? Ocon only podium was do lucky circumstances too !

            Lucky Perez beat unlucky Ocon twice and probably will again this year as they seat 4th vs 12th

  2. Grosjean for 7M?? come on…

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      30th March 2020, 13:36

      You would think they could afford Hulk at that price

      1. @fullcoursecaution the article produced by Dieter in 2019 on driver salaries has Hulkenberg at $10 million a year – making Hulkenberg the fifth highest paid driver in the sport.

        Now, the indication is that Hulkenberg wasn’t interested in taking a pay cut when negotiating for contracts last year – if he was demanding to be paid at least as much in 2020 as he was in 2019, that would have made him the joint fifth most expensive driver on the grid this season, commanding the same salary as Leclerc does. That’s not inconsiderable and does perhaps put his demands in context with that of other drivers in the midfield pack.

      2. Bruno Verrari
        30th March 2020, 20:08

        He didn’t sign under 50% of DannyRic…

    2. Yeah. Haas be crazy. Surely Grosjean should be paying 7m or bringing in 7m in sponsorship to be racing. Otherwise Haas deserve to fold for being so wasteful.

    3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      30th March 2020, 15:58

      The comments to me are more pointless than Grosjean getting paid this money. Unless you know the reasons behind it, there is no point complaining. If he got retained and it is true he is getting paid that much, there is clearly some good things the team see in him. He has been in the team the whole time it has been in F1 and if you actually look at last season and read into Hass’s explanation fo each drivers races, he wasn’t actually anywhere as bad as people seem to be remembering him. He was terrible in the first half of 2018, but from then on looked reasonable and better than Magnusson.

      It has also been mentioned that he is very good at working out the areas of the car that need improving. While the car didn’t exactly improve, that can’t always be done over the same season, which may be why they kept him. Behind closed doors, he could be better than most drivers in terms of feedback – we just don’t know. Given he’s been retained, for all these people who don’t know the reason, I just don’t know why they seem to be over reacting so much. They just seem determined for him to go.

      He got less penalty points than a great deal of drivers last year and was never fully responsible for his or anyone else’s retirement. But he had 7, 6 of which were not his fault in the slightest. He even had an incredible race in Brazil which I think went almost totally noticed by most. Without his MGUk failure, he was set for 5th (what would have been 4th because of Hamilton’s penalty) or even potentially 3rd if Sainz hadn’t forced him onto the grass on the restart.

      Hass were terrible this year, and while Grosjean and Magnussen are not the best pairing when racing against each other, neither should get quite the level of hate they do, especially Grosjean when he hasn’t been as bad last year.

      He sounds awful on the radio admittedly, but off track, I think he explanations of the technical problems and what the car feels like to drive is better worded than most drivers.
      It’s only a guess, but I think this will be one of the many reasons he is kept.

      1. Compared to the other driver salaries, his salary isn’t crazy. But considering you could hire 50 engineers + a talented rookie for the same amount, I don’t see how he can be worth that.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          30th March 2020, 23:03

          But it may be his experience and feedback with the team that no talented rookie could possibly have both of. As I said, people may not see how he can be worth that much, but if it is accurate, there will be a good reason behind it.

          1. Ben I totally agree with you.
            Unfortunately some fans will always be convinced that they know what to do to solve all the problems, so it is worthless arguing with them.
            To all the other guys, since you know it all, just send your CV to Gene Haas and then we’ll see what will happen.

        2. Fully agree. Grosjean has no added value whatsoever vs what others could bring in. They seem totally bonkers at Haas

      2. Sean O Brien
        29th June 2020, 21:22

        So its alright for you to give your long ass opinion but you said there is no point because none of us really know the reasons for keepong him . Listen lets put it this way the guys is a disaster he is always in carnage i dont know how many times im enjoying a race and my guy is in front leading #TEAM LH and the stupid safty car comes out and the screen changes to him in a disaster of a crash needless mistakes and runes races for people seriously i know from thisnpoint of few its always him k mag isnt as bad as him he is just a little dangerous in how he defends

  3. The biggest issue is that all teams need to comply with any drop in salary. If mercedes say that they wont go above 40m for Hamilton, another team will. And if a salary cost cap were to be introduced, what’s to stop (for example) Mercedes coming to an agreement with Petronas, cutting their own ties with Petronas in exchange for a personal one with Hamilton with the same branding etc? Then they could pay Hamilton less than the cost cap while Hamilton still receives the same amount of money, all complying with the cost cap.

    I have no idea how the NFL manages this – I’d be very interested to see how well it actually works.

    1. NFL is basically the opposite of F1, the salary cap applies to the players and not to staff/operations. This would not work in F1 as the majority of a team’s budget is not spent on the drivers (even though it can be a lot).

    2. The reason Hilfiger is with Merc is because Hamilton is. As I suspect a number of others are (Pilot,etc) Hilfiger sponsor Merc to the tune of $50 million and Ham $8 million. Nothing to stop the three of them agreeing to switch the Ham/Merc amounts around whilst reducing Hams salary.
      Whatever the sport or entertainment the stars command the big bucks. You don’t pay the support actors the same as the leads, or the support band the same as The Stones. Currently Ham and Max are box office.

    3. @minnis it is in fact something we have already seen happen in F1 – even back in the 1980s and 1990s, quite a few drivers were technically employed by their sponsors, or by a third party company, and not their teams.

  4. do drivers like stroll and latifi actually take a salary, as such? seems unlikely to me. I recall reading an article about justin wilson, when he was driving for minardi, in which he described having to work as a driving instructor at brands hatch in order to earn some money to pay the bills. his drive for minardi was entirely contingent on sponsorship money, though he ended up getting people to buy shares in him! ironically, after he moved to jaguar mid-season, he got replaced by a “pay-driver”, christian klien.

    1. @frood19 I found that shocking as well. Especially the amount. I recall in the past guys like Gasly and Albon making more like 300k. And those are proper drivers brought on merit. We all know why Latifi is there.

      The biggest shock, however, was how much other teams seem to be overpaying for their drivers. Ocon 5m? Grosjean 7m? Only 1m less that brilliant Pérez?

      1. I would rather get Ocon for 5m than Perez for 8m, given that they were pretty evenly matched and Ocon can be expected to improve.

      2. Yeah, I have trouble believing Ocon is making $5M his first year back, after losing his seat at the end of his freshman year.

        The table heading does say “estimates”; I’m betting this particular figure is incorrect. 🤷‍♂️

  5. Surely f1 drivers have 200 times the stress , worry, sleeplessnights and emotional anguish than our PM . Drinking champagne in a moored yacht in isolation does take its toll.
    Sponsorship maybe a thing of the past which will take its toll on heavily sponsored sports.
    Would be a nice gesture if the f1 drivers clubbed together and donated essential , life saving medical equipment…..

  6. I don’t really understand this one Dieter.

    If Ferrari / Mercedes / Red Bull can’t afford to pay the big salaries in future, they simply won’t. So I don’t think a cost cap on driver salaries is needed to ‘save the big teams from themselves’ so to speak.

    And apart from 4 drivers, the rest are all pretty much on par and pretty reasonable for a sport which asks its stars to risk their lives 22 times a year. So I don’t think its needed for the smaller teams either.

    The cost cap is long overdue in F1, but I’m not sure if the inclusion of driver salaries would really achieve anything further.

    1. @aussierod – I’m with you there. It seems to be a self-balancing system as it exists today. Big numbers, yes, but it doesn’t seem unwarranted, and it has rightly been kept outside the cost cap (maybe we should call it the “technological cost cap”?)

    2. @aussierod I find the idea of telling teams how much to pay their drivers morally repugnant for the reasons you mentioned. But I also get Done of Dieter’s points, the driver salary is such a disproportionate amount that it ought to be considered in cost cutting discussions. However, teams should arrive to this conclusion themselves. Smaller teams have not complained as far as I know.

    3. I’m not sure if the inclusion of driver salaries would really achieve anything further.

      I suspect you are right, in that whether or not the drivers’ pay is within or without the cost cap they will go home with about the same amount of money, but, noting that I’m not an accountant, I suspect having the driver’s pay within the cap is slightly more honest.
      For example, if a driver’s salary is part of the cost cap, then wouldn’t a team want to minimise it so they can spend more on the car? So I suspect under this scenario a driver would be offered slightly less than what their market rate is, but that the driver would get more “free” stuff to compensate for the shortfall.
      On the other hand, if the driver’s pay is outside the cost cap then one way a team might increase the amount they can spend on a car is to bill the driver for various items that you’d expect them to pay for. So I suspect a team would happily play along with a driver’s desire to be paid slightly more than what their market rate is knowing they’d claw back some of that extra amount paid.

    4. Agreed. There’s plenty of talented drivers, and any team can have a good driver for a million or so. If the top teams want to throw money at them, let them; that is not what is holding the smaller teams back. At the end of the day, even a pay driver in a Mercedes would still handily beat Hamilton in a Williams.

      1. …even a pay driver in a Mercedes would still handily beat Hamilton in a Williams.

        Once Mercedes saw Hamilton driving in a Williams then only an exceptionally good pay driver would keep their seat at Mercedes.

    5. They’re NOT paid to risk their lives, it’s safer than driving a normal car on the road! They’re paid for their performance, driving within 1 sec of the worst current driver is a feat!

    6. 100% with you on this topic. Driver’s salary is self-regulated market. Lewis and his persona totally worth such money, as well as Seb and Danny Ric. No need to go into socialists path here.

      This last bit is quite hilarious:

      “Paying race drivers 50 times as much as the USA pays its president or 200 times the earnings of Britain’s prime minster – regardless of the individuals – is unsustainable. And, in light of current circumstances, unjustifiable.”

      Really? What about PewDiePie and his millions on stupid videos? Maybe we need to put Dieter in charge of “Justice Police” and make everyone poor? No.

      Every F1 driver RISKS his LIFE on track. Can you say it about PM?

  7. Cash is King, right Lewis?

    1. No, talent is king.

      1. No, hard work with the help of talent is king. Even a not so talented person can make a success of themselves if they work hard. A talented driver with a slack attitude is a bane to a team. They’d pray his sponsorship would dry up.

        1. Not at the F1 level. No amount of hard work is going to allow a mediocre F1 driver to match someone with Lewis or Max’s level of innate ability.

          Add to that, they ALL work extremely hard; hard work simply isn’t a differentiator in F1 these days. You need the talent.

  8. In order to try and get a better perspective.
    HAM 40
    VET 30
    VER 25
    RIC 20
    LEC 10
    BOT 8
    PER 8
    GRO 7
    RAI 5
    MAG 5
    OCO 5

    Leclerc is sure the MVP – best bang for the buck

    Grosjean worth more than Raikkonen? Maybe only under RAI terms: I do what I want and I don’t go to press meetings….

    Riccardo CUT the deal of his life!!! Doubled his previous RBR deal, without any title to back it up.

    Max has champion status already, at least by the number on his contract.

    And Vettel…I’m sure it seemed the right thing to do for the Malboro Man (I forgot his name) and Marcchione. It is easy to criticize it now.

  9. £1m for the Williams pair is generous considering the dire straits the team is in currently.
    Be nice to see a table of what pay drivers are contributing to teams.

  10. Absolutely, the driver is part of the team. If a budget cap is affecting the wages an employment of the engineers (who play a much bigger role in winning championships) why shouldn’t it affect drivers?

    Image rights might play a role, but I’m skeptical of that. Maybe if the manufacturers use the drivers in a advertisement then yes. But payment for an ad should be per ad, not part of their fixed salary.

    1. *wages and

  11. Paul Bertenshaw
    30th March 2020, 14:53

    Earning??? Whilst others are laid off they continue to be paid (I presume) these amounts of money for doing nothing?

    1. Connor Carrington
      14th June 2020, 9:14

      Most drivers are taking pay cuts.

  12. Racing Point Lance Stroll $3m
    “Hey dad! I’m going to the movies. Can I have a million dollars?” :-)

  13. For a couple of minutes there … I thought I was reading one of our (almost) national newspapers, aka, “The Red Star”.
    Maybe we are just too close to March 32nd.
    Whether the teams are making or loosing money during this situation or what drivers are getting paid is between the teams and their drivers. While we may be interested, not really our business. Does it provide entertainment value, definitely.
    If driver salaries are to be included in the overall team budgets, something I would be in favor of, then like the Nike guys said … Just Do It. Then let the teams figure out where to best spend the $$$. Tunnel time, R&D, sim modelling or spring for a known fast (but expensive) driver.
    If I recall correctly, Giancarlo Minardi once responded to the question of would he hire Michael Shumacher for the BIG bucks he was getting. His response was something like “Hell Yes, because he is the best.”
    In the major North American sports with salary caps, NFL, NHL for two, teams have to balance salaries, offensive/defensive skills, longevity and position requirements. The objective of the system is to force some equalization on performance across the league. Should be the same goal in F1 if they are serious about the spending cap, but let the teams control how to allocate it.

    1. Why the constant comparison to NFL, a US only game of catch? There are hundreds of highly paid sports stars around the world, some earn squillions and they’re no longer winners, for example Maria Sharapova.

      F1 engineers and designers also earn a lot of money. Wasn’t Paddy Lowe on £3m and Newey on £12m, Jean Todt is a millionaire, not bad for a former navigator.. Are they over paid? Drivers earn what they’re worth to the teams. Teams also pick up sponsorship off the backs of the best drivers. Alonso had many personal sponsors follow him around.

      1. The NFL and NHL are two examples of very large, financially stable and wealthy sports franchises that have endorsed the salary cap or Budget Cap concept.
        Not saying that I like the concept (I don’t) or that they are perfect or should even be held up as model organizations, just that much can be gleaned from their past experience. Even Nascar is effectively in the same game, sort of.
        F1 is headed down this road, whether we like it or not.

        1. @rekibsn: NFL stable, sure… NHL, not so much. Very few profitable teams in the NHL – but almost every franchise is a billionaire vanity project backed by taxpayer-paid rinks – more of a money laundering / tax dodge association with a slight emphasis on hockey.

          1. @robbie it depends whom you read – some have suggested that it might be a good thing, but others have pointed towards some rather negative downsides of the player salary caps in the NHL.

            It might be profitable for those who own those franchises, but it seems that quite a few of the players have complained that it’s a dehumanising experience and that they’re no longer treated as people – they’re now purely a commodity, a financial asset that is to be traded away to make the numbers fit the accounts.

            In particular, a number of injured players have noted that they now have a weird and rather uncertain future, because those players are now a useful financial asset for those teams at the bottom of the league that do seem to be more towards the financial exploitation that Jimmi Cynic notes.

            Because there is also a salary floor, teams at the bottom of the series can exploit that because of quirks that mean that teams have to pay the salaries of injured players. It means that there is now a trade that relies on exploiting the salary caps for injured players, as it allows smaller teams to profit from the difference between the salary cap value of the injured player and the actual salary that they pay that injured player – sometimes including players who have had career ending injuries and will never play, but technically form part of a team’s line up to maintain that paper fiction.

            If your interest is in the value of the franchises for the big teams, yes, it might look good – but from the perspective of a number of players, the cap system creates opportunities for the team owners to exploit and abuse the system for their benefit at the expense of those players. It’s not for nothing that a number of individuals have been calling for a fundamental reform, or even the abolition, of the salary cap system that the NHL uses amid complaints that it’s a system designed to benefit the team owners at the expense of the players and that it is open to abuse.

          2. @anon I was moreso reacting to jimmi’s suggestion that few of the NHL teams are profitable, and took the rest of his comment as fluff. As to the salary cap system yes it isn’t perfect but some suggest it just needs tweaking but not abandonment.


        2. F1 will not be following NFL. NFL has hardly any interest outside of the US, despite numerous attempts to spread it to Europe. Whereas F1, football, tennis, etc, are played and watched around the globe. The stars of those sports are known world wide and earn accordingly. There are only 20 F1 drivers, there are hundreds of NFL players and I couldn’t name one. NFL players are trapped in their sport. There’s no games for retired players, there are no games for anyone who doesn’t play at college and then become a professional. Certainly no pub teams, pick-up park games or track days. Get dropped from American Football and it’s game over. That’s why team owners can limit players earnings. NFL has no relevance to any other sport – full stop.

  14. It seems like Bottas is severely underpaid (relatively)

    1. Not if you look at the typical gap between Lewis and him. If he was performing like Rosberg, he would be underpaid.

      1. I’m sure Bottas is more than happy. If Rosberg hadn’t run away, he might still be languishing in a Williams and earning peanuts. I don’t believe there’s another team who’d pay him $7m. Most of the driver’s contracts will have win, podium & championship bonuses, which I’d expect would take Bottas above the $10m mark.

  15. Not capped. But in the current situation, they (like all sporting stars on large contracts) should be willing to take a temporary cut.

  16. Now who was it that said “Cash is King”?

    1. You, the_grouch and Lewis. Lewis in reference to holding a race during a pandemic.

      You and the_grouch are using it in reference to slag on Lewis. Congrats.

  17. Well, Latifi, Grosjean, Giovinazzi and especially Lance Stroll should just forfeit their salary, for sure. But that has nothing to do with our current situation.

    As for the rest? No, they should not. Companies like Redbull, Mercedes, and Ferrari or guys like daddy Stroll and Gene Haas make insane profits year after year. So now stuff gets bad and they want to pass off the risk on their employees? No. Just no. Getting all of the profits and none of the risks is immoral.

    In fact, not one employee, driver or otherwise, should be fired during this time and the big companies behind the teams that employ them should just eat the loss. Why? Because those are the people that have busted their collective behinds (and often even their marriages) for these companies for years on end. Now is the time to repay that.

  18. F1oSaurus (@)
    30th March 2020, 18:58

    What an incredibly poor article again. Yet again trying to drum up an issue out of thin air.

    What does the pandemic have to do with driver salaries? Who cares how much the drivers earn anyway? The teams can decide very well how much they want to pay them.

    Clearly Hamilton is worth every penny he makes and then some. Verstappen probably too and Ricciardo as well. Although for both of them we still need to see how they hold up under the pressure of a WDC campaign rather than “shining” for a single race here and there.

    Sure the teams get it wrong now and then too. For instance Ferrari dumped hundreds of millions into developing their car and engine and Vettel simply threw it all away in 2017 and 2018 with a multitude of driver errors.

    It’s Ferrari’s own fault that they hired the wrong driver (especially when was being trashed so badly in 2014 when they were hiring him anyway) and way over paying him in the process.

    So they try again with Leclerc. To be honest I don’t think he’s that much better, but that’s how it goes.

    1. Spot on, @f1osaurus!

      Another no news day in F1… make some up!

    2. @f1osaurus what does the pandemic have to do with F1 salaries?

      Well, the fact that they aren’t racing, obviously. Should F1 drivers take their full salaries when they’re going to be racing in (at most) 60% of the races that were expected when they signed for those terms? It’s a legitimate question, I think.

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        31st March 2020, 16:11

        @exediron No it’s not. That’s what a salary is. If the company doesnt have anything to do for it’s employees then it’s their problem.

        Perhaps they can negotiate a drop in salary, but how is this Dieter’s problem?

  19. Brave article Deiter, some drivers are not going to like one bit.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      30th March 2020, 23:01

      I think drivers have better things to do than read articles guessing their salaries. I somehow thing F1 drivers will stay off these sites altogether. They take part in the real thing so I can’t see why they would every be here or need to look up news about it.

  20. People also forget while RBR salaries are low (besides Max), they make it up in bonuses if the team does well in the WDC. It’s been known for a while that the drivers at RBR get bigger bonuses for the amount of podiums/wins they achieve each season which makes up for the short fall.

    Ricciardo also wanted parity or close to parity to what they gave Max because he was essentially scoring the same amount of points etc. as Max at the time. Reason why he was able to negotiate well with Renault because RBR was willing to match at least what Ricciardo wanted.

    Hulk apparently priced himself out of the market (or whatever there was left of it in 2019) so he would have been earning more than Grosjean which is another reason why Haas retained its drivers.

  21. Please could someone explain why pay drivers such as Stroll and Perez are paid salaries when they contribute financially to the team?

    Seems a pointless circle-jerk where everyone pays more tax.

  22. As relevant as this article is, and I’m sorry to say, it’s not fair for you to reduce the work and effort of these drivers to ‘a couple of hours of sweat time on 22 Sundays’. That IMO creates the wrong impression about what they do and not only what it takes, but what it took to get there in the first place. Which you would know more about than most, heck even me – I don’t work in F1, I’m only a fan.

  23. Gibra Mc Doom
    20th July 2020, 19:27

    I was fully enjoying this article until the writer made these two comments

    1. “justify an annual income of $50m for a couple of hours of sweat time on 22 Sunday and the odd marketing commitment? – Very disrespectful

    2. “Paying race drivers 50 times as much as the USA pays its president or 200 times the earnings of Britain’s prime minster” – What does this have to do with their salary, how does that relate in anyway.

    Are we going to downplay what drivers do by equating it to a few hours or sweat and a marketing commitment, seriously feel free to put your life at risk for the entertainment of other human beings and then don’t expect to get paid. Also why do athletes salaries always get compared to other persons salaries, they are not equal, I don’t see anyone telling CEOs or entrepreneurs that they should not be getting paid that much and they should hand over their money to teachers or the president. F1 has 20 seats, some people die before they even get a chance at formula 1, because even formula 2 is just as dangerous, the level of skill required here is 1 in hundreds of millions. So yes these drivers deserve every penny and maybe more, because none of these drivers should risking their lives for your amusement without being properly compensated. $1M is way to low, I agree with focusing more on race placements maybe to control salaries, but a base salary I think is a must. Athletes are not slaves that has to give up they lives and time and devote everything for our enjoyment. The moment salaries are reduced in sports, racing and all these things revert to slavery. Because I can guarantee you would not devote all what you need to become good at any sport and expect minimum wage. To reduce this to a few hours an Sunday is an insult. That would be like me saying journalism is just a bunch of words put together in a few minutes or photographers are pointless because all you do is press a button. Stop reducing persons skill to just what you see on paper, when there is so much that goes on behind the scenes. These people are human beings, not your puppets that you have at your beckon call. In this day and age I expected so much better from us. Empathy is not something that has to be learnt through experience, empathy is something we should have naturally and is disappointing that we as a human race cannot grasp that or relate to something unless we experience that hard ship oursolves.

  24. Cristi Neagu
    6th August 2020, 1:20

    Those drivers are paid as much as they are because fans are willing to pay for subscriptions, tickets, merchandise, etc. People want to see the sport, so they funnel money into the infrastructure, and companies want fans to see their logos, so they’re funnelling money into the teams, which know that the better the driver, the higher up the ranking they place, the more money sponsors, fans, companies throw at them. In conclusion: F1 drivers are paid that much because a lot of people think they are worth it.

    If you don’t think they’re worth that much money, the buck stops with you. Stop paying for F1. Watch something else. Get your info in some other manner. What? You’re not willing to do that? Then you also agree that it’s money well spent, so don’t complain about how much they earn. You’re the one paying them.

  25. Regarding the question about “salary caps” for F1 drivers, as crazy as salaries are around the world for athletes in all sports, there is no justifiable reason to “cap” salaries in any sport.

    Being paid an estimated $40-$50 million to drive an F1 race car is clearly outrageous, especially considering that winning an F1 race is not solely nor mostly dependent on the driver. Consider the fraction of Hamilton’s yearly salary that Bottas gets, and Bottas still gets some wins, the disparity between those two drivers, on the same team, is quite ridiculous. $40 mil for Hamilton and only $8 mil for Bottas. The difference in salary is a factor in how the team mates view each other, and that affects the racing.

    Still, I am not for salary caps. How much an F1 driver, or any athlete in any sport, gets paid should be based on how much the team owner/s and the athlete can negotiate and agree. Only the person/company how much any athlete is worth to their team. That said, as an organization, like any sport, F1 could and should consider the great disparity of salary between drivers in each team. I base that on the prevailing thinking that any employee should be paid an equal salary for equal work requirements. As with any job, every employee is expected to “produce” for the company. In racing the product of the driver/employee is race position outcome, along with meeting the other work requirements of testing, media appearances, and any other agreed to work requirements.

    Granted, in any F1 team, there is typically one driver who wins more races or wins higher positions in more races compared to the other team driver. Should that aspect mean that one driver should be paid more than the other? The obvious, and simple, answer is, yes. For me, the more complicated question is, how much more should the more “winning” driver be paid over the other driver? The answer is still, it depends.

    How great the disparity in salary is complicated, and many people will have varying thoughts. Still, consider your own job/position/career. If there are a number of other employees doing the same work as you do, would you feel equally valued if one of more of your fellow employees are being paid two, three, 5 times more than you are?

    Base salaries should be much closer within teams. Bonuses based on performance, race outcome, can be included as incentive for each team driver to do their best to achieve the extra bonus income. I am much more in agreement with one driver achieving a decent amount greater overall yearly salary, where that yearly salary is based on actual performance bonus salary, rather than a crazily disproportionate yearly salary before actual performance outcomes are known.

    Given Hamilton’s obvious and amazing racing abilities, I understand why he is very highly valued by MB, or any team that may want him. Still, I don’t view his abilities and performance outcomes as being 5 times more valuable than Bottas’s. And yet, that is the difference between Hamilton’s $40 million per ear and Bottas’s $8 million per year. Would Mercedes Benz really lose 5 times more races if both Hamilton and Bottas were paid the same yearly salary? For an example of this, consider Vettel and LeClerc. Vettel’s yearly salary is shown as $30 mil and LeClerc at $10 mil. Is Vettel producing race outcomes/performance that is 3 times better than LeClerc? Even if we argue that the comparison is not fair because of what has happened with the Ferrari team this year, 2020, consider the 2019 season then. Did Vettel produce outcomes/performance that was 3+ times better than LeClerc? The answer is, no he didn’t. If MB were to bring the salary difference between Hamilton and Bottas much closer, I’d be willing to bet that their yearly performance outcome would still be about the same with the glaringly outrageous salary difference between Hamilton and Bottas.

  26. Saying they are getting paid for a “…couple hours of sweat time…” is beyond insulting. The physical and mental strain drivers experience while driving an F1 car are is beyond the limits of what most human beings are capable of. This is yet another example of a press member who because he has covered the sport for so long somehow thinks he knows what it is to actually drive in Formula 1…he DOESNT. He would be wise to remember he has a job because of these drivers. He along with 100s of others make their money because of what these drivers do week and week out. Learn your place.

  27. I dont think drivers salaries should be included in the budget cap!
    • if every driver is paid the same it will be a battle for the midfield to secure “a potential winning driver” for the next year
    •after a driver wins the world championship they risk being dropped the next season if they drop a few places
    •who will push or take risks to win if the risks put your career at risk
    In an ideal world the budget cap will only highlight the worth of the drivers pay gaps. One thing is for certain, we will see a more level playing field regarding technological advantage in 2021.

  28. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    4th November 2020, 18:31

    Could any person, regardless of economic times, justify an annual income of $50m for a couple of hours of sweat time on 22 Sunday and the odd marketing commitment? Don’t blame the drivers: they’re simply taking what’s offered by teams.

    Well, that doesn’t apply to F1. That applies to all sports and yes it all comes down to few moments of competition.

    How do you feel about Phelps or Usain Bolt swimming/running every 4 years? If you put away all the effort it takes to remain a champion over 4 years, Bolt only technically runs for 9.6 seconds, right? Even if we triple the mimimum hourly wage and apply it for 10 seconds, he should still walk away with $1-2 right for running that short a distance?

    Why would anyone oppose the few circumstances in our society where an individual can actually receive fair compensation for their unique talents and abilities? Shouldn’t we as a society be applauding that? Of course, the powers that be would rather keep the money for themselves and will come up with any excuse to make that happen. That’s been the case since both communism and capitalism came into existence – an elite group of people wish to take as much of the pie from the people as possible and keep it to themselves.

    Unless we are part of that elite and stand to gain something, we should be delighted that the F1 drivers are paid what they deserve.

  29. There’s no way Ocon or Grojean is right, not a hope.

    Grojean bring circa $7m from Total and he gets a percentage of that – maybe $1.5-2m but not a penny more.

    Ocon isn’t worth $250k and Renault are tight so no way they’d be stupid enough to pay $5m

    K Mag is only on circa 1/3 of what you have as well.

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