Top F1 Drivers Salaries Revealed

Last year, UK-based publication The Mirror revealed the F1 driver salary for everyone from Max Verstappen to Lando Norris and we can now confirm the following: it pays to race. On the other hand, there’s a conspicuously wide gap between Lewis Hamilton and someone like Alexander Albon, whose F1 salary appears at the bottom of the exclusive list. Here’s hoping Albon and others like him have some lucrative sponsorship deals to round out their fiscal portfolios.

As with any popular industry, the biggest stars and talents earn the most and Formula One racing is no exception. For those who need a reminder: the autosport involves racing really (really, really) fast single-seater cars on behalf of your team. It’s the highest class of single-seater auto racing and it’s every bit as risky as it sounds, though we have a feeling the adrenaline is part of the appeal. Each season consists of a series of races—better known as Grand Prix—on roads and circuits around the world. The race results are determined by way of a meticulous points system and both drivers and constructors are rewarded.

It should come as a surprise to no one that Formula One is basically a small economy unto itself. The cost of operating a mid-tier team is expected to be around US$120 million, which goes toward job creation, political maneuvering, R&D, and driver’s salaries, among other things. At the top of the proverbial ladder is Liberty Media, which acquired control over F1 for a cool US$8 billion in 2017. In summary: money.

So how much do F1 drivers earn in salary every year? As we stated before, the answer varies wildly from one racer to the next. At the tippy-top of the list are living legends like Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, and Sebastian Vettel. For Australia’s own Ricciardo, 2019 represented a veritable high point from a financial perspective (albeit not a competitive one), as the racer tripled his salary when he switched from Red Bull to Renault Sport. Consider that mystery solved!

From there, it’s a fairly steep drop down to Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas, whose respective F1 salaries occupy the lower end of the upper crust. That’s followed by yet another significant drop down to Romain Grosjean, who holds tight above the £1 million threshold.

When you bring sponsorships and bonuses into the frame, the average F1 driver salary most likely soars to new heights. That is to say, the list of F1 salaries reflects the amounts on each respective contract and doesn’t necessarily take all those peripheral perks into account. Like we said: it pays to race. Here’s a breakdown of the top F1 drivers and their salaries.

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – £40,000,000

Widely considered one of the greatest drivers of all time, British racer Lewis Hamilton is a six-time Formula One World Champion. He used to race for McLaren until switching over to Mercedes in 2013. Well played, Mercedes!

The first and only black racecar driver in the history of F1, Hamilton currently holds the following records: most career points of all time, most pole positions of all time, most grand slams in a single season, and most points in a single season. He’s also the runner-up in a range of other categories, including World Championship titles, race victories, and podium finishes.

As any F1 fan can tell you, Hamilton is on top of the world right now in every conceivable way. When he finished in 1st place for the 2019 season, it came on the heels of two consecutive World Championship titles. Put simply, the man is on a roll. Should he win again in 2020, he’ll tie the all-time record for most World Championship titles.

Given all of Hamilton’s accomplishments, his appearance at the top of the F1 driver salary list comes as a surprise to essentially no one. He signed a new two-year deal last year, which is set to expire at the end of 2020.

Country of origin: UK
Racing team: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport
Number of World Championships: 6

2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) – £30,500,000

Germany’s Sebastian Vettel began his career as a test driver and soon became the youngest pole-sitter and race winner in F1 history. While driving for Red Bull, he snagged four World Championship titles in a row, competing in some of the most legendary showdowns of the last 20 years.

Since signing with Ferrari in 2015, Vettel’s career hasn’t exactly been as consistent or extraordinary. Nevertheless, he still manages to take home the second-highest F1 driver salary. That makes him a perennial runner-up to Lewis Hamilton in sport and salary alike.

Country of origin: Germany
Racing team: Ferrari
Number of World Championships: 4

3. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) – £26,500,000

Some fans were baffled when this Australian driver signed a two-year contract with Renault in 2018. Here to provide clarity is Daniel Ricciardo’s salary of £26,500,000 per year, which is much higher than what he was earning with Red Bull. Based on his performance in the time since, however, one might wonder if Renault is suffering from buyer’s remorse.

By the end of the 2019 season, Ricciardo was in 9th place in the championship with a tally of 54 points. For the 2020 season, he’ll be partnered with Mercedes reserve Esteban Ocon. Here’s hoping it results in a change of luck for the talented driver, who does our nation proud.

Country of origin: Australia
Racing team: Renault Sport
Number of World Championships: 0

4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – £10,000,000

Belgian-Dutch driver Max Verstappen was just 17-years-old when he raced in the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, making him the youngest driver to ever compete in F1 history. While he doesn’t have any World Championship titles to his name, the man still has plenty of time to make it happen. He just turned 22 last September, after all.

Verstappen began his career with Toro Rosso but moved up to Red Bull in 2016 and has been racing for them ever since. He finished the 2019 season in third place, representing a career-best. It was recently announced that he extended his contract with Red Bull until the end of 2023. We don’t know what that means for Max Verstappen’s salary just yet, but it would have to be a lot higher for him to move up on the list.

Country of origin: Belgium
Racing team: Red Bull Racing
Number of World Championships: 0

5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) £6,500,000

With his respectable F1 salary of £6,500,000, Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas doesn’t earn nearly as much as his current racing partner, Lewis Hamilton. Of course, another way to look at it is that Bottas earns far more than the majority of F1 drivers. It’s all about perspective, folks.

The 2019 season was quite good for Bottas, who’s been racing for Mercedes since 2017. He finished the season in 2nd place behind Hamilton, making it his most successful season to date. Overall, he recorded 4 wins, 15 podium finishes, 5 pole positions, and 3 fastest laps.

Country of origin: Finland
Racing team: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport
Number of World Championships: 0

6. Romain Grosjean (Haas) – £1,400,000

This French-Swiss racing driver was the first since 1994 to get banned from F1 after he caused a multi-car pile-up at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix. He returned the following year and drove for Lotus until 2016, which is when he moved over to Haas. He’ll remain with Haas until his contract expires at the end of 2020.

Fun fact: Grosjean is also a talented cook who co-authored the cookbook “Cuisine et Confidences” with his wife, TV personality Marion Jollès Grosjean.

Country of origin: Switzerland
Racing team: Haas
Number of World Championships: 0

7. Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) – £1,000,000

Pierre Gasly was a GP2 Series champion before he made his F1 debut in 2017, racing for Toro Rosso. He moved up to Red Bull by 2019, only to be unceremoniously demoted mid-season. That put him back in the Toro Rosso ranks, where he achieved five points finishes during the remainder of the season.

At the now-famous 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, Grasly capitalised on all sorts of chaos to finish in 2nd place. It was the first podium finish of his Formula One career and Toro Rosso’s best race result since the 2008 Italian Grand Prix. Gasly’s F1 salary was a cool £1,000,000 in 2019.

Country of origin: France
Racing team: Toro Rosso
Number of World Championships: 0

8. Lance Stroll (Racing Point) – £900,000

Let’s give it up for Canada and its foremost F1 racer, Lance Stroll. He joined Racing Point (formerly known as Force India) in 2018 and scored his first points for the team at the Australian Grand Prix. He’s also the son of billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who happens to be part owner of Racing Point. Does that mean part of Stroll’s F1 driver salary is the result of nepotism? We’ll leave that one for the fans and haters to hash out!

Country of origin: Canada
Racing team: Racing Point
Number of World Championships: 0

9. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) – £900,000

It’s hard to bring up Kevin Magnussen without bringing up his legendary father, Jan Magnussen, a four-time Le Mans GT class winner and former F1 driver. Of course, Kevin is a veritable talent in his own right, who rose through the ranks as part of McLaren’s Young Driver Programme. After brief stints with McLaren and Renault, he moved over to Haas in 2017.

Country of origin: Denmark
Racing team: Haas
Number of World Championships: 0

10. Robert Kubica (Williams) – £430,000

Robert Józef Kubica became the first and only Polish driver in F1 history when he began racing for BMW Sauber in 2006. After partially severing his right forearm in the 2011 Ronde di Andora rally—which he’d joined for fun—Kubica made a slow and arduous return to F1 racing. He raced for Williams during the 2019 season and that was pretty much the last gasp of his F1 career. According to recent reports, he’s now in talks with the World Endurance Championship and World Rally Championship.

Country of origin: Poland
Racing team: Williams
Number of World Championships: 0

11. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) – £230,000

This Russian-born driver was on track to become a Red Bull racing star until a controversial collision in 2016, which resulted in a demotion to Toro Rosso. He briefly parted ways with the Red Bull organisation in 2018 to serve as a development driver for Scuderia Ferrari, only to return to Toro Rosso the following year.

While Kvyat’s a solid driver with three podium finishes to show for it, his career continues to lag due to specific performance issues. However, there’s still time for that F1 salary to go up.

Country of origin: Russia
Racing team: Toro Rosso
Number of World Championships: 0

12. Lando Norris (McLaren) – £200,000

What began as a passion for motorcycle racing became a promising F1 career for this British-Belgian driver. A former member of the McLaren young driver programme, he began racing for the team in 2019. He scored his first points in the Bahrain Grand Prix and then experienced an uneven season, scoring and retiring from one race to the next.

Norris finished the season in 11th place and will stay with McLaren through 2020 and beyond. His F1 salary might seem low compared to the others, but this 20-year-old driver has plenty of room to grow.

Country of origin: UK
Racing team: McLaren
Number of World Championships: 0

13. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) – £175,000

After Sauber racing driver Pascal Wehrlein was injured during the Race of Champions in early 2017, it put Antonio Giovinazzi behind the wheel. He debuted at the 2017 Australian Grand Prix and filled in again for Wehrlein at the Chinese Grand Prix. Giovinazzi signed on as a full-time racer with Alfa Romero in 2019. He’ll continue to race for the team throughout the 2020 season.

Country of origin: Italy
Racing team: Alfa Romero
Number of World Championships: 0

14. George Russell (Williams) – £140,000

A former FIA Formula 2 Champion and GP3 Series Champion, George Russell entered the big leagues just last season, signing a multi-year deal with Williams and partnering with Robert Kubica. Despite finishing the season in 20th place and with 0 points, Russell still outperformed Kubica in 16 out of 18 races. Let’s see what 2020 brings for this 21-year-old F1 driver.

Country of origin: UK
Racing team: Williams
Number of World Championships: 0

15. Alexander Albon (Red Bull) – £130,000

With his F1 salary of £130,000, this Thai-British driver lands at the bottom of the list (we’re sorry if that sounded unnecessarily competitive, but this is Formula One racing we’re talking about). He began the 2019 season with Toro Rosso before getting promoted to Red Bull, for whom he rides today.

Country of origin: UK
Racing team: Red Bull Racing
Number of World Championships: 0

FAQ

How much do f1 drivers earn?

The salary for a Formula One driver can swing wildly from one competitor to the next. Driver Lewis Hamilton earns as much as £40 million a year, but that's well above the average. At the other end of the spectrum is Alexander Albon, who earns £130,000 a year.

Who is the richest Formula One driver?

Michael Schumacher is the richest racing driver of all time, though he retired from F1 in 2012. Among current racing drivers, Lewis Hamilton has the greatest net worth.

What is Lewis Hamilton's annual salary?

F1 driver Lewis Hamilton races for Mercedes and currently makes £40 million a year.

What is Max Verstappen's salary?

F1 driver Max Verstappen races for Red Bull and recently made £10 million a year. In January 2020, he extended his contract with Red Bull through to 2023 for an unknown sum.

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