The argument that it’s the car not the driver in F1 that wins races is one we hear time and time again. Well, UK newspaper The Daily Mirror have revealed the salaries of the stars of Formula 1 and it’s a real insight as to how much of an advantage F1 teams think a top driver can give them, in and out of the car.
While their salaries can be boosted by sponsorship deals and funding which isn’t taken into account, they each receive a basic (in some cases not-so basic!) salary from their team, and not only is the money involved and the very top of the tree eye-watering, but just as startling is the discrepancy between the salaries of the big earners and the not-so-big earners.
Not so surprising is the fact that five times world champion Lewis Hamilton takes home the biggest wage – a staggering £40 million a year, and five times that of his team-mate Valtteri Bottas who has to struggle by on a mere £6.5 million a year.
Next most lucrative contract goes to four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel whose Ferrari deal is reported to earn him £30 million a year plus change.
What’s eye-catching about what Ferrari pay their two drivers is that while they’re clearly happy to pay top dollar to get what they perceive as the world’s best to sit in their #1 car, the lure of the Scuderia to a driver in the second year of his F1 career was enough to allow them to pay Vettel’s team-mate Charles Leclerc £2.5 million a year – A TWELFTH of what they pay their star driver.
Renault had to dig deep to secure the services of race-winner Daniel Ricciardo for their midfield outfit, with a hefty deal that nets the Australian £26 million a year, triple what he was earning at Red Bull last year and over £20 million more than his team-mate, nearly-man Nico Hulkenberg who many people actually fancy to end the season on top.
Max Verstappen’s next up taking home £10 million a year (this is almost certain to be dwarfed by his salaries in future) then there’s a glut of drivers on between £3.5 million and £1 million including Kimi, Hulk, Sainz, Leclerc, Perez, Grosjean and Gasly, while Daddy Stroll pays his son Lance a meagre £900k a year – the same as Haas pay Kevin Magnussen.
Then we get to the drivers who would most probably drive for free, a seat in a Formula 1 car being the main reward, including Williams F1‘s two drivers Robert Kubica (£430k) and George Russell (£140k) along with the two Toro Rosso drivers, Alfa Romeo’s Giovinazzi and McLaren new boy Lando Norris.
This means that Lewis Hamilton earns three hundred times the amount of Alexander Albon, F1’s lowest paid driver in 2019 (£40m vs £130k).
Is he worth it? Nine world championships with Mercedes says he is.