In Formula 1, Formula1


Formula 1 is a high-octane, adrenaline-fueled world that captivates millions of fans globally. With thrilling races and high-performance cars, it’s no wonder that the drivers are at the center of this spectacle. As the superstars of the sport, Formula 1 drivers command impressive salaries and benefit from lucrative sponsorship deals. But just how much do these speed demons earn to drive their multi million dollar cars? Who are the highest paid drivers? In this article, we’ll delve into the world of F1 driver earnings, using various sources to provide a comprehensive understanding of their income.

how much do f1 drivers make

Base Salaries

Formula 1 drivers earn a significant portion of their income from their base salaries, which can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, team, and individual performance. According to a 2021 report by [1], seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was the highest-paid driver, with an estimated base salary of $30 million per year. That sum is now up to 35 Million. In contrast, rookie drivers or those driving for smaller teams may earn as “little” as $1 million annually [2].

It’s important to note that these figures may not be entirely accurate, as teams and drivers often keep the exact details of their contracts confidential. Nevertheless, these estimates provide a general idea of the vast range in F1 driver salaries.

Performance Bonuses

On top of their base salaries, Formula 1 drivers can also earn substantial performance bonuses. These bonuses are typically linked to race wins or podiums, championship points, or achieving specific targets set by the team [3]. For example, in 2018, future world champion Max Verstappen, reportedly received a $25,000 bonus for every point he scored in the drivers’ championship [4].

Bonuses serve as an incentive for drivers to consistently deliver strong results, as their total income can increase substantially based on their on-track success.

Sponsorships and Endorsements

Sponsorship and endorsement deals are another significant income stream for Formula 1 drivers. As high-profile athletes, they have the opportunity to partner with various brands, promoting their products and services in exchange for lucrative fees [5]. For instance, Lewis Hamilton, one of the highest paid drivers, has endorsement deals with brands such as Puma, Tommy Hilfiger, and Bose, which reportedly contribute millions of dollars to his annual earnings [6].

Less established drivers or those competing for smaller teams may not have the same level of exposure or earning potential from sponsorships. However, they can still benefit from smaller deals that supplement their income.

Personal Merchandise and Licensing

Many top Formula 1 drivers also earn money through the sale of personal merchandise and licensing their name or image for use in products and marketing campaigns [7]. This can include branded clothing, accessories, or even video games featuring their likeness.

While this income stream may be less significant than base salaries or sponsorship deals, it can still contribute to a driver’s overall earnings, particularly for those with a strong personal brand and fan following.

Prize Money

Formula 1 teams receive a share of the sport’s annual prize fund, which is based on their performance in the constructors’ championship [8]. Although drivers do not directly receive a share of this prize money, it’s common for their contracts to include clauses that entitle them to a percentage of the team’s winnings [9].

The exact amount a driver earns from prize money will depend on their team’s performance and their individual contract terms, but this can be another meaningful addition to their total income.

How much do F1 drivers make in 2023

  1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, $55 Million per Year, contract length: 2028
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, $35 Million per Year, contract length: 2023
  3. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, $24 Million per Year, contract length: 2024
  4. Lando Norris, McLaren, $20 Million per Year, contract length: 2025
  5. Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, $12 Million per Year, contract length: 2024
  6. Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, $10 Million per Year, contract length: 2024
  7. Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo, $10 Million per Year, contract length: 2025
  8. George Russell, Mercedes, $8 Million per Year, contract length: 2023
  9. Esteban Ocon, Alpine, $6 Million per Year, contract length: 2024+
  10. Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, $5 Million per Year, contract length: 2024+
  11. Pierre Gasly, Alpine, $5 Million per Year, contract length: 2024+
  12. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, $5 Million per Year, contract length: 2023
  13. Alexander Albon, Williams, $3 Million per Year, contract length: 2024+
  14. Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, $2 Million per Year, contract length: Open
  15. Nico Hulkenberg, Haas, $2 Million per Year, contract length: 2024
  16. Nick De Vries, AlphaTauri, $2 Million per Year, contract length: 2023+
  17. Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo, $2 Million per Year, contract length: 2023
  18. Oscar Piastri, McLaren, $2 Million per Year, contract length: 2024+
  19. Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, $1 Million per Year, contract length: 2023+
  20. Logan Sargeant, Williams, $1 Million per Year, contract length: 2023+

Factors Affecting Formula 1 Driver Salaries

Several factors can impact the earnings of Formula 1 drivers, including:

a. Experience and Reputation: More experienced and successful drivers are typically able to command higher salaries and attract more sponsorship deals. For example, a world champion like Lewis Hamilton will earn more than a rookie driver with limited experience at the top level of the sport.

b. Team Budget: Formula 1 teams have varying budgets, with top teams like Mercedes and Ferrari able to offer higher salaries compared to smaller teams with limited resources. Consequently, a driver’s earnings can be influenced by the financial capacity of their team. And the salary of the drivers are not included in the budget cap.

c. Negotiation Skills: As in any profession, a driver’s ability to negotiate effectively can play a crucial role in determining their salary. Skilled negotiators may secure more favorable contract terms, including higher base salaries and bonuses.

d. Marketability: Drivers with a strong personal brand and fan following may be more attractive to sponsors, allowing them to earn more through endorsement deals and merchandise sales.

The Future of Formula 1 Driver Earnings

The financial landscape of Formula 1 is constantly evolving, and recent changes to the sport’s regulations could have a significant impact on driver earnings. In 2021, a budget cap of $145 million per team was introduced to level the playing field and promote more competitive racing [10]. While this cap does not directly limit driver salaries, it could lead to teams reassessing their spending priorities and potentially reduce the earnings of some drivers.

Additionally, the ongoing push for sustainability and the adoption of new technologies in Formula 1 could influence the types of sponsorship and endorsement deals available to drivers. As the sport continues to adapt and evolve, it’s likely that the income landscape for drivers will change accordingly.

The Bigger Picture: Wealth Beyond Formula 1

While Formula 1 drivers can earn significant incomes during their racing careers, many also leverage their success to generate wealth outside of the sport. For example, drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have invested in businesses, real estate, and other ventures, which can provide additional income streams and financial security beyond their racing careers [11].

In summary, Formula 1 drivers can make large earnings through various income streams, including base salaries, performance bonuses, sponsorships, endorsements, merchandise sales, and prize money. However, the amount a driver earns can be influenced by several factors, such as their experience, reputation, team budget, negotiation skills, and marketability. With the changing landscape of Formula 1 and the introduction of new regulations, the future of driver earnings remains uncertain.

Nonetheless, successful Formula 1 drivers can earn million dollars and create lasting wealth both on and off the track, ensuring a comfortable and prosperous life long after their racing careers have ended.



[1] (2021). F1 driver salaries in 2021 according to RaceFans. [2] Forbes. (2020). Formula 1’s Richest Drivers. [3] Formula Money. (2018). F1 Driver Earnings. [4] Autosport. (2018). Max Verstappen’s F1 salary revealed. [5] CNBC. (2019). How Formula 1 drivers make money. [6] Forbes. (2021). The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes. [7] EssentiallySports. (2020). How do F1 Drivers Make Money? [8] Autosport. (2020). Formula 1’s prize money structure explained. [9] The Telegraph. (2016). How much do Formula One drivers get paid? [10] Formula 1. (2020). F1’s cost cap explained – What has changed, how will it be enforced and will it work? [11] EssentiallySports. (2021). Top 5 Richest F1 Drivers of All Time. [12]
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Emanuele Venturoli
Emanuele Venturoli
A graduate in Public, Social and Political Communication from the University of Bologna, he has always been passionate about marketing, design and sport.
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