Take Lewis Hamilton for instance. The seven-time world champion and knighted sports star has once again topped the list of highest earners on the F1 circuit, raking in a staggering US$80 million in the 2020 season. But with the global coronavirus pandemic still threatening to derail the sporting calendar, data released by Spotrac outlining the salaries of F1 drivers, indicates that Hamilton and his colleagues are set to experience quite the pay cut. Even so, Hamilton will still be paid more than double his closest competition - Fernando Alonso, who recently signed on to the rebranded Alpine F1 team (formerly Renault) for US$20 million.
Just recently, Red Bull chief Helmut Marko came out and said drivers like Hamilton are too expensive for F1. Amidst multiple discussions surrounding drivers’ salaries and the proposed budget cap, Marko told RTL/ntv that “Hamilton is simply too expensive for Formula 1. This is why we need the pilots’ salary to be included in the budget ceiling.”
Marko added, “Given that in 2021 we will see the introduction of the budget ceiling for the first time in the history of Formula 1, the meeting raised several questions about cost control and how we can achieve this goal in the coming years.”
“As part of that, a working group will be created that will include the drivers to discuss the point of the driver contracts and the team managers.”
It’s a view backed up by Alpha Tour team principal Franz Test, who has long been an advocate for the need for salary caps. Tost recommended that a driver should not be paid more than $10 million a year, a figure that is more than four times less than what Hamilton makes in a year at Mercedes.
The F1 is breaking new ground this year, implementing the first-ever set of Financial Regulations, which includes a cost cap aimed at delivering a more competitive championship. The cap will limit the amount of money a Formula 1 team can spend during a calendar year, relating specifically to costs that impact a race car’s performance and is set at US$145 million for the 2021 season. Following such a decision, a committee is now looking to make a vote on whether further cost controls should be added to driver salaries and those of senior management, which currently sit outside the cap.
“As 2021 sees the introduction of a cost cap for the first time in Formula 1, various topics around controlling costs and how this overall objective can be achieved over the coming years were tabled during the meeting,” said F1 and the FIA in a statement. “As part of this, a working group will be cerated - including the drivers themselves - to discuss the topic of driver and senior management contracts.”
It makes the 2021 salaries outlined by Spotrac all the more interesting. To see who ranks among the top-earners on the F1 circuit, read on below.
- Lewis Hamilton – US$55,000,000
- Fernando Alonso – US$20,000,000
- Max Verstappen – US$20,000,000
- Sebastian Vettel – US$17,000,000
- Daniel Ricciardo – US$17,000,000
- Valtteri Bottas – US$11,000,000
- Charles Leclerc – US$11,000,000
- Kimi Raikkonen – US$7,525,000
- Carlos Sainz – US$6,840,000
- Esteban Ocon – US$4,650,000
- Sergio Perez – US$3,420,000
- Lance Stroll – US$1,915,000
- Pierre Gasly – US$1,915,000
- Lando Norris – US$1,915,000
- George Russell – US$958,000
- Nicholas Latifi – US$958,000
- Antonio Giovinazzi – US$684,000
- Yuki Tsunoda – Unknown
- Mick Schumacher – Unknown
- Nikita Mazepin – Unknown