How Much Do F1 Drivers Make?
Formula 1 (F1) is renowned for its high-stakes races, cutting-edge technology, and the world-class talent behind the wheel. Unsurprisingly, the question of how much do F1 drivers make often arises as fans attempt to gauge the value each racer brings to their team and compare the sport to other popular athletic pursuits.
Determining a driver’s salary involves various factors, including experience, past achievements, marketability, world championships, and sponsorship deals. However, unlike other sports, precise figures are not publicly disclosed, and teams are reluctant to reveal the financial packages offered to their drivers.
With manufacturers like McLaren, Aston Martin, Mercedes, and Ferrari supporting the drivers, it’s safe to assume that F1 salaries reach impressive heights. But exactly how much do F1 drivers make? Well, that’s where we come into the picture! Join us as we dive into average F1 driver earnings, the salaries for the top dogs, and even how much the pit crews make.
Highest Paid F1 Drivers By Team in 2024
With Formula One interest growing globally, in part thanks to Netflix’s smash-hit documentary Drive to Survive, plenty of money is reaching the top drivers’ pockets. For example, estimates put 2021 and 2022 world champion Max Verstappen’s contract at $55 million, which exceeds the reported $50 million seven-time champion Michael Schumacher earned annually from Ferrari.
However, an F1 driver can add further money to fill their purse for product endorsements and personal sponsorship. For example, Mexican driver Sergio Perez has the backing of two companies from Mexico, Telmex and Telcel, to top up his salary.
Here are the reported earnings for every 2023 Formula One driver.
🟢 Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen – $55 million
It’s no surprise that the world champion nets the highest salary prize in F1 today. Red Bull moved to sign their Dutch ace on a long-term deal after his 2021 title. The contract means the Dutchman is one of F1’s highest earners ever and will enjoy a hefty payout each season until 2028.
🟢 Sergio Perez – $10 million
Perez faced the door of F1 in late 2020 before Red Bull added him to their roster on a deal some estimate at $6 million. The team hoped their new signing would bring consistency after multiple championship seasons where inexperienced drivers didn’t have the speed they hoped. Perez soon lived up to their expectations, and the team extended his contract until 2024 after he won in Monaco, giving him an extra pay rise, too.
Lewis Hamilton – $35 million
The driver with the highest number of wins, pole positions, and equal-most world championships does not have the highest salary. Still, the number of different experiences Hamilton has had in his career keeps him as the second-highest earner, some way behind Verstappen, but with a sizeable gap to his next closest challenger, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
George Russell – $8 million
The pay gap between George Russell and teammate Lewis Hamilton demonstrates the difference a career can make, no matter that they drive the same car. Although Russell has since shown his race-winning ability, triumphing at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos circuit, he hadn’t had a chance to prove he was worth more when he first signed for Mercedes for the 2022 season. He can expect a bump in salary for any future contracts.
Charles Leclerc – $24 million
Ferrari had nurtured Charles Leclerc well before he joined F1 in the hope that he would live up to the talent he demonstrated in junior races. Leclerc didn’t take long to impress in F1 cars, and soon graduated to Ferrari, and now has the best pay package outside of the world champions.
Carlos Sainz – $12 million
Carlos Sainz was not a race winner when he first joined Ferrari, replacing Sebastian Vettel, and his lower salary matched the results he had on the track. He is now one of the higher earners on the grid thanks to regularly bringing Ferrari points, and he got his first F1 win at Britain’s Silverstone course in 2022. Ferrari’s man from Spain will likely earn more in his next contract, although it still might not match the Charles Leclerc Ferrari deal.
Lando Norris – $20 million
McLaren CEO Zak Brown sees a lot of promise in Lando Norris, and estimates of the British driver’s package is $20 million per year reflect that. Norris raised his stock further by outperforming the highly-rated Daniel Ricciardo of Australia on nearly all tracks in their time together, somewhat justifying a high salary. Still, he has yet to win an F1 race. However, Norris is marketable with people, and checking comments on his Instagram account, or likes on a McLaren YouTube video, will show his popularity.
Oscar Piastri – $2 million
Piastri is one of the lower-paid drivers on any list, but with 2023 being the Australian’s first year in the sport, it’s no surprise why. Unless his management team has negotiated bonuses or benefits into his first F1 contract, Piastri will rake in around $2 million in 2023 from McLaren.
🟢 Aston Martin
Fernando Alonso – $20 million
When the news broke that Sebastian Vettel would be leaving F1, it didn’t take long for another world champion to jump at the opportunity to race in the vacant seat. Aston Martin’s substantial investment in F1 has allowed them to lure two title winners to their team in succession. Although it’s over 15 years since Alonso’s last championship, the Spaniard will rake in one of F1’s higher salaries until 2024.
Lance Stroll – $2 million
Although Lance Stroll’s father owns the team he races for, information suggests Stroll is on a much lower base salary than any other driver with over six seasons of experience. Times won’t ever be too tight in the Stroll household, and the Canadian racer won’t have to worry about losing his drive while his dad owns the team, so earning a high salary won’t be as crucial as with other drivers.
🟢 Alfa Romeo
Valtteri Bottas – $10 million
Finland’s sole F1 2023 representative has earned his place in the sport’s history books with consistent podiums and occasional wins for his old Mercedes team. That’s why Alfa Romeo was happy to pay a relatively high salary for a midfield team to attract Bottas to their ranks. He might not be fighting at the front with Alfa Romeo under the current rules, but Bottas has a race car in F1 until 2025 with his deal.
Zhou Guanyu – $2 million
Many suggested Zhou’s Chinese sponsors got him to F1 rather than his skills. However, the Alfa Romeo racer surprised many of us with decent finishes, eventually finishing 18th in the final standings. Zhou might not make tens of millions like his more experienced teammate, but that might change should he surpass Bottas in the F1 order in 2023. Many a business in China would love to have the rights to the country’s only F1 driver.
Esteban Ocon – $6 million
A curious turn of events had Ocon leaving F1 in 2019 despite a solid reputation before bouncing back in 2020. Now he has a contract until 2024 for his efforts at Alpine. Points mean prizes, they say, and it seems Ocon’s ability to score points at circuits across the calendar secured him $6 million a year for the medium-term future.
Pierre Gasly – $5 million
Red Bull limited Gasly’s access to a higher-paying contract at a different team, with them holding a multi-year option on the Frenchman’s service. With a low chance of Gasly stepping up from AlphaTauri to the Red Bull team for a second time after a brief stint in 2019, he left for Alpine for 2023, where he’ll earn $5 million annually until 2024.
Kevin Magnussen – $5 million
Haas favoured reliable and experienced hands for 2023, continuing with Kevin Magnussen on the second year of his two-year contract and adding Nico Hulkenberg. Magnussen was a known quantity to the team when he rejoined them just before the 2021 season, and he came with a slightly higher annual price tag than his teammate.
Nico Hulkenberg – $2 million
F1 veteran Nico Hulkenberg has the dubious honour of being the driver who has started the highest number of races without a podium, and his relatively low salary may reflect that. The only driver from Germany on the 2023 grid replaced Mick Schumacher after Haas wanted driver experience rather than youth for this season.
Alexander Albon – $3 million
The driver from Thailand returned to F1 in 2022 after an unwanted time away from the sport and impressed Williams enough to offer him a contract extension into 2024. So although his income isn’t at Lewis Hamilton Mercedes levels, Albon will be content to know he has a future in F1 with the United Kingdom team.
Logan Sargeant – $1 million
Sources place America’s first F1 driver since 2015 at around $1 million. With F1’s marketability in the USA growing, Sargeant may find he could become one of the sport’s stars as F1 races around Miami, Las Vegas, and Austin. If tickets sell because of Sargeant, he may find he can ask for a bigger share of the pie, especially if he laps with speed, too.
Nyck de Vries – $2 million
There aren’t many F1 drivers who have raced in many other forms of motorsport, and de Vries is the only FIA world champion of another championship. After switching from the electric racing series, the Formula E ace fulfilled his lifelong dream of joining F1 in 2023. If he shows the same speeds he produced in his championship-winning year at the wheel of the Mercedes-EQ team, the Dutchman might find he can demand more money.
Yuki Tsunoda – $1 million
Tsunoda may have three years in F1, but the Japanese driver has not sufficiently impressed the Red Bull hand that feeds that he’s worthy of a higher-paying contract. Honda, whose investments helped Tsunoda reach F1, would love to see a driver from Japan succeed. Rookie errors, like his crash in the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, are less frequent, but Tsunoda must use all his skills should he want to earn more money and repay Honda’s faith.
Teams pay Formula One drivers vastly different sums of money, as evidenced on this page. While newcomers bring in $1 or $2 million, more experienced hands at richer teams can earn over $35 million. The average F1 salary in 2023 is $11.25 million, according to the maths of the author of this article, anyway! Perhaps a more representative figure is the median salary, $5.5 million. These figures do not consider any personal sponsorships or endorsements or account for any event of a driver getting a winning bonus.
Logan Sargeant and Yuki Tsunoda have the joint-lowest salary in F1. Sargeant is a rookie in the sport for 2023 and is racing for Williams, a team with a lower budget than many rivals. Tsunoda, meanwhile, is tied to Red Bull’s F1 project and has not sufficiently impressed his bosses in his two seasons of racing so far to receive a higher remuneration. AlphaTauri also does not have as high a budget as its sister team, Red Bull.
Like driver salaries, wages for a Formula One pit crew will vary greatly depending on the team and the crew member’s experience. On average, a mechanic will earn around $60-$70,000 per year but will also claim significant expenses for the high amount of travel they must do.
Although the most visible part of the pit crew’s role is to perform a pit stop, they work extremely long hours and must possess a broad knowledge of car mechanics and engineering. The crew practises countless pit stops on the race cars and must know how to fix a rear wing, troubleshoot problems with acceleration, plus be ready to jump into action to give their driver an advantage in a race. Unlike a driver’s salary, a pit crew’s salary falls under F1’s cost cap limit. That is $135 million for 2023, with sizable fines for any team that breaches that financial line.
Expert's Summary - How Much Do F1 Drivers Make?
Formula 1 Expert
How much F1 drivers make can vary quite significantly, driven by factors like experience, accolades, and team affiliations. As the global allure of F1 continues to ascend, however, these skilled pilots will find their pockets enriched with substantial financial gains as a result of their extraordinary skills and inherent marketability. Standing atop the hierarchy of F1 earnings for the year 2023, Max Verstappen claims the title of the highest-paid driver, reaping a remarkable $55 million annually. This is followed up by the global superstar that is Lewis Hamilton, sitting at $35 million annually.
While seasoned vets like Verstappen and Hamilton bask in the multi-million dollar range, fledgling talents and less experienced drivers typically secure more “modest” incomes, ranging from $1 million to $8 million. On average, the compensatory landscape of F1 drivers for 2023 gravitates around a noteworthy $11.25 million, with a median salary of $5.5 million. As you can see, answering the question, “How much do F1 drivers make?” is no easy task, as the chasm between the highest and lowest earners is glaringly apparent. Nevertheless, upon closer scrutiny, it’s clear that the top F1 driver’s salaries reflect the elite nature of the sport and the tremendous talent and dedication required to compete at its pinnacle.
❓ FAQs About Formula 1 Drivers’ Salaries
F1 drivers’ salaries are far higher than those in rival motorsports series like NASCAR, Indycar or Formula E. The top teams in F1 are willing to pay tens of millions of dollars to recruit the world’s best drivers into their operation, knowing that they might be the difference between the championship or second place. While F1’s lowest-earning drivers earn much less than the highest, they are still some of the motorsports’ best-paid athletes. Furthermore, a driver can find external sponsorship to increase their annual earnings.
F1 drivers tend to earn their salary annually, so their price per race will depend on the number of races in a season. In 2020, with only 17 races, a driver would have earned more per race than they would in 2023, with a 23-race calendar.
As F1 driver contracts aren’t public, there is no firm number that establishes any racer with a ‘per win’ bonus. However, performance bonuses do exist in the sport, and Kimi Raikkonen once almost bankrupted a team after they agreed to pay him €50,000 per point scored. He scored 390 points over two years, and the team couldn’t afford to pay the €19.5 million they owed him.
Some F1 drivers will make as ‘little’ as $1 million a year, usually when they enter the sport. However, more established figures with world championships can earn tens of millions, with Max Verstappen making $55 million per year. Drivers can further top this figure up with their own sponsorships or endorsements.
Drivers will earn varying amounts for endorsements depending on their level of fame. Some report that Shell paid Michael Schumacher $10 million per year to wear a hat with the company’s logo at all public speaking events.
An F1 driver will earn a salary from their F1 team but can make more money with duties for personal sponsors. The prestige of a driver will increase the amount of money a sponsor will pay, with a race-winning driver who is a well-known public figure set to earn far more than a rookie with only a handful of races as experience.
Max Verstappen is F1’s highest-paid driver in 2023. Racingnews365 puts the Dutch driver’s salary at $55 million.
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Jim is a motorsport journalist, editor, and podcaster. He's a content creator specializing in motorsport with 10+ years of experience across technical and creative positions. Jim has written race reviews and opinion pieces for Formula One, together with interviewing personalities across the motorsport world.
Facts checked by Anthony Odiase