With some of the biggest car brands in the world pumping millions and billions of dollars into efforts to produce the best car on the track and the very best 20 drivers crisscrossing the world to entertain a growing fanbase, the world of F1 deals with some pretty dizzying numbers.
But, how much do F1 drivers make, and who is the highest-paid F1 driver in 2022?
Let’s dive in.
How Much Formula 1 Drivers Are Paid?
It’s no secret that F1 drivers are some of the best-paid sportsmen in the world.
The sport’s popularity is only a tiny fraction of what makes F1 one of the most expensive sports in the world. To achieve the highest level of performance, F1 cars use the very best materials that come in multi-digit price tags– and so do the salaries for the majority of the drivers on the grid.
The base salary that F1 drivers receive is often enough to retire (for most drivers) but how much they earn on an annual basis also depends on their performance-based bonus.
For example, the 2021 Formula One World Champion Max Verstappen’s base salary for 2021 was $25 million. However, he was projected to earn an additional $17 million in bonuses for his accomplishments on the grid, for a total of $42 million.
F1 Drivers also grow their bank accounts through investments, and sponsorship deals (though these are limited because the teams restrict what brands the drivers can partner with).
Related: How long is a Formula 1 race?
Why F1 Driver Salaries Depend on Their Bonuses
Every F1 team pays drivers bonuses through their F1 wages. The teams determine what counts as a bonus, and it’s usually an objective that can prove difficult to achieve for the driver based on the car’s competitiveness on track.
For example, it would make little sense for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team to pay their star driver and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton a bonus for his points.
This would be a much more suitable, bonus-worthy achievement for Haas or Alfa Romeo drivers.
The teams can also decide what could count as a bonus based on the driver’s individual performance in the team. So, for example, Max Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez might get a bonus for something that Verstappen would not, since the Belgian-Dutch driver won the Drivers’ Championship and is expected to deliver more for the team.
Related: Why do F1 drivers get weighed?
A Breakdown of F1 Driver Salaries in 2022
Lewis Hamilton has dominated the world of F1 with his earnings for some time and is estimated to continue to do so this season.
Although so far, it doesn’t seem like Mercedes has a competitive car to send Hamilton to the podium every race, he is still estimated to get paid £32 million, more than any other driver on the grid.
Max Verstappen, the current title holder who drives for Red Bull Racing, is right behind him (in base salary), followed by Alpine driver Fernando Alonso and McLaren driver Lando Norris.
Carlos Sainz Jnr
Note: *F1 teams do not disclose their drivers’ salaries. The figures in the table are estimates.
Worth noting: Some drivers, like Hamilton and Verstappen, might get a serious pay cut (starting next season) if the FIA moves forward with implementing a proposed F1 driver salary car as part of the body’s effort to level the playing field across the grid.
Related: Do F1 drivers pee during a race?
So, how much do F1 drivers make anyway? An F1 driver’s salary ranges from an estimated £600,000 to a whopping £32 million in a year.
Still, most F1 drivers earn a lot more from endorsement deals and advertising partnerships.
Do F1 drivers get paid per race?
F1 drivers don’t get paid per race. Instead, they have salaries but can earn their team a certain amount of prize money for a race based on their accomplishments in that race.
Who is the richest F1 driver?
The richest F1 driver on the current grid is Lewis Hamilton, with an estimated $285 million in career winnings so far. However, one of the greatest F1 drivers Michael Schumacher, is believed to be the richest F1 driver in the sport’s history.
With 5 consecutive world F1 titles and a total of 7 championships under his belt, the German legend has made close to 1 billion in earnings in his F1 career.
How much do F1 pit crew members get paid?
Depending on their position in the team, pit crew members can earn between $30,000 and $1 million a year. They also earn bonuses per race if their team wins or ends up on the podium.
How much do F1 drivers make?
F1 drivers earn millions in salary, bonuses, and sponsorships. The highest-paid driver on the grid is Lewis Hamilton, followed by Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso.