Are All Formula 1 Drivers Rich?

Are All Formula 1 Drivers Rich

Formula 1 teams are often fielded by multi-billion dollar corporations like Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Red Bull, and more. Spectators who come to enjoy the races are oftentimes celebrities and public figures who add to the overall glitz and glamor of the sport. But how much do the drivers themselves make? Formula 1 drivers all tend to be wealthy, but their total salaries range widely from around $1 million to over $50 million. Read on to learn exactly how Formula 1 drivers make money and why their total revenue has such a large range.

On-Track Revenue

Unlike some professional sports leagues in the United States, like the National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), Formula 1 does not currently have a salary cap that would limit the amount a driver could make in a single season. Although Formula 1 does have a cost cap that limits team budgets, which was set to encourage competitive parity in the sport, driver salaries are not included in this budget.

Therefore, while teams can only spend $135 million on car development and management, teams are able to pay their drivers whatever amount they feel is appropriate. As a result, there is a large discrepancy among driver salaries, especially those on top teams that have the ability to pay out larger contracts and those on smaller teams with limited budgets.

Off-Track Revenue

Drivers are also able to earn additional income from their own individual endorsement deals off the track. With ten Formula 1 teams fielding two drivers each, there are only twenty drivers in the entire sport of Formula 1. As a result, certain drivers are able to attract a certain level of fame, which makes them prime targets for businesses who want to utilize that attention for marketing deals.

For example, Lewis Hamilton, the driver for Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, is one of the most recognizable faces in the sport’s history. Outside of being the first and only black driver in the sport, Lewis Hamilton has one of the most decorated Formula 1 careers of all time. Many brands, like Puma, Monster Energy, and Tommy Hilfiger, have signed brand marketing deals with Hamilton, and his earnings off the track are an estimated $15 million.

However, other drivers, like Yuki Tsunoda of Scuderia AlphaTauri, who do not have the same level of fame and recognition as the top drivers in the sport are unable to earn as much through marketing deals. For example, through the team’s partnership with Red Bull, Yuki Tsunoda earns an estimated $250,000 in endorsements deals off the track. 

Total Salaries of Drivers

Due to the staggering difference in the amounts drivers are able to make from their team contracts, some drivers are able to earn much more than their peers. For example, Max Verstappen, the two-time Formula 1 World Champion for Oracle Red Bull Racing, is estimated to be earning a whopping $55 million in the 2023 season. Lewis Hamilton is earning the second largest salary with his $35 million contract with Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team. On the other hand, drivers Yuki Tsunoda, of Scuderia AlphaTauri, and Logan Sargeant, of Williams Racing, are each earning around $1 million in the 2023 season.