Salaries and bonuses of Formula 1 teams and drivers

26 May 2017 3 min. read

Sebastian Vettel is the Formula 1 driver with the highest base salary, but if Englishman Lewis Hamilton and under pressure Spaniard Fernando Alonso perform well during the coming season, they may well be able to earn more through bonuses.

Following 2016 champion Nico Rosberg’s bombshell decision to leave his Formula 1 career behind, the face of various teams remaining in the race changed dramatically. Prior to the 2017 season, Rosberg’s team changed out several team drivers, with the biggest change the signing on of Fin Valtteri Bottas to a Mercedes contract for a total of $8.5 million.

An analysis of the recently announced list of F1 drivers' contracts and salaries shows that the 20 Formula 1 drivers participating in the 2017 season earn $176 million in total. Three-time champion Lewis Hamilton sits top of the podium in terms of potential income, with the British driver’s $31 million salary complemented by bonuses of up to $10 million, with Spanish rival Fernando Alonso nipping at his bumper on a fixed salary of $30 million, with $10 million in potential bonuses.

Salaries and bonuses of Formula 1 teams and drivers

In third, four-time champion Sebastian Vettel – who currently sits in pole position in the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship – actually has the highest guaranteed salary of all drivers, the German is set to earn at least $ 36 million this season, meaning he could overtake Hamilton and Alonso should they fail to perform well.

Changing Places

Aside from the top 3, which consists of drivers from the dominant Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari teams, the annual salaries are significantly lower. The fourth place is for Finnish Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönnen with a $17 million salary of which $7 million is fixed. The Ice Man, as the Fin is also known, extended his contract with Ferrari for 1 year, but had to sacrifice a considerable chunk of his salary to stay on. The top 5 is rounded off by Australia's Daniel Ricciardo, who drives for Red Bull Racing, earning up to $10 million, including bonuses, this year.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas sits in 6th place meanwhile, with Dutchman Max Verstappen listed seventh. His fixed salary of $3 million can be increased to $5 million if he performs well. Last season, his salary was reported across the media at an estimated $0.5 million to $0.75 million – which while in terms of average income is high, ranks comparatively lowly in the expensive world of F1.

Brazilian Felipe Massa is the best paid Williams driver* with a guaranteed salary of $3.5 million in eighth spot. Niko Hulkenberg (Renault F1) and Sergio Perez (Force India) come in at ninth and tenth, with salaries of $3 million and $2.5 million respectively.

Bringing up the rear meanwhile, Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer are the final three drivers to earn $1 million or more per year. Both Toro Rosso drivers, Russian Daniil Kvyat and Spanish Carlos Sainz meanwhile earn $750,000 a year.

* The salary of Massa's colleague Lance Stroll is not known. The Belgian-Canadian driver is currently one of the youngest drivers in the Formula 1 competition though.