The new Formula 1 season is upon us and, in the words of the late great Murray Walker, “you can cut the tension with a cricket stump”. Plenty has changed for 2023 and we’re beginning to spot several trends already. One of the most obvious is the fact that teams have favoured black paint schemes to hide their bare carbon panels as they seek to save weight.
While much is new for 2023, there are many very familiar faces, including legends like Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen as well as upcoming talent like Lando Norris. In each case, these drivers earn a big wedge, but who is taking home the most cash?
When looking at which Formula 1 driver earns the most money, it’s important to remember that they generate income from multiple sources, rather than from just a simple salary. For drivers like Max Verstappen, much of their earnings come from bonuses for winning races and championships and it’s safe to say the Dutchman has had plenty of these recently.
In 2022, his salary was reported to be $25 million but topped this up with bonuses that took him to $60 million. That made him the highest-paid driver on the grid, above even Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton is, statistically, the most successful Formula 1 driver in history. With that, has come a big pay packet that’s made him the highest earner for much of the last decade. He’s made so much that he became the UK’s wealthiest sportsperson, overtaking David Beckham.
However, just as the young Verstappen pipped the Brit to the 2021 World Drivers’ Championship, Hamilton has also been beaten in the earnings race. Combining most sources of income, Hamilton raked in $55 million in 2022, though he may see that rise in 2023.
The Spaniard’s El Plan may not have been very successful in recent years, but Fernando Alonso’s $30 million salary is probably a solid consolation prize. The two-time champ is now 41 and likely coming to terms with the fact that he won’t win a third title.
But while he’s enjoying himself behind the wheel and able to make eye-watering sums at the same time, he’ll be happy.
Nicknamed the ‘Minister of Defense’ following his epic driving in the 2021 title showdown in Abu Dhabi, Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez has found himself the fourth-best paid driver on the F1 grid.
The Mexican raked in $26 million in salary and bonuses in 2022 and will likely continue to fill his bank account and trophy cabinet throughout the 2023 season.