Racing To Riches: Formula One’s Highest And Lowest Paid Drivers In 2017

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Racing To Riches: Formula One’s Highest And Lowest Paid Drivers In 2017

With Singapore revving up for what could be the final edition of the Singapore Grand Prix, we reveal the top earners this year in Formula One.

Published on 13 September 2017

Formula One drivers are some of the highest paid professional athletes in the world – although, not all drivers make as much as you might think.

Here we take a look at which Formula One drivers are on top in 2017 in terms of salary and performance-based bonuses, and which drivers are at the bottom of the list. The highest paid drivers represent for the four most recognisable teams in the sport. While the bottom are probably not all who you’d expect.

The Top 5

  1. Lewis Hamilton

The three-time world champion tops our list of the highest paid drivers for 2017 with a whopping US$41 million in earnings. With a basic salary of US$31 million per year and the potential to earn US$10 million in bonuses, the Brit is raking in some mega bucks.  The most recognisable man in Formula One is leading the field not only in points, but also in the dollar department. We’ll see if his Mercedes team can retain the title come season end.

  1. Fernando Alonso

The number two could take home as much as US$40 million in earnings this year. The Spaniard is a two-time world champion from back in his Renault days. Although his McLaren-Honda team have had a sub-par performance this year, that hasn’t had a negative effect on his pay cheque.

  1. Sebastian Vettel

The German four-time world champion is poised to pull in US$36 million this year in salary and bonuses. Although significantly less than his first year deal with Scuderia Ferrari of US$50 million, this may be the year he brings the world title back to Maranello.

  1. Kimi Raikkonen

The Ferrari teammate could rake in up to US$17 million this year. Although substantially less than the US$28 million in the 2016 season, it still puts the one-time world champion fourth on our list. The “ice man” has recently extended his contract once again for the 2018 season. Although it’s doubtful he will become the top driver on the Italian team.

  1. Daniel Ricciardo

Rounding out the top five is Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo. The 28-year-old Aussie stands to earn as much as US$10 million in the 2017 season. Although not performing as well as a few years ago, the team is still in the top three. And with one win and the several top five finishes under his belt, he may just reach that magic number. As for next season, he’s set to remain at Red Bull.

The Bottom 5

Interestingly if you compare the earnings from the top five earning drivers to the bottom five, the gap is significant. Typically people think that every driver in motorsports, especially Formula One, earns a large pay cheque. However, that’s not always the case.

  1. Pascal Wehrlein

The Sauber driver earns only US$150,000 per year. The Ferrari-engined team is a bit further down the pack then they probably should be, however at 16th overall, he’s the top-performing driver on his team.

  1. Esteban Ocon

The French driver brings in a mere US$185,000 per year from his contract with Force India. Currently, in 8th place in the drivers’ standings, he is definitely outperforming his pay grade.

  1. Marcus Ericsson

The other Sauber driver beat out his teammate with US$285,000 in earnings in 2017.  The future may not be as rosy for the Swede though, as he has yet to score a single point this season.

  1. Stoffel Vandoorne

Vandoorne replaced Jenson Button at McLaren-Honda, and is set to take home US$300,000 plus an unknown amount in bonuses this year. Quite a steal for the team as Jenson Button cost US$13 million last year, and about a third more a couple seasons before that. Although, considering Vandoorne has only scored one point this season, perhaps it’s not such a good deal after all.

  1. Daniil Kyvat and Carlos Sainz Jr.

The Torro Rosso drivers are tied for fifth from the bottom with US$750,000 each in earnings. The latter is 9th in the standings, a full 32 points clear of his teammate. This is set to be the last season for Sainz Jr. at the team though as a move to Renault has just been confirmed for 2018. Expect a hefty pay increase.

The bottom line

And there you have it, the highest and lowest earning drivers in the Formula One 2017 season. Many are well known to Formula One fans, however as you can see, not everyone is living as glamorously as the sport would make you believe. There are set to be some exciting new contracts on the table for 2018. Expect to see some changes at the bottom and potentially one at the top.

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