Formula 1 was not immune to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic of coronavirus since last year, but pilots’ salaries are still very high even under these circumstances, as is the case in other sports.
Forbes has drawn up a list of the drivers who earn the most in 2021, although the salaries of F1 drivers are usually a private and unknown matter. The Forbes rating is based on “financial documents, legal filings and press leaks; as well as conversations with industry experts and consultants.”
How much do Formula 1 drivers earn in 2021?
It will come as no surprise that the driver who earns the most money is Lewis Hamilton, the champion of six of the last seven world championships, who renewed with Mercedes earlier this year.
The Englishman has led this table since 2014, when he surpassed Fernando Alonso at the head of the list of drivers who earn the most in Formula 1.
List in millions of dollars
Pilot Salary 2021 Annual Bonus Total Bonus Total Profit 1 Lewis Hamilton 55 million 4 million 7 million 62 million 2 Max Verstappen 25 million 5 million 17 million 42 million 3 Fernando Alonso 25 million 0 million 0 million 25 million 4 Sergio Pérez 5 million 5.5 million 13 million 18 million 5 Sebastian Vettel 15 million 0 million 0 million 15 million 6 Charles Leclerc 12 million 0 million 0 million 12 million 7 Valtteri Bottas 10 million 0 million 0 million 10 million 8 Daniel Ricciardo 10 million 0 million 0 million 10 million 9 Lando Norris 3 million 2.5 million 6 million 9 million 10 Carlos Sainz 8 million 0 million € 0 million € 8 million
Interestingly, in second place is the man fighting for the 2021 title against Hamilton, Max Verstappen. The Dutchman, a Red Bull star driver who is considered by everyone to be a potential champion, earns more than 18 of the other 19 stars on the grid.
Fernando Alonso returned to Formula 1 this year after two seasons away, and has managed to enter, according to this list, on the podium of drivers who earn the most. His reputation as a two-time world champion is undeniable, and after having shown in other categories that he is still one of the best drivers in all motorsports.
Sergio Pérez has also taken a step forward in this table after his signing for Red Bull. Those of the energy drinks sign their pilots with high salaries and the Mexican, called to help them finally recover the crown of constructors, benefits from it.
Precisely the driver who replaced him at Aston Martin (formerly Racing Point), Sebastian Vettel, is next on the list. The German, who was already earning a lot at Ferrari, maintains his status and is the most expensive employee of his new ‘company’.
Charles Leclerc is the sixth highest earner, and the one who signed the longest-term contract. The Monegasque is Ferrari’s highest paid driver, who still greatly reduced his salary bill after swapping Vettel for Carlos Sainz. The Madrilenian sneaks into this top 10 after reaching the mythical team of the Cavallino, but his salary is well below what his predecessor earned.
If Hamilton leads the list long enough, teammate Valtteri Bottas doesn’t appear until seventh. The Finn’s future in the team is in question and, if he finally has to find a place in another team, he will probably come out of the top 10.
And, ahead of Sainz, the two McLaren drivers close the list, which shows the financial muscle that the car has after the latest investments. Daniel Ricciardo, pilot with the highest cache, is eighth. For his part the young Lando Norris is ninth.