'List of F1 drivers' salaries' – Fact or fiction?

This topic contains 11 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  zimkazimka 3 years, 2 months ago.

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    Keith Collantine

    F1 suffers a news drought during the August break but one headline which always seems to make an appearance is one about ‘F1 drivers’ salaries being revealed’.

    As usual I’m left wondering whether we should trust the data (below) at all. Drivers’ salary figures are notoriously difficult to ascertain because it is rarely in anyone’s interest to divulge them. Unlike in other sports there is no obligation to make them public.

    As a result wildly different valuations are circulated for the top drivers. For a quick example, the top two results in a search for ‘Lewis Hamilton salary’ yields two articles from the same newspaper within the last few months which quote figures that differ by £4 million:


    The ‘List of F1 drivers’ salaries’ mentioned on several sites today is published by someone who is selling a publication called Business Book GP. On its website you will find prominent links to buy the publication but little on who it is written by or how they have conducted their research into such an opaque field. Although, intriguingly, we are told the book includes “three economic predictions based on the theory of black swan”.

    This isn’t a question of whether the list is believable, it’s whether we should take it at face value. Has anyone bought the book? Do you think the list is trustworthy? As always I’m interested to hear your thoughts.



    As you say, the fact that the teams don’t have to disclose information on salaries implies that the whole list is based mostly on speculation, and so the reliability is questionable.

    But even if the list was accurate, it is still difficult to compare the earnings of drivers because they receive money in different ways. I’m sure there are several drivers who receive a low base salary with bonuses thrown in based on performance. Would that have been taken into consideration when compiling this list? I remember hearing that that is the case at Red Bull. The fact that Ricciardo’s salary is so paltry indicates that he presumably gets paid by the point and I’d be amazed if he only takes home £750,000 after bringing home the bulk of Red Bull’s points. That being the case, this list only tells half the story. For it to be useful we’d need to know of any performance-related bonuses, whether bringing sponsorship impacts the salary, etc.



    French-speaking F1 Fanatics can check out the 2011 edition – it has a free preview on Amazon

    Might give us some more insight on what actually is in those books.



    Maldonado gets paid? Or it’s some tit-for-tat tied to sponsorship?


    Keith Collantine

    Whether or not it’s ‘reliable’, what it definitely isn’t is ‘new’ – the list is at least three months old:



    Iestyn Davies

    Also, I can personally vouch for GP3 being £500k on average – so the French preview stating 750k Euros for a season in 2011 is out – unless it was more expensive back then, or it doesn’t mean for the driver, but a team budget? I think some of the salary numbers are made up to fill in gaps, but some may be accurate. I saw a better one somewhere else..



    I remember having many theories and predictions after a few (Black) SWAN lagers.

    1 theory I remember well is the 1 that many drivers have a (relatively) low base salary but have performance rated bonus’ to reward talent and effort.



    I have no idea how they come up with the figures (this Business Book GP), and it’s not really the point of interest for me. What is of interest, and mostly just for fun, I decided to see how much money every point scored by individual driver costs relative to the salary. This is the result (after the Hungary GP):

    Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – €5,725 – 131
    Valtteri Bottas – Williams – €7,895 – 95
    Kevin Magnussen – McLaren – €27,027 – 37
    Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – €41,667 – 6
    Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – €57,971 – 69
    Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – €59,406 – 202
    Jean Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso – €68,182 – 11
    Sergio Perez – Force India – €68,966 – 29
    Felipe Massa – Williams – €100,000 – 40
    Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – €104,712 – 191
    Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – €191,304 – 115
    Sébastian Vettel – Red Bull – €250,000 -88
    Jules Bianchi – Marussia – €250,000 – 2
    Jenson Button – McLaren – €266,667 – 60
    Romain Grosjean – Lotus – €375,000 – 8
    Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – €814,815 – 27

    I guess, the cheaper the points come, the better the investment.


    Keith Collantine

    @zimkazimka Using the figures for anything is a complete waste of time if they’re not accurate to begin with.


    Jayfreese Knight

    It’s Mr Marc Limacher who has made the Business Book GP, he’s the editor of TomorrowNewsF1.com and he’s very much involved in the sport business.

    I know him personally, he’s a reliable guy and I trust him, but as said above some figures are there to fill the gaps.

    The list gives a first impression of drivers’ salaries but far from being totally correct as we don’t know the whole story about teams and money.

    I have the book and it is good lecture.


    Keith Collantine

    @jeff1s Thanks for that. If, as you say, it’s mostly speculation, it should be presented as such by the person who wrote it in the first place (which may be the case) and by those reporting it now. That hasn’t been the case in most of the reportage I’ve seen, and several more publications have run it today.

    Some of the responses to this both here and on social media have been very revealing. A lot of people prefer to assume the list is accurate and not entertain the possibility that might not be the case. This is why “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes”. When Mark Twain first said that it was hyperbole – in the age of the internet it’s an understatement.



    Oh, absolutely. I just find it interesting that the top 4 or 5 “best-investment” drivers are the ones getting a lot of praise and future-champ hype this season, while the group of VET, BUT and RAI are close to the bottom – literally overrated. (Don’t throw stuff at me, I’m BUT and RAI fan).

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