Max Verstappen is already being tipped to cruise to a third successive F1 world title – but his dominance over his rivals is not only reflected with his searing pace on the track. The irrepressible Red Bull star is comfortably the highest-earning driver in the paddock in 2023.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner knows Verstappen is virtually irreplaceable and his value to the world champions became even more apparent when he signed on the dotted line for a mega five-year contract extension last year.
The 25-year-old is contracted to Red Bull until 2028 and could dominate at the front of the grid for years to come, so it is hardly surprising that he tops the current list of driver salaries.
But many F1 fans would expect that Lewis Hamilton is the next highest earner, given his status as a seven-time world champion.
However, according to estimates from Racingnews365, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc earns slightly more than the legendary Mercedes driver after a bump in salary at Maranello.
It is reported that while Verstappen earns a whopping £45m, Leclerc is second on the earnings list, taking home £29.5m, while Hamilton rakes in £28.6m. These figures do not include podium and win bonuses.
Hamilton’s contract expires at Mercedes at the end of the season, with rumours circulating that he could consider his options following a halt in talks over an extension.
The 38-year-old has cut a dejected figure during the Mercedes malaise which has continued into 2023, with all clearly not well at the Silver Arrows after he claimed his team “did not listen” to him on the developments of the underperforming new car.
But Hamilton’s bumper salary is still vastly higher than his teammate George Russell, who is said to earn around £6.5m on his current deal. Russell’s predecessor Valtteri Bottas still earns more than the talented young Brit way down the grid at Alfa Romeo with a salary of £8.2m, the same figure as Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez also takes home.
McLaren’s Lando Norris earns around £16m in his contract that runs until 2025, while Carlos Sainz is the fifth highest earner on the grid, raking in just under £10m at Ferrari.
Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly earn £4.9m and £4m respectively. Aston Martin’s veteran driver Fernando Alonso, who has made a stunning resurgence with two podiums in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, is on a salary of around £4m with the British team. The Spaniard’s teammate Lance Stroll earns around £1.6m.
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen will also pocket around £4m in 2023, while his experienced new partner Nico Hulkenberg will take home around £1.6m. At AlphaTouri, Nick De Vries is on the same salary as Hulkenberg, while Yuki Tsundoa is one of the lowest earners on £800,000.
Williams’s Alex Albon’s salary is £2.5m in his long-term deal, while rookie Logan Sargaent banks £800,000 during his first season in F1. Meanwhile, McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu both earn close to £1.6m.