Conflict Between Hamilton And Verstappen Extends To Their Financial institution Accounts

By Brett Knight

Lewis Hamilton stays in pole place within the earnings race, heading up a bunch projected to drag in a mixed $211 million on the monitor in 2021.

An period of uncontrolled spending in Method 1 got here to a screeching halt this yr, however one group stays untouched by the sequence’ first-ever finances cap: the game’s drivers. F1’s ten highest-paid stars are projected to drag in a collective $211 million in wage and bonuses this season.

Main the pack is Mercedes celebrity Lewis Hamilton, who’s on tempo to earn $62 million on the monitor in 2021. That determine features a $55 million base wage—greater than double what his closest competitor is assured—in addition to a projected $7 million in bonuses for race wins. However with Hamilton at the moment caught in second within the standings, and at risk of lacking out on the drivers’ title for under the second time previously eight years, his projection doesn’t embody a championship bonus, leaving him a bit shy of his $66 million on-track complete for 2020, when he received 11 races and the title.

Purple Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen is the driving force in pole place to obtain that championship bump this yr, pushing him as much as a projected $42 million in wage and bonuses, comfortably No. 2 on the earnings record. He’s adopted by Fernando Alonso, with $25 million in his debut season at Alpine.

Hamilton, who has 4 wins by means of ten races, nonetheless has time to overhaul Verstappen, with the hole within the standings a mere eight factors and 12 races remaining on the schedule (plus a thirteenth if F1 can discover a alternative for the canceled Australian Grand Prix in November). Both means, although, Hamilton is assured to steer the F1 earnings race, as he has every year since 2014, when he first knocked Alonso from the highest spot among the many sequence’ drivers on the Forbes record of the world’s highest-paid athletes with $29 million in wage and bonuses and $32 million with endorsements included.

The large-ticket salaries are key for F1 drivers, who accumulate far much less from endorsements than superstars in different sports activities like tennis and the NBA. F1 drivers for probably the most half spend little power off the monitor past appearances they’re obligated to make for his or her groups and the related carmakers. (The groups themselves are partly guilty, putting restrictions on the classes of sponsors their drivers can companion with.) Whereas Hamilton rakes in an estimated $12 million from sponsors—most of whom additionally again his group—even Verstappen makes solely $1 million in endorsements yearly.

Nonetheless, the drivers’ salaries ought to proceed to make up for the advertising and marketing hole. F1’s new finances cap, launched this season, limits spending to $145 million per group in 2021 and $135 million by 2023—an earth-shattering change at high groups Mercedes, Ferrari and Purple Bull Racing, whose budgets have soared previous $300 million and even $400 million in recent times. The rules have compelled them to slash design and analysis expenditures and remove scores of employees positions, however driver salaries stay exempt from the cost-cap calculation and can be one of many few line gadgets that deep-pocketed groups can proceed to throw money at to distinguish themselves.

In fact, an effort is now afoot to restrict that spending as properly, however at the very least within the close to time period, anticipate the wealthy drivers to get even richer.

Listed here are Method 1’s ten highest-paid drivers for 2021.

Lewis Hamilton, who changed Michael Schumacher at Mercedes in 2012, has develop into an icon on the identical degree as his predecessor. Final yr, Hamilton matched Schumacher’s report together with his seventh F1 drivers’ championship, and he has dominated the competitors together with his earnings the way in which that Schumacher, the world’s highest-paid athlete in 2000 and 2001, as soon as did. The 36-year-old signed a two-year contract extension with Mercedes this summer time, following up on a three-year, $140 million deal in 2015 and a two-year, $100 million extension in 2018. He’s additionally the founding father of X44, a group within the new off-road electric-SUV racing sequence Excessive E.

Coming off consecutive third-place finishes in 2019 and 2020, Max Verstappen has reached a brand new degree in 2021, with 5 race wins and a lead on Lewis Hamilton—even after a controversial collision with Hamilton knocked him out of Sunday’s race and narrowed his benefit to eight factors. Verstappen is barely 23 however charges as a longtime star: In 2015, at age 17, he grew to become the youngest driver in F1 historical past, and he grew to become the youngest to win a race a yr later. Verstappen—whose father, Jos, additionally raced in Method 1—was named Persona of the Yr in 2015, 2016 and 2017 by the Fédération Internationale de l’Car, the auto-racing governing physique.

After two years away from the F1 monitor, Fernando Alonso is again with Alpine. The 39-year-old, as soon as on the middle of the sequence’ Spygate and Crashgate scandals, has rebuilt himself right into a tremendously well-liked driver, partly by broadening his auto-racing horizons. Lately, he has competed within the ​​Indianapolis 500, entered the Dakar Rally and received the endurance races 24 Hours of Le Mans and 24 Hours of Daytona. The Spaniard received the drivers’ championship in 2005 and 2006 with Renault—an earlier incarnation of his present group.

Sergio Pérez is in his first yr with Purple Bull Racing, after two seasons with Racing Level (now Aston Martin). He has mixed with Max Verstappen to push Purple Bull in entrance of seven-time defending champion Mercedes within the constructor standings, however a tough weekend at Silverstone closed the hole and dropped Pérez to fifth within the driver standings, from third. The 31-year-old is credited with serving to stir new curiosity in F1 in his native Mexico.

Sebastian Vettel received 4 straight championships with Purple Bull from 2010 to 2013 earlier than leaping to Ferrari, a stint that ended with a disappointing 2020 for each the driving force and the group. Now racing for the rebranded Aston Martin group after taking Sergio Pérez’s spot, he’s having one other season properly beneath his outdated requirements, however the 34-year-old nonetheless has extra profession race wins than anybody aside from Lewis Hamilton or Michael Schumacher.

Charles Leclerc, a product of the Ferrari Driver Academy, is in his third season with Scuderia Ferrari, on a contract that runs by means of 2024. In 2019, his first season with the group, he scored ten podium finishes; that determine dropped to 2 final yr and sits at one by means of ten races this season, a disappointment for each the 23-year-old and F1’s Most worthy group. However he could also be gaining momentum: That one podium got here Sunday, with a second-place end result within the British Grand Prix.

After runner-up finishes in 2019 and 2020, Valtteri Bottas has gotten off to a irritating begin in 2021, fueling hypothesis that Mercedes may change him after 5 seasons with the group, maybe with Williams’ George Russell. The 31-year-old, who picked up a podium end on Sunday, is signed by means of this yr.

Daniel Ricciardo, struggling to regulate to his new journey in his debut season for McLaren, has been outshone by his teammate Lando Norris. The 32-year-old is called “the Honey Badger,” for a feistiness typically masked by his huge smile.

Lando Norris, who got here up as a junior driver with McLaren and is in his third season with the principle group, signed a contract extension in Might and sits in third within the driver standings. The 21-year-old launched an esports group final yr.

Carlos Sainz has earned reward for maintaining together with his teammate Charles Leclerc in his debut season at Ferrari, the fourth group of his comparatively transient profession. The son of a rally racing champion, the 26-year-old has had the unenviable activity of changing each Fernando Alonso (at McLaren) and Sebastian Vettel (at Ferrari).


With few Method 1 driver salaries publicly out there, Forbes relied on monetary paperwork, authorized filings and press leaks in addition to conversations with trade insiders and consultants to compile this record. Drivers usually obtain a base wage plus bonuses for factors scored or for race or championship wins, with the quantity relying on the scale of the group and the expertise of the driving force. The total-year bonus projections are based mostly on the outcomes of the season’s first ten races, working off the belief that every driver will rating an analogous ratio of factors and wins for the rest of the season; calculations are based mostly on the at the moment confirmed schedule of twenty-two races. Forbes doesn’t deduct for taxes or brokers’ charges.


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