F1’s highest-paid drivers
Carlos Sainz recently extended his Ferrari contract for two seasons more, securing his place on the team and earning a lucrative pay increase whilst at it.
The 27-year-old Spaniard currently sits fifth in the driver standings after a disappointing performance at the Australian Grand Prix and Imola Grand Prix.
Having joined the Ferrari team as Sebastian Vettel’s replacement in 2021, Sainz has been quick to form a highly rated partnership with Charles Leclerc.
The new deal will see Sainz remain with the team until the end of the 2024 season.
Speaking about the new deal, team boss Mattia Binotto said: “I have said several times that I believe we have the best driver pairing in Formula 1 and so, with every passing race, it seemed a completely natural step to extend Carlos’ contract.”
Sainz shared his delight at the extension, stating: “I have always said that there is no better Formula 1 team to race for. And after over a year with them, I can confirm that putting on this race suit and representing this team is unique and incomparable. I feel strengthened by this renewed show of confidence in me, and I can’t wait to get in the car, to do my best for Ferrari and to give its fans plenty to cheer about.”
Whilst many are happy that they will be able to continue following Sainz’s racing career, the new deal has bought the topic of money into conversation.
Formula 1 has always been a lucrative industry with extreme competitions and high entry barriers. The season has now expanded to 23 races a year with new events being introduced into the mix.
Sainz’s new contract is estimated to be worth £10 million-a-year, as per the Daily Star and The Independent, which is indicative of driver market stability, but only sees him sitting eight in the top 10 highest-paid drivers.
Leclerc has also been able to sign a multi-year contract along with the likes of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. It’s now well known that many younger drivers are taking home more money than former champions pocketed.
Taking the top spot for the highest-paid drivers are Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen. Hamilton is a seven-time world champion and has long been the highest-paid earner on the grid. His ties with Mercedes are in place until 2023 and he is reportedly earning around £40 million-a-year. Verstappen is also the face for Dutch Motorsport and penned a new contract which runs until 2028 worth an estimated £40-million-a-year.
The third highest-paid driver is McLaren star Lando Norris, who is reportedly making £15.9 million-a-year with his contract that has been extended until 2025. Fernando Alonso is close to taking this spot, though, after Alpine parted with the same amount of money to bring the driver back to the grid.
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel currently ranks fifth with his reported earnings at Aston Martin coming in a £11.9 million-a-year. Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo is tied to McLaren until the end of the 2023 season and he seemingly pockets the same amount of money for his contract.
Sainz’s teammate Charles Leclerc is estimated to be on £9.5 million-a-year with his Ferrari contract signed until 2026. It is possible that his earnings could change with Sainz’s new deal as there is clear stability amongst the team.
Lance Stroll and Valtteri Bottas sit at the bottom of the top 10 on a reported £7.9 million-a-year. Stroll is maybe the most comfortably seated of the drivers as his father owns the Aston Martin team that he races for, whilst Bottas has a multi-year deal with Alfa Romeo.
With more extensive contracts being offered and higher deals being made, it is expected that the amounts offered to drivers will continue to rise and completely shift the earnings market.