Formula 1 drivers are the best in the world, and with some of the biggest names in all of motorsport competing in one category, you can expect a lot of money to be going around the paddock. But you might still be wondering what drivers get for winning an F1 race.
F1 drivers don’t get paid for winning races, although they may earn bonuses. Each driver has their own contract, with different terms and bonuses included in their agreement. While driver salaries are often known to an extent, the details behind the bonuses drivers receive are usually not reported.
Each contract is tailored to a driver, so two teammates might not be getting the same performance bonuses. Below, we cover in detail how much money drivers get from bonuses and race wins.
Do F1 Drivers Get Prize Money For Winning A Race?
F1 drivers do not get any prize money for winning races. The FIA and Formula 1 do not give out prize money directly to drivers for race wins. Drivers will only be paid bonuses by their teams if they win races, but even then, it has to be a part of their contract.
Formula 1 generates billions of dollars in revenue every year. That equates to millions of dollars for each race. However, the sport is never responsible for paying the salaries of Formula 1 drivers, and they also aren’t responsible for paying any prize money to the drivers.
Drivers might get paid bonuses from their teams and sponsors. However, this is not considered prize money. The money is not paid to them by Formula 1, which means that it’s considered a bonus to their salary instead.
Do F1 Teams Get Prize Money For Winning Races?
F1 teams do not get any prize money for winning races. However, they will be given a share of the profits that Formula 1 makes throughout the course of the season depending on their place in the Constructors’ Championship. Teams can get anywhere from $50 to $200 million or more.
The first payout that the teams will receive is a base fee for participating in the sport. This likely amounts to around $30-50 million per year. Having this base fee awarded to all teams every year ensures that the championship remains sustainable, as all teams will receive their basic income every year, making it less likely for teams to go bankrupt and drop out of the sport.
Performance Based Fee
The second payout that teams will receive is performance-based. Teams will be rewarded with prize money based on where they finish in the Constructors Championship. The prize money comes from Formula 1’s total profit that they have generated throughout the season. The prize pool is made up of 50% of Formula 1’s total profit for the year, with the other half going to the F1 group and shareholders.
Teams will be awarded their prize money based on a sliding scale. For example, the team that wins the Constructors Championship will be given the biggest share of the prize fund, with second place getting less, all the way down to 10th place. The prize money is the reason every point counts in Formula 1, even if you’re fighting for ninth place in the constructors’ standings.
This means that, while F1 teams don’t get paid for points, they are paid at the end of the year depending on the position in which they finish in the Constructors’ Championship, which is directly related to how many points they accumulate.
KEY POINTS• F1 drivers don’t get paid any prize money from the FIA or F1 itself
• Drivers are only paid salaries from their teams, but their contract may allow for win bonuses
• F1 teams also don’t get any prize money throughout the year
• They will receive money based on where they finish in the Constructors’ Championship at the end of the season
Do F1 Drivers Get Bonuses For Winning Races?
F1 drivers can get bonuses for winning races. The specific bonuses they get depend on the contract that they have with their team. Some teams will pay more for winning races if a race win is more valuable for the team in the Constructors’ Championship, and some may not offer bonuses at all.
Winning a Formula 1 race is no easy task. You’re up against 19 of the best drivers in the world. Out of 771 drivers, there are only 111 that have won a Grand Prix. Simply making it to Formula 1 is an achievement on its own, but winning a Grand Prix is something incredibly special that not many drivers will ever experience.
It Depends On The Team
Some drivers get paid bonuses for winning races. However, it completely depends on the team and the contract that has been set up between them and the driver.
It’s much less likely for a team such as Aston Martin or Haas to win a race, which means that they don’t necessarily use race win bonuses, or they might offer a higher bonus for winning a race compared to other teams. In a chaotic race, though, anything is possible.
However, race win bonuses are still between the team and the driver. In most cases, it’s an addition to their contract, so it’s not often that the public ever knows about how much a driver’s race win bonus would be. Formula 1 teams and drivers rarely ever talk about the money they get paid for winning races, but it’s been reported that some drivers can get bonuses of $1 million for winning a race.
Do F1 Drivers Get Bonuses For Getting Pole Position?
Drivers may get bonuses for getting pole position depending on the contract that they have with their team. It’s not something that happens frequently, but it does happen, and they can be given some sort of financial motivation to push themselves and their vehicle to the limits.
Getting pole position is an incredible achievement in Formula 1. While the driver might not be awarded any points or trophies for getting pole position, it still means that they were the fastest driver on the day. In a sport where you’re up against 19 of the best drivers in the world, that’s incredibly impressive.
Again, It Depends On The Team
Some drivers might be given bonuses if they get pole position depending on their contract agreement with the team. There are no points in qualifying though, so getting pole position is not as important as winning the race – this means that some teams might decide not to give the driver bonuses for getting pole position.
Oftentimes drivers can get pole position and struggle during the Grand Prix, falling back as faster cars overtake them during the race. Awarding a driver with a monetary bonus for pole position if they’re unable to convert it into a good race result would not be beneficial to the team.
Formula 1 teams and drivers don’t mention pole position bonuses often. However, if a team is in a fierce battle with another team for the championship, drivers may be given an incentive and reward to push themselves and their car further during qualifying in order to secure pole position and get an edge of their opponents at the start of the Grand Prix.
Do F1 Drivers Get Bonuses For Points They Earn?
Drivers can get bonuses for the points they earn, but it depends on their contract. Higher scoring teams such as Mercedes will be less likely to give the driver bonuses due to the sheer number of points they get, whereas midfield teams may use bonuses as an incentive for their drivers.
There are many teams that will pay their drivers bonuses to score points. This may not be practical for the top teams, as the drivers score points frequently – oftentimes in every race. This would simply be too much for the team to pay out, and so even if they do pay bonuses for points, they likely put a cap on it or pay smaller amounts for each point.
Every Point Counts
However, the midfield teams regularly use bonuses as an incentive for their drivers to score as many points during the season as they can. Remember, teams are awarded prize money based on where they finish in the constructors’ standings at the end of the season, which means that every point can make a difference to their end result.
The difference in the amount of rice money between finishing fifth and finishing fourth in the Constructors Championship is massive. Therefore, teams want to finish as high as they can so they can put more money towards developing their next car to improve their overall performance.
Oftentimes the midfield teams, and even the backmarker teams, will pay out bonus money for every point scored during the season. Teams can also pay out bonuses based on their drivers hitting a certain number of points for the season or the team’s finishing position in the constructors’ standings. Again, it all depends on the contract between the driver and the team.
Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus Bonus
Lotus is one team that was giving out monetary bonuses for scoring points during a season. Kimi Raikkonen made a return to the Formula 1 grid in 2012 after a two-year absence. The Iceman joined the Lotus Formula 1 team (previously Renault F1, and currently Alpine), which was a decent midfield team at the time that Raikkonen signed his contract.
One particular bonus clause in his contract nearly caused the Lotus team to go bankrupt. Raikkonen would receive $55,000 for every World Championship point that he scored during his two-year contract. However, what the team did not predict was that they would build a competitive car in both 2012 and 2013.
Raikkonen returned to Formula 1 with a bang, taking 15 podiums and even two wins during his time with Lotus. By the time Raikkonen had reached the end of his two-year contract, the Finn had scored a total of 390 points. This ended up costing the team about $20 million.
The Lotus F1 team had to pay Raikkonen the bonus money on top of his standard salary. This bonus clause alone reportedly nearly sent the entire team into bankruptcy. Following his successful stint at Lotus, Raikkonen returned to Ferrari for the 2014 season onwards.
Do F1 Drivers Get Bonuses For Winning World Championships?
F1 drivers do not necessarily get bonuses for winning World Championships. However, once a driver wins a World Championship, they will likely be given both a new contract and a salary increase. Their sponsors may, however, give them bonuses for winning, but it will all depend on the contracts.
Formula 1 drivers might get some bonuses for scoring points and winning races, but there isn’t necessarily a bonus for winning a championship. Just like other bonuses, a World Championship clause can be added to a driver’s contract. However, in the majority of cases, the teams will put more incentive on scoring points.
The WCC Is More Important
That’s because scoring points is the team’s first priority. The more points the team has, the higher their chances are of being awarded more prize money. Winning the Drivers’ Championship does not necessarily guarantee that the team will win the Constructors’ Championship, but it does mean that the driver contributed more points to their team’s tally than anyone else.
Once a driver wins a World Championship, they’re likely to be given a new contract and a salary increase. Max Verstappen, for example, signed a contract extension following his 2021 World Championship that made him the highest-paid driver on the entire grid. This can be considered their “bonus” for winning the World Championship.
Despite not receiving a bonus from their teams, drivers can be given bonuses from their sponsors for winning the World Championship as they would get more exposure. Drivers could also attract new sponsors who would add to their overall sponsorship income, and this could act as another bonus.
KEY POINTS• F1 drivers may get paid bonuses for things like wins, points, pole positions and championships
• It will all depend on the contracts they sign with their team and sponsors
• Teams have to be careful about offering bonuses as it can be a quick way to lose money
F1 Driver Salaries 2022
|Max Verstappen||Red Bull||$50+ million|
|Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||$40 million|
|Lando Norris||McLaren||$26 million|
|Fernando Alonso||Alpine||$20 million|
|Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||$17 million|
|Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||$15 million|
|Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||$12 million|
|Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||$10 million|
|Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||$10 million|
|Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||$10 million|
|Sergio Perez||Red Bull||$8 million|
|Kevin Magnussen||Haas||$6 million|
|George Russell||Mercedes||$5 million|
|Esteban Ocon||Alpine||$5 million|
|Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||$5 million|
|Alex Albon||Williams||$2 million|
|Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||$1 million|
|Mick Schumacher||Haas||$1 million|
|Nicholas Latifi||Williams||$1 million|
Formula 1 drivers will be given a salary based on the contract agreement with their teams. Each driver’s salary is different, and it’s determined by a number of factors. Drivers will be given a contract for a number of years, with the most common contract lengths being between one and three years.
Drivers’ salaries will be determined by the team that they drive for. Drivers who are in more competitive and more successful teams, such as Ferrari and Mercedes, will be paid more. These teams hire the most successful and the most skilled drivers on the grid, so naturally will pay them much more.
However, the driver’s experience in Formula 1 also plays an important role in their contract. Drivers with more experience will be paid more than inexperienced drivers. Experience is not just determined by the number of years that they have been in the sport either, but also based on their statistics such as the number of victories, pole positions, podiums, and of course, World Championships.
Teams can also determine a driver’s salary based on more non-tangible factors such as the driver’s potential or skill level. For example, Lando Norris is the third highest-paid driver on the grid but has just six podiums, one pole position, and no victories to his name.
Are F1 Driver Salaries Included In The Budget Cap?
F1 driver salaries are not included in the budget cap, along with the top three earning members of the team’s salaries. With drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen earning upwards of $40-50 million, driver salaries would take up a substantial portion of team’s budgets.
Formula 1 has introduced a strict budget cap that teams must abide by. Teams can’t spend more than $140 million for the entire season. From 2023 onwards, the budget cap will be reduced to $135 million, and although this might sound like a lot of money, teams are going to struggle to keep their expenses under this threshold.
What The Budget Cap Includes
The Formula 1 budget cap includes all operational and performance-based spending for the teams. In other words, this includes the design and production of their cars, any upgrades that they bring for their cars, the engines, and more.
The drivers’ salaries and the top three earning members of the teams’ salaries are not included in the budget cap though. This is why drivers like Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton can be paid more than $40 million per year.
Just like in football, it’s not uncommon for the drivers to be the highest-paid members of the teams, which is relatively unusual in a career setup. For example, Lewis Hamilton is not only the highest-paid member of the team but likely one of the highest-paid people in the entire Mercedes-Benz AG company.
Should F1 Driver Salaries Be Included In The Budget Cap?
There has been a lot of debate around whether the drivers’ salaries should be included in the budget cap that teams need to abide by. Several sports, such as the NFL and the NHL, have introduced salary caps for their players, which ensure that the teams are balanced in terms of the quality of players. This is one way that the sport equalizes the playing field for all teams.
Having the drivers’ salaries included in the budget cap would significantly reduce the amount of money that they are paid per season. It would also prevent teams from hiring two superstar drivers such as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, for example. Teams would likely have to hire one star driver and one younger and less experienced driver.
While there have been arguments for and against a salary cap in Formula 1, it ultimately would not work. Many drivers earn a salary from the team, but sometimes the drivers make most of their money from their sponsorships and endorsements, which is something that can’t be controlled by the teams or the FIA.
Even if the teams were limited by a salary cap, they could simply divert funds through sponsors to pay their drivers more. As an example, Mercedes-Benz would pay the rest of Lewis Hamilton’s salary while the Mercedes F1 team keeps his official salary under the salary cap.
KEY POINTS• F1 drivers can earn anywhere from $750,000 to $50 million or more as a base salary
• This all varies by team, the experience level of the driver, and many other factors
• The driver salaries are not included in the $140 million budget cap
F1 drivers don’t get any prize money for winning races, and nor do the teams. Formula 1 drivers may get a bonus if their team’s contract allows for it, with some reportedly earning up to $1 million for a race win. However, this all depends on the specifics of the driver’s contract.