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How Much Do F1 Engineers Earn? (Salaries Explored)

Formula 1 is a sport that is heavily dependent on teamwork. The engineers play a massive role behind the scenes in Formula 1, and much of a driver or team’s success can be due to the engineers and the work that they put into the car. But you might be wondering just how much F1 engineers earn.

F1 engineers get paid between $40,000 and $80,000 per year. However, the engineer’s pay can vary depending on their experience and seniority. Salaries can also vary depending on the team that they are working for. Engineers are crucial in F1, and they can increase their salaries to over $100,000.

Becoming a Formula 1 engineer is not easy though. Engineers are integral to the success of the team, and just like with drivers, teams will try to find the best engineers for their team. Below, we cover how to become a Formula 1 engineer and how much they earn as well.

How Much Do F1 Engineers Earn?

F1 engineers earn between $40,000 and $80,000 per year. This varies based on the level of experience the engineer has – more experienced engineers will be paid more, whereas junior engineers will be paid less. Different teams will also pay at different rates as well.

Formula 1 engineers are crucial to the performance of an entire team. As such, they get paid a great salary. In Formula 1, teamwork is everything – developing the fastest car on the entire grid will give the driver a much better chance at winning the titles. The reality is that even the fastest driver can’t win in a slow car, especially at Formula 1 level.

This means that Formula 1 teams will always be hunting to find the best engineers on the planet. As with anything else, if you’re the best in your field, you’re going to be paid incredibly well. Formula 1 engineers’ salaries average between $40,000 and $80,000 per year. However, there are some factors to keep in mind when it comes to this salary.

Experience Is Important

Junior engineers will be paid less because they have less experience in Formula 1. The opposite is also true, as more experienced engineers who have proven themselves will be paid more than other engineers. The chief engineers will be paid the most out of all engineers, and these are often the ones who are under the most pressure and stress when it comes to the performance of the car too.

Which Team?

Another factor to consider is the team that the engineer is working for. For example, Mercedes will pay their engineers much more than Haas pays their engineers. This is simply because of their recent success in the sport, which ultimately means they can afford to pay more. The team also receives more prize money from the FIA that can be used to increase the engineers’ salaries.

Do F1 Engineers Get Paid Bonuses?

F1 engineers do often get paid bonuses depending on how well the team performs during a race. If the team wins the World Championship, they’ll often be rewarded with a bonus. They may receive a bonus if their team wins a race, gets a pole position, or if their car sets the fastest lap in the race.

Formula 1 engineers work extremely hard, and they are put under a lot of pressure. If the car does not perform well or the driver complains about the car, it all comes back to them. In the end, they are responsible for the performance of the car, whether that’s good or bad.

How The Team Performs

The engineers that work in Formula 1 will be paid bonuses based on the team’s performance. For example, if the team wins the World Championship, the engineers and the rest of the team members will be rewarded for their hard work with a monetary bonus.

The bonus funds often come from the FIA prize money that the team receives at the end of the year. All teams receive some money from the FIA, but the teams can choose how they want to spend it. This means that if a team took a step backward in terms of their performance compared to the previous season, it’s likely that the engineers won’t get a bonus.

It’s also likely that engineers will receive bonuses if their team wins a race, gets a pole position, or their car sets the fastest lap. However, these bonuses are more likely to be relevant to the midfield teams rather than the frontrunners that have a higher chance of winning races and getting pole positions.

What Perks Do F1 Engineers Get?

Formula 1 engineers work extremely hard, but there are a few perks that come along with a good salary. The first is, of course, that they travel the world and attend the races. Since the engineers are working, their travel and accommodation costs will be covered by the team, which means that they get to travel the world for free.

As team members, Formula 1 engineers might receive discounts on ticket prices, which will allow their friends and family to attend the races at a much lower cost. They may also be given discounts on team merchandise, which is extremely expensive in Formula 1.

Team performance bonuses are another perk that Formula 1 engineers might get, but it takes a lot of work and dedication to succeed in Formula 1, which means that these can sometimes be rare for members of the top teams such as Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari unless they are performing exceptionally well.

Formula 1 crew members also often get medical insurance and pension schemes from their employers, but this depends on the team. Formula 1 teams may be made up of 1000+ people, but they are all very well looked after because they are the best at what they do.

KEY POINTS

• F1 engineers might get paid anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000 or more

• How much they earn depends on their experience and the team

• F1 engineers may get paid bonuses for things like race wins and pole positions

• They can also receive other benefits like cheaper race tickets and merchandise

Are F1 Engineers’ Salaries Included In The Budget Cap?

F1 engineers’ salaries are included in the budget cap, as everyone except for the top three earners has their salaries included in it. This means teams need to factor in how much they can offer their engineers on top of building a competitive car, which can cost $20+ million.

The Formula 1 budget cap is currently set at $140 million for the 2022 season, and it’s set to be reduced to $135 million from 2023 onwards. The budget cap includes all performance-related expenses that teams need to pay for during the season.

It also includes the salaries of all team members except the top three earners on the team. This means that the engineers’ salaries are included in the budget cap. In the future, this could impact the salaries of the engineers in Formula 1 as the teams try to save as much money as possible wherever they can.

Their Roles Are Key

However, it’s unlikely that the engineers’ salary would drop by much because of how important their role is within a team. From performance engineers to aero engineers and even tire engineers, there’s a lot of expertise and experience in a Formula 1 team, and if a team can’t pay them a good enough salary, there’s no way they can find the best engineers in the required field.

Formula 1 teams need to work carefully with their funds throughout the year when the budget cap is reduced even further. Any team that exceeds the budget cap will be penalized for breaching the strict FIA regulations.

How Do You Become An F1 Engineer?

Becoming an F1 engineer is a long and difficult process that you have to be committed to if you want to get there. You’ll need to gain experience in motorsport of some kind, and you will need a strong network of contacts in the industry, as getting a job as an F1 engineer is very hard.

Formula 1 teams don’t just hire engineers straight out of school. There’s an incredibly tough process that you need to go through in order to become a Formula 1 engineer. Formula 1 engineers need a lot of skills, experience, and qualifications.

The Best Of The Best

Formula 1 teams won’t just pick any engineers they can get their hands on, either. Just like when it comes to the drivers, teams will be looking for the best engineers they can find. Engineers are key to the overall performance of the team, and it’s crucial for them to hire the right people to fill the positions that they need.

It’s a long and tough journey for a young engineer, so it requires a lot of patience and a lot of focus in terms of going in the right direction. You need to be making as many connections in the world of Formula 1 as you possibly can. In motorsport, networking is just as valuable as your skills and experience.

The most difficult part is taking that first step into an F1 team. However, it has become much more manageable in recent years as many teams are opening up positions for graduates in the form of internships. Even at the high school level, there’s a possibility of getting a placement with a Formula 1 team to gain experience, and any work that you do – whether paid or unpaid – will go a long way.

Different Types Of Engineers In Formula 1

An “engineer” is a broad term when it comes to Formula 1. There are several different types of engineers in the sport, and each one has a specific role with duties and responsibilities that they need to complete. Each engineer is a specialist in their specific field, and there are some engineers who oversee others. In general, there are five key engineers for each car. 

Race Engineer

The main point of contact between the driver and the team is the Race Engineer. This role is important because the Race Engineer oversees each specialist engineer, and they are the ones that you hear over the team radio communicating with the driver in the car. Essentially the Race Engineer is the most experienced and understands all aspects of the car — the Chief Engineer, in other words.

Performance Engineer

The Performance Engineer is in charge of the telemetry and data of the car. They’ll go over the telemetry with the driver and offer advice on where they can improve. This would be braking slightly later, for example, or turning in later into a corner. The performance engineer needs to understand all of the technical aspects of the car and how to extract the best possible performance from it.

Controls Engineer

The Controls Engineer focuses on the controls of the car, such as the gearbox, ensuring that power is delivered properly without damaging the car. 

Engine Performance Engineer

The Engine Performance Engineer will be looking to maximize the performance of the car’s power unit, and so is an absolutely vital member of the team, as speed is everything in Formula One. 

Engine Systems Engineer

Engine Systems Engineers will focus on the power unit’s reliability. There are often other engineers as well, depending on the team and their focus, and there may be varying numbers of each within a team.

KEY POINTS

• There are lots of different engineering roles within an F1 team

• These range from the race engineer to engine systems engineers

• Regardless of the role, F1 teams only ever hire the best of the best

How To Know If An F1 Engineer Is The Career For You

Becoming a Formula 1 engineer takes a ton of commitment, dedication, and passion. It’s not a job that you can simply luck into or try out to see if it works for you. There’s a ton of hard work that lies ahead of an aspiring engineer, and it’s something that you need to be absolutely sure of if you want to head in that direction.

Becoming a Formula 1 engineer is a good option for you if you’re passionate about the sport. However, it’s crucial that you’re passionate about the technical aspects of the sport. You need to have a keen interest in the internal workings of the car, such as the engine and the gearbox, for example. It’s not good enough to just enjoy watching Formula 1.

While watching the races and chatting to team members is a part of the job, your key responsibilities will lie in extracting as much performance out of the car as you possibly can. Competition is tough, too, with hundreds of other candidates to compete against, a passion and interest in the sport is not enough.

If you’ve always been interested in how cars work and how to make them run better, then this is definitely a career that you could move into. If you’re interested in becoming a Formula 1 engineer, it’s a good idea to do some research about the job and what a day in the life of a Formula 1 engineer would look like.

Gaining Experience

As with any other job in Formula 1, having experience is crucial for an engineer. Before even thinking about applying for a position at a Formula 1 team, you need to make sure that you have enough experience on your resume for them to consider you to become a part of their team. Remember, they’re looking for the best of the best.

Experience doesn’t necessarily mean your local garage, though. Formula 1 teams will be looking for experience in motorsport specifically. This doesn’t mean that non-motorsport related experience doesn’t count, it simply means that if you can gain experience within a motorsport setting, it will be of more value to the team when considering your application to join them as an engineer.

As long as you’re working in a motorsport environment, you’ll be gaining valuable experience. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Renault Clio Cup or sports cars, the idea is to get a grip on general motorsports operations such as the weekend structure, how to optimize the car’s performance, and how to translate what the driver is asking from the car – which is perhaps the most difficult part of the job.

There are a few lucky graduates who manage to get placements and internships with top Formula 1 teams. However, just like drivers who are scouted by the teams while they’re still in karting, this is a rare occurrence, and you shouldn’t bank on this becoming a reality, though it shouldn’t stop you from applying for internships wherever possible.

Where To Start

If you’re hunting down a career as a Formula 1 engineer, it can be tough to understand where to get started. Oftentimes the easiest place to start is your local karting circuit. With tons of young racing drivers around, there’s a good chance that many of them would love some help working on their racing karts. 

BONUS TIP: Remember, any experience, whether paid or unpaid, goes a long way in a Formula 1 team

While go-karts aren’t necessarily racing cars, they help you to understand the fundamentals of motorsport in a unique and fun way. They will teach you a lot about optimizing the performance of the vehicle through setup changes. These setup elements remain the same throughout the motorsport ladder all the way into Formula 1, so it’s a good place to start learning.

Some engineers who are currently in Formula 1 started in smaller motorsport series such as the Renault Clio Cup. If you’re not in the UK, you may want to look into your local racing series. Whether it’s a VW, a small single-seater, or even an old touring car, any experience in motorsport is worthwhile, and you should never overlook these opportunities.

Even if you’re not playing an active role as an engineer in any of these series, simply being around in the garage and engaging with people who are in the field you want to pursue will be beneficial to you. As mentioned earlier, networking is crucial in motorsport, and one of these engineers could be your doorway into a position on the team.

What Qualifications Do You Need To Become An F1 Race Engineer?

You need qualifications in engineering of some kind to become an F1 race engineer. You’ll also need qualifications in math and the sciences, as these will be part of your daily life. You’ll need to gain experience working in motorsport, as experience is often more important than qualifications.

Qualifications are really important when applying for a position in Formula 1. When it comes to engineering, math and physics will be a part of your everyday life. If you’re still in school, math and physics are definitely the directions you need to go in when it comes to choosing subjects. These will be beneficial to you in qualifying for a degree and in your job as an engineer.

Engineering & Science Degrees

When it comes to choosing subjects at university, you need to focus on anything engineering related. Mechanical engineering is the usual choice, but physics and math can also be beneficial in your pursuit of becoming a Formula 1 engineer. At the end of the day, the most important part is having a good understanding of mechanics.

Mechanical knowledge is what gets you a job as an engineer, so this is the route you want to be taking. However, practical experience also plays a major role in landing that dream job in Formula 1. Without practical experience, a Formula 1 team will simply move on to the next applicant, and there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of candidates to choose from.

In the world of Formula 1, experience is almost more important than a qualification. Having experience, especially in the form of motorsport, means that the engineer has been through real-world situations and has a good understanding of how the cars work and what they need to do. Understanding the teams’ operations aspect is incredibly important for Formula 1 teams.

Skills You Need To Be An F1 Engineer

Aside from relevant qualifications and real-world motorsport experience, there’s an important skill set that a Formula 1 engineer needs if they’re going to make it a successful career. The first is the ability to work well within a team. No matter how great you are at your job, Formula 1 is a team sport, and you need to be able to mold into any space you are needed.

People skills will also be important in this position. Communicating with the driver and your other team members is crucial in Formula 1, so this is not something that you should be overlooking. It’s crucial that you are able to translate what the driver needs from their car and keep in mind that every driver has their own way of explaining what they’re feeling in the car.

Problem-solving and quick thinking is also important in Formula 1. If something goes wrong with the car or the setup goes in the wrong direction, it’s often up to the engineers to get the car setup back on track. With some direction from the driver, engineers often need to get creative when it comes to which parts of the car setup they’re going to adjust.

Finally, a Formula 1 engineer has to have a passion for the sport. With such a demanding and high-pressure job, and a lot of travel, it’s not the place for someone who doesn’t love the sport. However, with Formula 1 being the pinnacle of motorsport, anyone who loves engineering will surely be a fan of the cars and sport too.

KEY POINTS

• To become an F1 engineer, you’ll need the right qualifications and plenty of motorsport experience

• Math and science-based qualifications are important, but so are things like communication skills and the ability to work well within large teams

• You’ll need to have a passion for engineering and the world of motorsport in general

Final Thoughts

F1 engineers can earn between $40,000 and $80,000 a year on average. They also potentially get benefits that vary based on the team, such as bonuses if their team performs well, and possibly things like medical insurance and pensions. In addition, they also get paid to travel the world.