Winning Big: Formula One Driver Bonuses Revealed

Formula One BAHRAIN - George Russell, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc during the drivers' parade during the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit on March 20, 2022 in Bahrain, Bahrain. ANP ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN (Photo by ANP via Getty Images)

There’s no doubt that Formula One racing is one of the most popular sports in the world. It continues to rise in popularity each year, with the 2021 season being the most viewed in the US.

However, there is still much about the sport that fans don’t know, including how much the top-performing drivers earn.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding drivers’ salaries, which are paid by their respective teams, and even more secrecy about the bonuses both individual drivers and their teams win.

In this article, we’re peeling back the curtain to show F1 driver bonuses revealed.

How Do Formula One Bonuses Work?

Formula One is quite tight-lipped about how much their drivers earn. However, they do publicly release their method for calculating prize money.

The money generated for prizes is divided into two different streams for any given event. Half of the prize money is distributed to the teams that ranked in the top 10. Part of the money is distributed equally among all teams, though the majority is awarded based on race results. The other half goes directly to the shareholders and Formula One group.

The prize money comes from Formula One’s profits, taking about 47.5 per cent of an event’s profits when all is said and done. There’s quite a bit of money to distribute as bonuses, as profit from an F1 race can easily reach around $100 million to $140 million.

For the year 2022, Formula One’s revenues are expected to reach $1.3 billion, so that’s a lot of prize money to distribute. It’s estimated that about 23.75 per cent of F1’s overall profit is distributed based on how each team finishes in the standings.

Some teams also receive additional bonus money. For example, Ferrari reached a special deal with the F1 group that entitles them to an extra 2.5 per cent of the prize money. This deal was made out of respect for Ferrari as one of the oldest teams in the sport.

That’s not a bad take-home, once you consider that these are bonuses that drivers earn on top of their annual salary.

Though they don’t compare to the bonuses dished out by F1, you can experience the excitement of winning bonuses of your own through sites like These awesome extras are just one of the reasons why online casinos and Formula One betting are becoming so popular.

How Much Money Do F1 Drivers Make?

Brawn Bahrain Grand Prix Top Three Press Conference

The payment arrangement in F1 differs significantly from many other sports—especially individual sports.

Unlike most other athletes, Formula One drivers do not receive any prize money from the league when they win an event. Instead, the prize money goes to the driver’s team.

In turn, the team pays the driver a salary, which is determined through the contract they sign. Depending on the driver, these contracts also usually include stipulations regarding bonuses and per race salaries.

However, driver salaries, performance-based bonuses, and overall earnings are rarely—if ever—disclosed publicly, neither by the driver, the league, nor the team.

And driving isn’t the only way the most prominent F1 athletes make money. Many drivers also receive payments through endorsements and other deals that are negotiated separately from team contracts.

Altogether, these multiple income streams make Formula One drivers some of the highest-paid athletes in the world.

As salaries aren’t released, the best media can do is speculate as to the top drivers’ earnings. However, it is estimated that the highest-paid drivers earn the following salary in 2021, not including bonuses or endorsements:

  • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – $55 million
  • Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – $25 million
  • Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – $25 million
  • Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) – $15 million
  • Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – $12 million
  • Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – $10 million
  • Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – $10 million
  • Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – $8 million
  • Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – $5 million
  • Lando Norris (McLaren) – $3 million

2021 F1 Driver Bonuses Revealed

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 27: A general view over the grid preparations showing Pole position qualifier Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing preparing to start the race during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 27, 2022 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Just like with their salaries, drivers do not receive any bonus money directly from F1. Instead, each team distributes prize money to their drivers as they see fit.

Of course, there is a lot of secrecy about the exact amount drivers receive in bonuses as well. However, Forbes has compiled a list of projected bonuses for 2021 for the highest-paid Formula One drivers:

  • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – $7 million
  • Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – $17 million
  • Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – $0 million
  • Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – $13 million
  • Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) – $0 million
  • Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – $0 million
  • Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – $0 million
  • Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – $0 million
  • Lando Norris (McLaren) – $6 million
  • Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – $0 million

As the list shows, there is a lot of variation in how bonuses are distributed, even amongst the top-earning drivers.

Will There Be a Salary Cap in the Future?

There have been a lot of changes in Formula One recently, particularly regarding spending. The new budget cap limited spending to $145 million for the 2021 season, with a further limit of $135 million by 2023.

So far, driver salaries are not included in this cap, but there is some speculation that the cap may extend to this area in the future. Until then, F1 drivers will continue to see impressive salaries and even better bonuses.