Formula One can be a mysterious sport and one of its most mysterious areas is money. Not only do the teams spend fortunes the size of small countries designing and racing the fastest cars on the planet, but they also spend enormous sums just securing their driver lineups year to year. Thanks to a study by Business Book GP part of the mystery has just been unveiled as all 20 F1 driver salaries for 2015 have been published by Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo. Just as with overall budgets, there are huge differences from the top of the food chain, to the bottom. Fernando Alonso tops this year’s list, pulling in a staggering €35,000,000 to try an scrap his McLaren-Honda to a few points, whereas poor Roberto Merhi earns a meager €50,000 to keep his Manor on the tarmac.
Here is how the list breaks down.
1. Fernando Alonso, McLaren: €35,000,000 which is the equivalent of $38,444,875 US dollars.
2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari: €28,000,000
3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes: €25,000,000
4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari: €18,000,000
5. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes: €13,500,000
6. Jenson Button, McLaren: €10,000,000
7. Felipe Massa, Williams: €4,000,000
= Nico Hulkenberg, Force India: €4,000,000
= Sergio Perez, Force India: €4,000,000
= Romain Grosjean, Lotus: €4,000,000
= Pastor Maldonado, Lotus: €4,000,000
12. Valtteri Bottas, Williams: €2,000,000
13. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull: €1,500,000
14. Danil Kvyat, Red Bull: €750,000
15. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso: €250,000
= Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso: €250,000
17. Felipe Nasr, Sauber: €200,000
= Marcus Ericsson, Sauber: €200,000
19. Will Stevens, Manor: €150,000
20. Roberto Merhi, Manor: €50,000
Looking at the list, several things stand out, noticeably how Fernando Alonso at the top of the list and Will Stevens near the bottom each earn at least three times their team mate’s salary! Other near criminal offenses occur, such as Nico Rosberg earning more than 2009 World Champion Jenson Button, or the fact that four winless drivers take home as much cash as 11 time race winner Felipe Massa. Red Bull despite its limitless coffers only gives Daniel Ricciardo a mere million and a half euros, a tiny sum compared to what they gave Vettel when he drove for them. I know of some people who get paid more to write about F1 than Roberto Merhi gets paid to race in F1.
F1 smaller teams are constantly talking about the need to cut costs and often cite the big teams’ ridiculous budgets when doing so. With salary numbers now public information, they have just a bit more ammunition for next time.