The 2021 Formula 1 season is scheduled to get underway in March, with team budgets capped to try and level the playing field.
The 10 constructors are limited to spending £119m for the upcoming campaign, with further reductions in the books over the following two years.
However, a litany of expenditure is excluded from the restrictions including driver costs, paving the way for sprawling, wide-ranging wages between drivers and teams.
A driver salary cap from 2023 has been floated to further rein in the spending but the majority of teams would not trouble the proposed upper limit of £22m.
RadioTimes.com examines the full F1 driver line-up 2021 to reveal which Formula 1 superstars earn the most ahead of the season opener in Bahrain on the 28th March.
Some salaries are estimates, based on a variety of sources, but we will update this piece once fresh information is confirmed surrounding each driver’s annual pay packet.
F1 salaries in 2021
Nikita Mazepin (Haas) – Unknown
Haas took a punt on Nikita Mazepin, the son of a Russian billionaire, after deciding to ditch Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. A fifth-place finish in Formula 2 suggests the 2021 season could be a steep learning curve for the 21-year-old. Grosjean and Magnussen were estimated to earn around £1.8m in the final year of their contracts.
Mick Schumacher (Haas) – Unknown
The son of legendary driver Michael Schumacher, Mick proved his quality by winning the F2 championship last year. The 21-year-old is tipped for the top but faces a difficult first season in F1 with Haas, who endured a wretched 2020.
Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – Unknown
Part of the Red Bull programme, the Japanese driver impressed on his way to third in F2 last season. He replaces Daniil Kvyat at AlphaTauri in 2021, with the Russian estimated to have been earning £1.4m a year – the same as team-mate Pierre Gasly.
Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) – £500,000
The lowest-paid driver in 2020, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi generally struggled in qualifying before making up places in the first lap on Sundays. The Italian scored points in three races last season but faced question marks over his future before his seat was confirmed.
Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – £700,000
A difficult debut campaign in Formula 1 has the Canadian hoping for better results a second time round. He brings plenty of sponsorship cash but is estimated to earn the same as team-mate George Russell.
George Russell (Williams) – £700,000
After wowing as Lewis Hamilton’s stand-in for the Sakhir Grand Prix, Russell has been heavily linked with a permanent drive for Mercedes amid doubts over the seven-time world champion’s future. The King’s Lynn ace is in the final year of his contract with Williams, who are hoping for a better year after failing to score last season. At 22 years of age, 2018 F2 champ Russell is regarded as one of the hottest prospects on the grid.
Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – £1.4m
One of the top performers in 2020, Gasly became the first Frenchman to win a race since Olivier Panis in 1996 when he clinched victory at September’s chaotic Italian Grand Prix. The 24-year-old was linked with a return to Red Bull to replace Alex Albon for 2021 but committed his future to AlphaTauri. He earned around £1.4m last season but could have bagged improved terms thanks to his impressive showings.
Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – £1.4m
There is extra scrutiny placed on Lance Stroll because his billionaire father Lawrence owns the Aston Martin – formerly Racing Point – team. A string of retirements meant the 22-year-old could only finish 11th in last year’s championship but he did score two podiums. 2021 could be challenging with four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel replacing Sergio Perez as his team-mate.
Lando Norris (McLaren) – £1.4m
The 21-year-old’s bromance with Carlos Sainz Jr was key to helping McLaren to third in the constructors’ championship but he faces a fresh challenge from new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. Lando Norris is likely to see his earnings rise in the future if he continues his progress up the grid.
Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – £2.5m
The Mexican won his first Grand Prix on his way to an impressive fourth-place finish last season. Perez faced the prospect of a year outside F1 after being dumped by Racing Point in favour of Vettel, but was picked up by Red Bull to replace Albon. He brings plenty of sponsorship cash and is likely to earn a similar sum to the £2.5m he was paid in 2020.
Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – £3.4m
A man with a point to prove in 2021, Esteban Ocon was thoroughly outperformed by Ricciardo last season. Renault’s rebrand to Alpine and the arrival of Fernando Alonso as his new team-mate could be the soft reboot the talented 24-year-old needs to enjoy a better campaign.
Carlos Sainz Jr (Ferrari) – £5m
A switch announced before the start of the 2020 season was the Spaniard’s move from McLaren to Ferrari. Carlos Sainz Jr is estimated to have bagged to a pay boost from the £3.5m he earned driving for his former team. He has a two-year deal with Ferrari and is likely to have his sights on 2022, when new design rules come in, as the chance to really prove his worth.
Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) – £5.5m
The 41-year-old scored four points in 2020 as Alfa Romeo raced towards the back of the field. But Kimi Raikkonen has a glittering CV which includes the 2007 world championship. He is about to enter his 19th season in F1 and is handsomely paid for his experience on and off the track.
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – £8m
Mercedes’ No.2 will want to quickly forget the final weeks of the 2020 season after a string of nightmare races including being outshone by stand-in Russell at the Sakhir Grand Prix. Valtteri Bottas is under pressure to justify his seat with the Silver Arrows, who fork out around £8m a year for his services. The 31-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season.
Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – £8m
One of the hottest prospects in the field, the Ferrari star earned a respectable eighth-place finish in 2020 despite driving a sub-par Ferrari car. It’s likely to be another slog for the Italian team so Leclerc will have to be at the top of his game to improve on his two podium finishes last season. He is estimated to be the sixth-best paid driver in the field.
Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – £12.5m
It’s all change for the popular Aussie after two years with Renault. Ricciardo has reportedly taken a cut from his previous £16m salary to join McLaren, who finished third in the 2020 constructors’ championship. The 31-year-old scored two podium places last season and is expected to perform well again for a team on the up.
Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) – £12.5m
A wretched final season at Ferrari has the four-time champion under pressure to deliver for Aston Martin in 2021. Vettel’s expected salary with his new team represents a huge drop from his £37m-per-year earnings with the Prancing Horse. He has not won a race since the Singapore Grand Prix in 2019 but, with a quick car at his disposal, hopes are high for a return towards the front rows of the grid.
Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – £14m
The Red Bull star will once again be charged with taking the fight to Mercedes after finishing best of the rest last season. A £14m salary is reward for Max Verstappen‘s potential and he backed up his pay with two race wins in 2020. The 23-year-old comfortably outperformed old team-mate Albon but faces a fresh test against new rival Perez.
Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – £15m
The two-time world champion is back in Formula 1 after a two-year absence. Fernando Alonso is estimated to be earning £15m for his comeback season with Alpine, who have rebranded from Renault. The 39-year-old will be expected to help his new team win the midfield battle after a fifth-place finish in the 2020 constructors’ championship.
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – £40m
The seven-time world champion is officially out of contract with Mercedes, but all the signs are pointing towards a new deal being signed. Hamilton earned around £40m per season under his previous terms and is surely gunning to win an unprecedented eighth crown.
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