Highest paid drivers as Formula 1 enters Miami Grand Prix
As Miami is about to find out, everything is bigger in Formula 1 racing. That most certainly includes star salaries. While most major US sports operate under some sort of salary cap, driver salaries fall outside F1’s spending restrictions.
Consequently, drivers Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and reigning champion Max Verstappen can trade whatever the market will bear without the money potentially coming out of a teammate’s pocket.
Miami athletes lose respectable salaries
Although Major League Baseball watchers disagree, Miami is big enough to support franchises in all five major team sports, Division I athletics, and regular visits to the area on home runs. golf and tennis. Formula 1 joins the list on May 8 when the Miami Grand Prix launches a long-term deal for annual races.
Ten teams will compete and their 20 drivers will raise a total of over $200 million plus bonuses this season. The highest salary, belonging to seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, is more than anything the stars of the City’s professional teams earn.
With small rosters and big TV deals, NBA teams are paying top dollar. Miami Heat forwards Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo earned $36 million and $28.1 million, respectively, during the just-concluded regular season. Guard Kyle Lowry was not far behind with just under $27 million.
The NFL’s top salaries (read: quarterbacks) are usually competitive with major basketball contracts, but the Dolphins have undergone another roster overhaul, with defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah the No. $11.35 million. Only four other salaries exceed $8 million, led by tight end Mike Gesicki at $10.93 million.
Miami Marlins outfielders Avisail Garcia and Jorge Soler are on the books for $12 million each, tying goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky of the NHL’s Florida Panthers.
Lewis Hamilton commands first Formula 1 salary
There are only 20 full-time Formula 1 drivers in the world and a limited number of others with the required Super License to drive in the circuit consisting of 22 races in cities around the world. They are in Florida this week for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc is comfortably atop the F1 2022 standings, leading Max Verstappen, 86-59, but he has some catching up to do when it comes to top salaries.
At present, Lewis Hamilton of the Mercedes team is the highest paid driver in F1 with a salary that Spotrac.com amounts to 40 million dollars. Like many other drivers, his contract is believed to contain sweeteners for achievements such as race wins. As is the case with the best golfers, he probably earns as much or more in endorsements.
Verstappen won the 2021 Drivers’ World Championship and is competing this season while earning $25 million. However, Red Bull Racing would not risk letting the Dutch star off the hook at the height of his career and recently negotiated a five-year, $275 million extension. The case begins next year.
More wages in Formula 1
The next driver to get super rich in Formula 1 could very well be Charles Leclerc. With two victories in the first four races, he arrives at the Miami Grand Prix at the top of the drivers’ classification and helps Scuderia Ferrari to the top of the constructors’ classification, which determines the money allocations to teams at the end of the year.
Leclerc earns $12 million and is signed until 2024, according to Racing News 365. If he has a series championship in hand in his next contract negotiations, he could easily double his salary.
Ferrari also pays Carlos Sainz Jr. $10 million, making the team one of three with a pair of eight-figure salaries. McLaren pays Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo $20 million and $15 million respectively. Aston Martin pays former champion Sebastian Vettel $15 million and Lance Stroll $10 million.
Alpine’s Fernando Alonso is third among all drivers with $20 million.
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