Formula 1’s Highest-Paid Drivers 2023

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen just completed the most dominant season in Formula 1 history, claiming a record 19 race victories (in 22 races) and sewing up the drivers’ title back on October 7. No surprise, then, that he’s the series’ financial champion as well, with an estimated $70 million in salary and bonus this year to lead all F1 drivers.

The 26-year-old Verstappen captures the top spot for the second straight season, ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who made an estimated $55 million on the track in 2023 and has spent a decade as the series’ highest-paid star in Forbes’ annual athletes earnings ranking.

In all, the 10 highest-paid drivers in F1 collected an estimated $258 million in 2023 before taxes, a slight dip from 2022’s $264 million.

Unlike Forbes’ earnings lists for, say, soccer or the NBA, the F1 ranking excludes income from business endeavors such as endorsements, focusing solely on the sport’s salaries and bonuses. Because drivers are generally required to make appearances on behalf of their team and the team’s partners, most of them spend little effort seeking out personal sponsorships. Only a handful are believed to rake in more than $1 million annually, with Hamilton’s income off the track pegged at $10 million and Verstappen’s at $4 million for Forbes’ 2023 list of the world’s highest-paid athletes.

Still, despite the lack of endorsement deals, Formula 1 drivers are bona fide global stars, and increasingly relevant in the United States, where the Netflix docuseries Drive to Survive has attracted a passionate fan base. With the new interest, and an influx of new sponsors, Forbes estimated in July that the 10 Formula 1 teams would average $380 million in revenue this year, up from $220 million in 2018.

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