The 15 Highest Paid Formula 1 Drivers of 2016

How much money do you make? Chances are that whatever figure it is, it hardly meets all your expenses adequately. Our employers think that they pay us too much, everyone at home thinks we are too stingy because we do not shower them with fancy or any kind of gifts, and the bills grow faster than our ability to earn.

Coveting is a serious sin that none of us should commit, but coming across articles like these only makes it harder for people who want to be content with living within their means to do so. The figures in this article are enough for you to question whether the grass on your side was ever green at all because, according to these drivers' salaries, all the green seems to be on their side.

The sad thing is that those of us who spend the whole day breaking our backs make only small fractions of what the drivers in this article make, thinking how easy their job must be in comparison.

However, the diehard fans of Formula 1 who always go to watch the races whenever they are in town know that the racing here is not as easy as everyone else out there thinks. Formula 1 is a very competitive sport and every driver needs to be at the top of his game to win any points, while the truly remarkable ones end up winning multiple championships.

Most of the drivers here make millions of dollars every year because they are exceptional at what they do - and the same applies to all professionals at the top of their trade. Let this be an eye-opener that we too can get paid in millions if we rise to the very top, because this list is full of only the best of the best.


15 Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) - $850,000

Via Formula 1

Daniil Kvyat is a Formula 1 racing driver who is not having the best season of his career, with setbacks and poor performances that one cannot imagine he was capable of. Daniil Kvyat is said to be earning between $750,000 and $850,000, although he moved from Red Bull to Toro Rosso at the beginning of this season. Daniil seemed and still has a very promising career ahead of him, since in 2013; he won the GP3 championship and graduated to Formula 1 the following year when he was just 19 years old. In his debut season, Daniil Kvyat broke Sebastian Vettel's record of being the youngest ever individual to win points in Formula 1, a season in which he finished 15th overall in the World Championships.

14 Jolyon Palmer (Renault) - $900,000

Via Sporting Barbados

Jolyon Palmer is a Formula 1 racing driver currently part of the Renault Sport F1 Team. This 25-year-old is one of the youngest drivers on the list and has not had a lot of experience in Formula 1 as others on this list have but he came to Formula one as the 2014 GP2 Series Champion. Before joining Renault as a full-time driver just this year, Jolyon was a test driver at the Lotus Formula One team in 2015. His first F1 race was the Australian Grand Prix and he has numerous other races to carve out his history among the greats. Jolyon Palmer is the son of Jonathan Palmer, a former Formula 1 driver and current UK race circuit owner. Even without registering a podium finish, Jolyon Palmer is assured of making at least $900,000 this season.

13 Kevin Magnussen (Renault) - $900,000


Kevin Magnussen is a Formula 1 racing driver from Denmark, who is currently part of the Renault Sport Formula 1 team. His father, Jan Magnussen must have played a significant role in helping Kevin to choose his career path because he was also a Formula 1 driver from 1995 to 1998. From 2008 through to 2012, Kevin Magnussen took part and won numerous racing races including some in Formula Ford, Formula Renault, German Formula 3, British Formula 3, and the Renault World series. Kevin graduated to Formula 1 in 2013 as a reserve driver for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1. Kevin remained to be a reserve driver at McLaren in 2014 and 2015, but switched to Renault in 2016 as a driver. Kevin makes $900,000 a year at Renault, a more than decent pay package.

12 Sergio Perez (Force India) - $2 Million

Via Fanpop

Sergio Perez, otherwise known as "The Mexican Wunderkind" is a 26-year-old Mexican racing driver, who is part of the Force India Formula 1 team. Sergio Perez joined Formula 1 in 2011 when Sauber announced that they were bringing him in to replace Nick Heidfeld, becoming only the fifth Mexican to race in Formula 1. Sergio Perez has seven podium finishes under his belt with his first being at the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2012, just one year after his Formula 1 debut. In 2013, Sergio Perez joined McLaren but his high hopes for a championship victory were clouded by car failure, which resulted into no podium finish the whole season. The 2014 season was a dark season for Sergio Perez because McLaren decided to replace him very late into the season, but Force India signed him on for a deal that would see him take home between $2 million and $3.2 million a year.

11 Valtteri Bottas (Williams) - $3.5 Million

Via GP Malaysia

Valtteri Bottas is a Formula 1 racing driver who is currently with the Williams Formula 1 team. Valtteri joined Formula 1 in 2013, so apart from the Williams Team, he has not been part of any other Formula 1 teams. Before joining Formula 1, Valtteri took part in the Karting World Cup in 2005; he won the Formula Renault Eurocup in 2008 and won the Formula Renault Northern European Cup in 2008. In Formula Three, he became third in the 2009 season, setting two pole positions on his way there. Valtteri Bottas won the Masters of Formula 3 in 2009 and in 2010, becoming the first driver to win the F3 Masters title twice. In Formula 1, Valtteri Bottas so far has nine podium finishes and gets to go home with an annual pay of between $3.3 million and $3.5 million.

10 Romain Grosjean (Haas) - $4.5 Million


Romain Grosjean is a 30-year-old Formula 1 driver, part of the Haas Formula 1 team. Romain holds French and Swiss citizenships but chooses to drive under the French Flag. On his way to Formula 1, Romain dominated the French Formula Renault championship in 2005, the Formula 3 Euro series championship in 2007, and he became the GP2 Asia series champion among other achievements. In 2011, Romain became the only holder of the GP2 Asia series and main GP2 series at the same time. In 2012, Romain Grosjean joined Formula 1 for the second time as part of the Lotus Formula 1 team, the year he took his first podium finish in Formula 1. Romain Grosjean joined the Haas F1 team in 2015, with a contract that guarantees him anywhere between $3.2 million and $4.5 million plus bonuses every year.

9 Felipe Massa (Williams) - $4.5 Million


Felipe Massa is a 35-year-old Brazilian who is part of the Williams Team in Formula 1 racing. Being one of the oldest drivers on the list, Felipe Massa started go-kart racing when he was just eight years old where he took part in national and regional competitions until the age of 15. Before joining formula One, Felipe claimed championship titles in Formula Rolon Chevrolet, Italy's Formula Renault, and the Euro Formula 3000. Among some of his most memorable victories are the 2006 and 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, which he won, making him the fourth Brazilian to win the Grand Prix at home twice. Although Felipe announced that he would retire at the end of this season, he remains to be one of the highest-paid drivers in the sport taking home at least $4.5 million every year.


8 Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) - $5 Million

Via F1 Fanatic

Germany has produced many outstanding Formula 1 drivers over the years and Nicolas "Nico" Hulkenberg is a German driver to watch in the coming seasons. Nico is part of the Sahara Formula One team, having begun in Formula 1 with the Williams team in 2010, joining the Force India team in 2012, moving to the Sauber Team in 2013, and finally returning to where he currently is in 2014. Nico Hulkenberg makes between $4 million and $5 million every year until 2017, making him one of the top earners in the sport. Despite the fact that Nico is yet to register wins or podium finishes in Formula 1, he remains one of the most valuable drivers since he won the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship, the 2009 GP2 series, and Formula 3 Euro Series, and A1 Grand Prix.

7 Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) - $6.5 Million

Via B&T

Daniel Ricciardo is a 27-year-old Formula 1 driver hailing from Australia who is currently part of the Red Bull Racing team. Daniel Ricciardo joined Formula 1 in 2014 from the British Formula 3, where he had won the championship title in 2009. It did not take long for Ricciardo to prove just how good a driver he was since he finished third in his first season with Red Bull in 2014, which is a great achievement. Of the Formula One races that Daniel Ricciardo has been part of, he has won four and has had 16 podium finishes so far. Daniel makes anywhere between $5.5 million and $6.5 million a year, a very impressive pay package for someone who has not been in Formula One for too long.

6 Jenson Button (McLaren) - $13 Million

Via WTF1

Jenson Button is a McLaren-Honda Formula One driver who will be stepping down from driving next season but has mentioned that his break is just a sabbatical leave and people should not think that he is retiring from the sport completely. Jenson is a great driver, having won the 2009 Formula One World Championship, alongside 15 wins and 50 podium finishes throughout his career. Jenson Button makes and will continue to make between $11.6 million to $13 million every year, all the way to the end of the 2018 Formula One season at McLaren. Jenson began his Formula 1 career with Williams F1 and won his World Championship with the Mercedes-engined Brawn GP car at the Brazilian Grand Prix, but has spent a huge chunk of his career in McLaren.

5 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) - $15.5 Million

Via My Formula 1

Since Nico Rosberg's father Keke Rosberg is a former Formula One World Champion, you would only expect his son to be great at this sport too, right? Although his father used to race under the Finnish flag, Nico is part of the Mercedes Formula One team and races under the German flag owing to his dual citizenship in both Finland and Germany. Nico might not have won a world championship yet like his father did in 1982 but he takes home between $15.5 million to $18.3 million, an amount that his father hardly ever made. Nico has 23 wins and 53 podium finishes under his belt and is currently having a great season so far because he is currently leading the 2016 Formula One Championship.

4 Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) - $16 Million

Via Jalopnik

Finland has produced some outstanding Formula 1 drivers over the years, and Kimi Raikkonen (The Ice Man as many people call him) is one of the best in the sport today. What is amazing about Kimi Raikkonen is that he won the Formula One World Championships in 2007 in his first year with Ferrari, a fete that very few other drivers have ever achieved in their first year with a team. In the same year, Kimi Raikkonen was the highest paid driver in motorsport earning approximately $51 million annually but now has to settle for what might seem to him to be a paltry $16 million a year. Apart from competing in Formula 1, Raikkonen has also competed in the World Rally Championships and in NASCAR but is now in Formula 1.

3 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) - $31 Million

Via The Independent

Lewis Hamilton is the highest paid British Formula One Racing driver and is the first black Formula 1 driver, without counting Willy T. Ribbs' test drive in 1986. Lewis Hamilton is part of the Mercedes AMG Petronas team, despite beginning his racing career with McLaren. Lewis Hamilton makes a whopping $31 million a year plus a $10 million bonus every year for three years, making him one of the highest-paid British athlete if not the highest paid this year. Lewis Hamilton has won the Formula One World Championship three times, in 2008, in 2014, and in 2015, giving him one of the best records in history so far. Lewis Hamilton stands out in that he is the only driver who has won at least one race every season he completes since joining McLaren in 2007 to date at Mercedes, giving him the third highest all-time wins in the history of Formula 1.

2 Fernando Alonso (McLaren) - $40 Million

Via F1 Fanatic

Fernando Alonso Diaz is one of the best Formula 1 racing drivers in the world today, having won numerous titles including two Formula 1 World Championships. Fernando makes a maximum of $40 million a year including bonuses, which is a lot of money. Currently, Fernando is part of the McLaren-Honda team, despite winning his double championship with Renault. Fernando Alonso began racing at age 3, where he joined the Karting competitions and became world champion in 1996. Fernando made it to Formula 1 in 2001; he joined Renault in 2003, won the Formula One World Drivers' Championship in 2005, and retained it in 2006. Fernando came very close to winning a third title on three occasions while at Ferrari by finishing at runner-up positions in 2010, 2012, and 2013.

1 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - $50 Million

Via In4ride

Sebastian Vettel tops the list of the highest paid Formula 1 drivers of 2016, owing to his $50 million paycheck. The terms of his three-year contract from 2015 to 2017 state that he was to receive $50 million guaranteed in his first year, and then a basic salary of $30 million plus bonuses the other two years. This pay makes this outstanding 29-year old German driver the highest paid driver in the business. Sebastian Vettel has broken numerous records over his career since he held at least five youngest Formula 1 driver records among others. Vettel has had an impressive record so far, winning four back-to-back Formula 1 World Championships from 2010 to 2013 and he is one among only four drivers in history to win at least four titles.


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