Formula 2 (F2) and Formula One (F1) are two of the most competitive and exciting motorsport championships in the world. Many aspiring drivers compete in F2, the feeder series, or the second-tier series in the Formula Racing hierarchy, with the hope of earning a shot at the F1 series, where they can prove their racing caliber and earn significantly higher salaries. But how much do F2 drivers make compared to F1 drivers? Let’s take a look at the factors that impact the salaries of F2 and F1 drivers and compare their earnings.
It’s worth noting that F2 and F1 drivers also face different challenges and opportunities in their respective championships. F2 competitors, who are mostly junior drivers, primarily focus on honing their speed, and skills. They are also focused on gaining experience to improve their chances of getting a seat in an F1 team in the future. Few drivers who have earned enough reputation from their respective driver’s academy will earn test drivers or reserve driver’s seats for big teams in F1.
F1 drivers, on the other hand, are in a league of their own. They face the pressure of competing at the highest level of motorsport and constantly strive to win races and championships. The high stakes and intense competition in F1 can also lead to a shorter career lifespan for drivers, who are expected to perform at their best at all times.
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How much do F2 Drivers make?
There is no fixed salary for F2 drivers, and their earnings can vary depending on several factors. According to estimates, the average annual salary for F2 drivers is around €50,000 to €150,000 per season. However, most of their earnings are reinvested in their careers, such as training, equipment, and travel costs, as the purpose of F2 is to cast as training grounds for drivers. F2 driver contracts vary significantly based on their team, performance, and overall experience.
Success in junior categories, on-track performance, marketability, and sponsorship deals are the primary factors that impact F2 driver salaries. Drivers who have excelled in lower-level racing categories such as Formula 3 or karting are more likely to secure higher-paying driver programmes contracts with top-tier F2 teams. On-track performance during the season is a crucial determinant of their salary. Teams often offer incentives and bonuses based on drivers’ performance throughout the season, with higher payouts for podium finishes and overall championship standings.
Sponsorship and financial backing also play a crucial role in determining F2 driver salaries. Drivers who have secured significant sponsorship deals can earn additional income through personal endorsements and product promotion. Furthermore, drivers who can bring financial backing to their team may have an edge in securing higher-paying contracts.
How much do F1 drivers make?
F1 drivers, on the other hand, earn significantly higher salaries than F2 drivers. The drivers are paid tens of millions of dollars per season to race in Formula 1. For example, Max Verstappen, who races for Red Bull, earns $55 million, making him the highest-paid driver in F1. Lewis Hamilton, who races for Mercedes, earns $35 million per season. He was the highest-paid driver in his prime. Charles Leclerc, who races for Ferrari, earns $24 million.
The salaries of F1 drivers are primarily determined by their on-track performance and marketability. The top-performing drivers with a large fan following and strong brand appeal tend to earn the most. For example, Lewis Hamilton, who has won seven world championships, is widely considered one of the best F1 drivers in history, and has a massive following on social media, making him a highly marketable athlete.
Another factor that impacts F1 driver salaries is the team they race for. Top-tier teams such as Mercedes, Red Bull, and Ferrari tend to have larger budgets and can offer higher salaries to their drivers. Smaller teams with limited budgets may not be able to afford to pay their drivers as much.
It’s worth noting that F1 driver salaries can be complex, as they often include bonuses, incentives, and performance-based payouts. For example, a driver may earn additional income for each race they finish, based on their finishing position, or for winning a race or the championship. Here is an estimated list on the salaries of the current drivers on the grid:
|DRIVER||TEAM||SALARY||FINAL YEAR ON THEIR CONTRACT|
|Max Verstapen||Redbull||$ 55 Million||2028|
|Sergio Perez||Redbull||$ 10 Million||2024|
|Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari||$ 24 Million||2024|
|Carlos Sainz||Scuderia Ferrari||$ 12 Million||2024|
|Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||$ 35 Million||2023|
|George Russell||Mercedes||$ 8 Million||2023|
|Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||$ 6 Million||2024|
|Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||$ 5 Million||2024|
|Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes||$ 20 Million||2025|
|Oscar Piastri||McLaren Mercedes||$ 2 Million||2024|
|Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||$ 10 Million||2025|
|Gaunyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||$ 2 Million||2023|
|Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||$ 5 Million||2024|
|Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||$ 2 Million||2024|
|Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||$ 5 Million||2023|
|Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||$ 2 Million||2024|
|Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri RBPT||$ 1 Million||2023|
|Nyck Devries||Alphatauri RBPT||$ 2 Million||2023|
|Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||$ 3 Million||2024|
|Logan Sargent||Williams Mercedes||$ 1 Million||2023|
In conclusion, while F2 and F1 are both prestigious motorsport championships, the earnings of their drivers vary significantly. F2 drivers can earn a decent income, but their earnings depend on various factors, such as performance, sponsorship deals, and team affiliation. In contrast, F1 drivers are among the highest-paid athletes globally, with the top-performing drivers earning tens of millions of dollars per season. Their on-track performance and marketability primarily determine the salaries of F1 drivers, and the team they race for. Ultimately, both F2 and F1 drivers are skilled athletes who are always striving to make a name for themselves in the world of motorsport.