Contract poker with Mercedes: is Hamilton overestimating its value?

Is Hamilton overestimating his worth?

Those are the salaries of the Formula 1 drivers. What do the stars deserve? And are they worth it?

D.he most expensive Formula 1 driver today is currently unemployed. Lewis Hamilton is playing poker with Mercedes for a new contract. There is talk of a base salary of 40 million euros, a participation in the team’s designer bonus of around ten percent and an influence on Daimler’s future electrical strategy.

Mercedes denies every single speculation about the salary poker. Rightly. Because no journalist sits at the negotiating table. And yet there are always people from the environment of the negotiating partners who chat. Because it strengthens their own position. Or because they just gossip.

The fact is: The negotiations have been going on like chewing gum since 2020. Despite all the protagonists’ assertions to the contrary. Most recently, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff had even brought a possible “surprise” into play with colleagues from Autosport.

Wolff about the still missing signature from Hamilton: “I don’t worry because I will always respect Lewis’ decision. Whether he stays with us for a long time or leaves the sport and pursues other interests. I think we have to be prepared for the fact that he still has a few surprises up his sleeve. “

With this, the Austrian also admits: Problems with contract poker are certainly not the result of the media’s imagination. And yet the question must be allowed: Hamilton overestimates his worth? It’s clear: As a seven-time world champion and superstar of the scene, the Brit can make certain demands. But corporations like Daimler and Ineos do not allow themselves to be blackmailed. Commercials are also possible with other stars. And a George Russell – even if you had to buy it for around five million euros from the Williams contract – would be available at a bargain price with a Mercedes salary of an estimated five million euros.

The young Englishman had shown in Bahrain that he, too, can drive to victory in the Silver Arrow – and he knows that he has a rapidly growing fan base behind him.

Will Hamilton stay with Mercedes?

© LAT / Mercedes

One thing is certain: If Hamilton signs a new contract, he will remain the best-paid Formula 1 driver. With distance. Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo and Charles Leclerc are on his heels. Fernando Alonso will return to the group of Formula 1 top earners in 2021.

Sebastian Vettel has to compromise. According to, his new Aston Martin salary of an estimated seven million euros consists of the driver’s salary (approx. 1.3 million euros) and a bonus for his role as Aston Martin brand ambassador of approx. 4.2 million euros. Again and again, in view of the Corona crisis, the German had emphasized that money was no longer his top priority.

The climbers include Sergio Perez (Red Bull) and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari). Both get more money from their team change.

And yet: The days of top earners in Formula 1 are over. Alpha Tauri team boss Franz Tost initiated the 2020 salary debate. “The drivers earn way too much money,” said the Austrian.

It is less about envy of the mega fees, but about the overall economic situation – especially in times of the corona pandemic. “No spectators are allowed, the FOM (Formula One Management; ed.) Makes less money and the teams make less money. I don’t see any reason why the drivers shouldn’t get less ”, emphasized the Austrian and added:“ They should be happy that they have this job and that they also earn a bit of money. ”

This is one of the reasons why the teams have agreed on a wage cap for the drivers. According to this, from 2023 a team can only spend a maximum of 30 million dollars for both drivers together. Every dollar beyond that is to be deducted from the general budget cap of $ 135 million.

Alone: ​​Contracts that are concluded beforehand do not fall below the salary limit. Maybe that’s why Hamilton is playing poker so intensely …

The estimated salary of Formula 1 drivers in 2021 *:

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): So far 50 million euros
Max Verstappen (Red Bull): 16 million euros
Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren): 15 million euros
Charles Leclerc (Ferrari): 10 million euros
Fernando Alonso (Renault): 10 million euros
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes): 8 million euros
Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin): 6 million euros
Sergio Perez (Red Bull): 5 million euros
Carlos Sainz (Ferrari): 5 million euros
Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo): 4 million euros
Lance Stroll (Aston Martin): 2 million euros
Esteban Ocon (Renault): 2 million euros
Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri): 1.5 million euros
Lando Norris (McLaren): 1 million euros
George Russell (Williams): 0.5 million euros
Nicholas Latifi (Williams): 0.5 million euros
Mick Schumacher (Haas): 0.4 million euros
Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo): 0.4 million euros
Nikita Mazepin (Haas): 0.3 million euros
Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri): 0.2 million euros

* The salaries are estimated.


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