Driver Salaries: F1 vs. NASCAR vs. IndyCar

F1 drivers are the best in the world, and if you make it to that level, you are compensated well.

But how well?

F1 salaries – $11.4 million average

Reported top five F1 earners in 2022:

Max Verstappen – $60m
Lewis Hamilton – $55m
Fernando Alonso – $30m
Sergio Perez – $26m
Charles Leclerc – $23m

[Source: Forbes]

NASCAR salaries – $4.5 million average

Reported top five NASCAR earners in 2022:

Kyle Busch – $16.9m
Denny Hamlin – $13.1m
Kevin Harvick – $10.9m
Martin Truex Jr – $10.4m
Brad Keselowski – $9.4m

[Source: Flow Racers]

IndyCar – $750,000 average (not correct)

Note: We know the numbers below do not include the driver’s base salary. For example Scott Dixon earns at least between $3.5 and $4.5m per year. Not sure how Flow Racers came up with these numbers.
Marcus Ericsson – $3.1m
Pato O’Ward – $1m
Scott Dixon – $707,000
Felix Rosenqvist – $570,500
Alex Palou – $569,600

[Source: Flow Racers]

The harsh truth is that only a few top-ranking drivers earn a million or more during the season. The middle rung of drivers earns six-figure incomes if the team has good sponsors, the bottom one-third of drivers earn almost nothing for risking their lives. A few drivers even borrow money to race in IndyCar races. They hope to repay the loan on prize money winnings and sponsorships during the racing season. Many of them end up with loans to be repaid.

It is difficult to speculate on an IndyCar driver’s true earnings even if his contract is available for perusal. A driver’s earnings depend on his performance through the season besides his salary. Sponsorships also greatly influence the take-home salary of the driver. While star drivers earn good money not so successful drivers will find it hard to make ends meet at the end of their driving career. Like one driver’s agent said “Race in IndyCar for the love of the sport and not for the money you bring home.”


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