The 20 drivers who will start this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix have bagged nearly $130m in salaries this year, Arabian Business can reveal.A new survey of F1 salaries is topped by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who has collected a $45m pay cheque this year.
Last year’s world champion Lewis Hamilton comes in second with $18m, followed by former double world champion Fernando Alonso – he took $15m in pay from Renault.
Newly crowned world champion Jenson Button could only manage 8th on the list, with $5m – while his teammate Ruben Barrichello was paid a relatively paltry $1m this year.
The survey was compiled by F1 expert Tom Rubython, author of the Ayrton Senna biography The Life of Senna.
Rubython said: “There may be a global recession going on but being an F1 driver means you earned a fortune last year. These figures are just basic salaries, and don’t include sponsorship and other income, which can often be three times that amount.”
In total, the 20 drivers who will race this weekend have earned $126.8m – although if Ferrari’s Felipe Massa is included (currently out injured), it brings the average F1 salary for 2009 to $6.4m.
Despite the high salaries for the star drivers, three of the top names are on no salary due to “rent a drive” contracts – Kazuki Nakajima, Romain Grossjean and Vitantonio Liuzzi DRIVER SALARIES FOR 2009
1. Kimi Raikkonen $45m2. Lewis Hamilton $18m3. Fernando Alonso $15m4. Nico Rosberg $8.5m5. Jarno Trulli $6.5m6. Sebastian Vettell $6m7. Mark Webber $5.5m8. Jenson Button $5m9. Robert Kubica $4.5m10. Heiki Kovaleinen $3.5m11. Nick Heidfeld $2.8m12. Timo Glock $2m13. Giancarlo Fisichella $1.5m14. Sebastien Buemi $1.5m15. Rubens Barrichello $1m16. Jaime Alguersuari $0.5m17. Vitantonio Liuzzi $NIL18. Adrian Sutil [Rent a driver]19. Romain Grossjean $NIL20. Kazuki Nakajima $NIL
* Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, who is not racing due to injury, earned $8m in 2009.