Max Verstappen just got himself a bag, a nice chonky contract extension with Red Bull that will put him in a similar pay bracket as Sir Lewis Hamilton. Reports are that the contract is for roughly $55m USD a year. A huge contract and close to, if not the largest per year contract in Formula 1 history. I say close to, because the exact details around how much Lewis Hamilton gets paid is still a bit sketchy, but it's believed to be around that mark.
One thing to take note from this, is that the salary for the employees and drivers are not taken into account when calculated the cost cap per team, otherwise, Mercedes and Red Bull are putting Hamilton and Verstappen out there in some running shoes to see if they can run laps around the F1 cars.... would still probably beat a Haas though.
$55m, that's a shit load of money, do you ever try and work it out in terms of an item or food, That's 55 million cheeseburgers, that's roughly a million lap dances at my local gentlemen's club, The Crazy Horse, that's 2066 base model Toyota Prii's, 128,205 roundtrip flights from San Francisco to New York City, 51 private islands in Fiji, around 55,000 iPhones. What I'm trying to say, is that it's a fucking shit load of cash for a years worth of work.
But what If I said, they aren't getting paid enough. They deserve to get paid more. At the end of the day, that got paid essentially what they are worth according to the teams that pay them, because if other teams thought they were worth more, they'd offer more money to these drivers and steal them away from the team. But it really comes down to how do you determine someone's wealth. What is someone's value, at the end of the day the idea from the Formula 1 team is what's the least amount I can pay for a driver that will yield the best results.
So are Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen generating more than $55m for their teams, oh the answer is 100% yes. You need to look at the impact they have on the sport, the TV numbers increasing, the crowd numbers increasing, F1 keep putting on more races, the impacts that Lewis has in the UK and with young black kids that want to get involved, the impact Max has in the Netherlands with millions there, buying his merch, travelling the globe to see him and even writing a song about Super Max.
TV audiences in the Netherlands increased 81% year on year, and the UK 39%. So, increases in audience, increases in ad revenue, increases in merch sales, and if only these two put on the best season in recent F1 history as well, oh wait a minute, they just fucking did that. Now not all of these factors can be attributed to these two, but a lot can. Red Bull have signed and continue to sign massive partnerships with sponsors paying record breaking amounts to get their logo on Max's car, because they know it will be up the front and seen by a lot more. Bybit, a cryptocurrency trading platform paid $105m USD to be on the Read Bull Car, well there you go, take half, give it to the driver that's the reason they want to be on that car. But also Hamilton deserves some credit there as well, because he has kept his car up the pointy end of the grid and his car is splattered with the FTX logo, another Cryptocurrency related product, it was only a matter of time before other Crypto companies needed to compete and start to become household names.
The impact that these two drivers have on the sport is incredible, they bring in hundreds and hundreds of millions, and now with Max signed up until 2028, Red Bull will be sitting there in 2027 thinking they got the steal of a lifetime. Red Bull have robbed Max Verstappen, despite giving him $55m a year, they are just lucky that no other team want to fork out that much money on a driver, or can't afford to.