The EuroMillions lottery game hasn’t been doing too badly for itself – since its inception at the beginning of February 2004 after three European countries got together to discuss the notion of a joint lottery game, this Euro lotto has experienced a perpetual growth curve – even to this day, every single draw sees more entries into the game as news of its lucrative jackpot prizes continues to spread. The original three countries which formed the lotto game (France, the United Kingdom and Spain) soon swelled into a total of nine competing countries. With each country contributing towards the jackpot prize pool, impressive jackpots aren’t in the least bit uncommon. In fact with a minimum jackpot prize of €15,000,000; this in itself is quite a notable win!
For the most recent EuroMillions lotto draw that was held over the weekend, fans of this European lottery were treated to something rather special; a EuroMillions Superdraw, held to commemorate the game’s decade of being in operation and frequently turning over brand-new millionaires. While the actual gameplay in a Superdraw is no different to any other EuroMillions draw, the jackpot prize on offer certainly wasn’t the same: with a €100,000,000 guaranteed jackpot being offered up to all participants, it’s little wonder the game saw a tremendous spike in entries during the build up to the latest draw! These Superdraws happen quite seldom, only about once or twice in a year, so when it was first announced the public’s response was overwhelming. Wouldn’t you also be excited about laying claim to a nine-digit jackpot prize? This amount would make you unbelievably wealthy in an instant; even more so than some of the world’s richest and most celebrated Formula 1 drivers, in fact!
As far as “exciting and dangerous jobs” go, Formula 1 drivers probably rank quite close to the top of that list. For about an hour and a bit for each race, these extremely talented and super-fit gentlemen are exposed to top speeds well in excess of 200mph, constant brutal G-forces which would leave a layman’s body feeling battered for at least two weeks after, and are required to have the reflexes of a gnat on cocaine – very important if you’re keen on avoiding any high-speed collisions! Once all the glamour, pit girls and huge budgets get stripped away, it may be a childhood dream come true for many of these drivers, but make no mistake about it – being a F1 driver is a serious business, one which requires the highest degree of dedication and constant focus in order to be the best. Those who are successful on the track and who are fearlessly willing to risk life and limb, stand to gain quite handsomely on the financial front.
Let’s take a look at the highest-paid F1 drivers for the 2014 season.
With this being a $9.1 billion industry, it’s little wonder some of these drivers command such impressive salaries!
• #10: Romain Grosjean – Lotus F1 Team - €1,500,000 annual salary
Grosjean started off his professional driving career by competing in the Formula Three Euroseries in 2007 (which he won), before going on to compete in the GP2 Asia series in 2009 (which he won as well). As if this wasn’t enough for him, he then went on to win both the GP2 Series and GP2 Asia Series in 2011 again, and to this day he is the only driver to simultaneously hold both GP2 championship titles. The 27yr old Swiss talent currently drives for the Lotus F1 (and was ranked 7th in the 2013 F1 driver standings), who is expected to pay him €1,500,000 for the 2014 season.
• #9: Sergio Perez – Force India F1 Team - €2,000,000 annual salary
Despite being relatively young in the sport at only 23yrs old, “The Mexican Wunderkind” has already proved his worth on circuit – scooping up his first podium finish at the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix. Recognizing his talent, Force India F1 Team was quick to snap him up from McLaren at the end of the 2013 season, offering him a €15m sign up deal during December. Perez was ranked in 11th in the 2013 F1 driver standings, and for this year Force India will be paying him €2,000,000 for the 2014 season – making him one of the youngest, highest-paid drivers for the year.
• #8: Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull F1 Team - €2,500,000 annual salary
This 24yr old Australian racing driver kicked off his professional career by competing and winning the British Formula Three Championship in 2009, and going on to make his F1 debut in 2011 at the British Grand Prix. When Mark Webber announced his retirement from the sport, Red Bull F1 team management was tasked with finding a suitable replacement to partner up with current world champion, Sebastian Vettel – and who better, than Daniel Ricciardo? He is currently ranked 14th in the 2013 F1 driver standings, and will be paid €2,500,000 for the 2014 Formula One season.
• #7: Felipe Massa – Williams F1 Team - €4,000,000 annual salary
Ranked 8th in the 2013 F1 driver standings, 32yr old Massa started his F1 career with Sauber before moving over to Ferrari in 2006, where he was successful in scoring a #1 podium spot – twice. One of these races which he won included the Brazilian Grand Prix, which made him the first Brazilian since the legendary Ayrton Senna to have done so. At the end of 2013, Massa left his position at Ferrari and moved over to Williams, where he will partner with Valtteri Bottas and be paid €4,000,000 for doing so.
• #6: Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari F1 Team - €10,000,000 annual salary
Finnish drivers are generally quite a talented bunch, but one with a tad bit more than what is considered to be “average” in that country is Kimi Raikkonen, who has renewed his contract with the Ferrari F1 team for 2014. The 34yr old is currently ranked 5th in the 2013 F1 driver standings, and has already won the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship in 2007 – finishing ahead the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso by a single point. For the 2014 race season, Ferrari will be paying Raikkonen an eight-figure salary: €10,000,000!
• #5: Nico Rosberg – Mercedes F1 Team - €11,000,000 annual salary
Mercedes is a German marque firmly entrenched in a rich and illustrious history – so what better way to compete in Formula One, than with a German driver representing a German brand? Nico Rosberg is a 28yr old racing driver currently enlisted by the Mercedes F1 team since 2009, who was once Michael Schumacher’s team partner. To date, he has won 3 Grand Prix and has earned four pole positions. He made his debut in F1 at the 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix, and was ranked 6th in the 2013 F1 driver standings. He will be paid €11,000,000 by Mercedes F1 for the 2014 season.
• #4: Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull F1 Team - €16,000,000 annual salary
Current world champion and Daniel Ricciardo’s team mate for the 2014 season, Sebastian Vettel, has shown why he deserves the championship title. He is the youngest driver in Formula One history to secure a pole position, to lead a race, and to win a race. He is widely regarded as one of the most successful F1 drivers of all time – and here’s why: 4 Drivers’ Championship titles (2010 – 2013), 45 pole positions, 22 fastest laps. That’s an impressive cv right there, and to think – he’s only 26yr old. Vettel was ranked at #1 spot in the 2013 F1 driver standings, and for the 2014 season Austrian racing team Redbull F1 will be paying him a generous €16,000,000.
• #3: Jenson Button – McLaren F1 Team - €16,000,000 annual salary
Jenson Button is one of the older Formula One drivers currently racing – but he is also one of the highest-paid too. The 34yr old British F1 driver is representing a British brand, McLaren – the very same creators of the hugely impressive McLaren MP4-12C, and more recently the unfathomably brilliant McLaren P1. Button made his debut to F1 in 2000 at the Australian Grand Prix, winning the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix and the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix; and in 2009 he won the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship. He has won 15 races, secured 49 podium finishes, 8 pole positions, and 8 fastest laps. He was ranked 9th in the 2013 F1 driver standings, and will be paid €16,000,000 by McLaren for the 2014 season.
• #2: Fernando Alonso – Ferrari F1 Team - €20,000,000 annual salary
Sharing the same annual salary figure as the #1 spot driver on our Top 10 list, Spanish racing driver Fernando Alonso has been in Formula 1 since 2001, making his debut at the Australian Grand Prix. He has won the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship twice, in 2005 and backing up the title claim again in 2006. He has won 32 races, scored a total of 95 podium finishes, 22 pole positions and 21 fastest laps. He will be racing for the Ferrari F1 team again for the 2014 season, and will be paid €20,000,000 for doing so. This makes Alonso and the #1 spot title holder the highest-paid drivers in Formula One. So, who’s in our #1 spot…?
• #1: Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes F1 Team - €20,000,000 annual salary
The youngest driver in Formula One to have ever won the World Championship – this is the title that Hamilton can proudly lay claim to, having claimed the 2008 title after losing out on the 2007 title by a single point to Kimi Raikkonen. The 29yr old announced his entrance to the world of F1 in 2007 at the Australian Grand Prix, and in the same year he managed to win the Canadian Grand Prix; winning again in 2013, this time at the Hungarian Grand Prix. To date, he’s won 22 races with a total of 54 podium finishes, 31 pole positions, and 13 fastest laps. He’s been ranked 4th in the 2013 F1 driver standings, and for the 2014 season Mercedes will be paying Rosberg’s team-mate €20,000,000.
Even though these salaries are impressive as far as salaries go, the amounts are minus sponsorship and endorsement deals – which in themselves, are quite lucrative for the drivers. These men risk their lives with every race in order to make the sort of money that they do. Not only for the sake of entertaining millions of F1 fans worldwide and furthering the cause and reputation of the manufacturers they drive for, but also to provide for their families and secure their financial future. To date, 32 drivers have been killed during the Formula One World Championship – and this excludes deaths incurred during test drives and non-championship races. If these fatalities are included, the tally rises to 49.
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