Lewis Hamilton will be taking a pay cut when he joins Ferrari at the end of the 2024 season with the legendary Brit still set to earn less per year than rival Max Verstappen, despite making such an eye-catching move.
According to figures from Forbes, Hamilton’s existing Mercedes deal is worth £43.6million ($55m) to the Brit, but his new contract with Ferrari will pay out £42.7m (€50m), according to a report published in La Gazzetta dello Sport.
This figure dwarfs that of the man he is replacing at Ferrari with Carlos Sainz earning £9.4m (€11m) in comparison, while Hamilton’s soon-to-be team-mate Charles Leclerc earns in the region of £28.2m (€33m) per season.
However, while rival Verstappen’s base salary was believed to be lower in 2023 at a still-impressive £35.7m ($45m), the three-time world champion brought home an additional £19.8m ($25m) in bonuses, taking his total package for a record-breaking season to a mouth-watering £55.5m ($70m).
While it is clear that the motivation for Hamilton’s continuation on the grid is the pursuit of an eighth World Championship, Red Bull director Helmut Marko believes that Verstappen’s superior pay is a source of frustration for the iconic Brit.
When speculation linking Hamilton with a move to Ferrari first appeared last summer, Marko offered his thoughts on the Brit’s thought process. He told F1-Insider: “There are two things that really annoy Hamilton.
“Firstly, that he is no longer world champion and will have a hard time becoming one again in the future. He knows that there is no place for him at Red Bull. And whether Ferrari is better for him than Mercedes in the future in sporting terms is not set in stone.
“Apart from the sporting perspective, Lewis is anything but happy about the fact that he is no longer the best-earning driver in Formula One. That is now Max Verstappen. At least he could change that with Ferrari’s help.”
However, Hamilton has been clear that his late-career switch has been motivated by nothing other than a return to the top of the pile in F1. After watching Verstappen win three World Championships on the spin with Mercedes still struggling to catch up, the time had come for a change.
Ferrari will certainly offer Hamilton a return to race-win contention, at least. The Scuderia were the only other team to win a Grand Prix in 2023 and claimed a total of seven pole positions throughout the year, compared to Mercedes’ one. Whether or not they can pose a threat to Red Bull is another question.