Formula 1 Salaries vs. Points Won: Which Driver Is Best Value for Money in 2014?
This season, according to Business Book GP (via TomorrowNewsF1.com), five Formula One drivers have salaries of over £10 million. Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo—winner of two grands prix—is making only £600,000.
We know that Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are running away with the Drivers' Championship but which drivers are providing good value to their teams, based on their salaries and the number of points they have scored so far this season?
Of course, the drivers' performances have as much to do with their cars as they do their skills, but this ranking can still give us an idea of who might be due for a raise next season and who is significantly under-performing (*cough* Kimi Raikkonen *cough*).
Earlier, we examined which teams are getting a good return on their budgets—now it is time to do the same with the drivers.
Note: Salary figures are rounded to the nearest 100,000 and £ per point figures are rounded to the nearest 1000.
Several high-profile drivers missed our top 10 list, including both Ferrari drivers. The Italian team has spent more on their driver salaries than any other team this year, but Fernando Alonso is just outside our top 10 and Kimi Raikkonen is last among drivers who have scored points this season.
Meanwhile, four-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel also missed the top 10. His £17.6 million salary—compared with his team-mate Ricciardo's—suggests he should not be trailing the Australian by 43 points.
Jenson Button is the fourth of the five £10-million men to finish outside the top 10 drivers in terms of value for money.
That is probably to be expected, though. No matter how high driver salaries climb, there is a finite number of points available. The drivers at the high end of the pay scale can keep making more and more money, but they cannot score any more points.
10. Lewis Hamilton
Salary: £16.0 million
£ per point: 84,000
Even with five victories and 191 points, Hamilton just barely makes the top 10. In fact, he is the highest-paid driver to make the list.
If the Brit and his team-mate, Rosberg, can deliver both the Drivers' and Constructors' Championships to Mercedes, their salaries will be a relative bargain.
9. Sergio Perez
Salary: £2.4 million
£ per point: £83,000
Sergio Perez is 11th in the Drivers' standings, but his relatively low salary puts him ninth on the value-for-salary list.
In Bahrain, the Mexican scored Force India's first podium since 2009. The exposure from that race alone probably pays for his salary in the eyes of the team. Still, Perez trails his team-mate, Nico Hulkenberg, by a wide margin and will be looking to close the gap in the second half of the season.
8. Felipe Massa
Salary: £3.2 million
£ per point: £80,000
Felipe Massa took a pay cut to move from Ferrari to Williams, but his performance this season has been solid. Bad luck has kept him from scoring even more points and he has yet to finish on the podium this year, but he is the only driver aside from the Mercedes pair to start from pole this season, in Austria.
7. Jean-Eric Vergne
£ per point: £55,000
Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne may be a surprise on this list. He is having a quiet season and has not finished higher than eighth place.
Still, he has 11 points and is on pace to break his career high of 16, set in 2012. Coupled with his salary of only £600,000, that performance is enough to land him seventh on our value-for-money list.
6. Nico Rosberg
Salary: £9.6 million
£ per point: £48,000
The championship leader is also providing good value for his salary. He has already signed a multi-year extension with Mercedes and it is a safe assumption that his new contract includes a hefty raise.
5. Nico Hulkenberg
Salary: £3.2 million
£ per point: £46,000
The Hungarian Grand Prix was the first race this season where Nico Hulkenberg failed to finish in the points. With those results, his £3.2 million salary is one of the biggest bargains on the grid.
If the German continues his solid performances, he could be in line for a big raise next season if he moves to one of the top teams in F1—a move that is long overdue.
4. Daniil Kvyat
£ per point: £33,000
Like his team-mate, Daniil Kvyat is probably a bit of a surprise on this list. He only has six points this year, but, as a rookie, he also has a salary of only £200,000.
The Russian is still within striking distance of Romain Grosjean, and even Vergne, in the Drivers' standings. A few more impressive results in the second half will solidify his place at Toro Rosso for next season.
3. Kevin Magnussen
£ per point: £22,000
Kevin Magnussen comes in just ahead of fellow rookie Kvyat in the value-for-salary ranking. He surprised everyone with a podium finish in Australia—his first F1 race—but has failed to replicate that success since.
Magnussen's team-mate, Button, has pulled ahead of him in the Drivers' Championship, but the Dane has been a solid performer all year.
2. Valtteri Bottas
£ per point: £8,000
We have known for a while that Williams have a potential future superstar on their hands with Valtteri Bottas. The Finn has been very impressive during his first season-and-a-half in F1 and recently scored his first three podium finishes.
It turns out, Williams also have one of the best bargains on the F1 grid. For £800,000, Bottas is fifth in the Drivers' standings, ahead of his team-mate, as well as former world champs Vettel, Button and Raikkonen.
Time for a raise!
1. Daniel Ricciardo
£ per point: £5,000
Coming into the season, no one knew quite what to expect from Daniel Ricciardo. He was moving from the back of the midfield to the defending world champions, but the young Aussie has been unfazed.
With two victories in the last five races, he is now third in the Drivers' standings and providing excellent value for his minuscule salary.
Red Bull may have the largest budget in the sport, but they are getting a real deal with Ricciardo.
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