Checo Perez Secures Historic Runner-Up Finish in F1, But How Much Will He Actually Earn?

Perez earns minimal prize money as F1's structure favors teams, underscoring the sport's unique financial dynamics.

After a thrilling race under the neon lights of Las Vegas, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez has cemented his place as runner-up in the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship. The Mexican driver put in a gutsy drive to finish third behind race winner and teammate Max Verstappen, securing vital points to seal second place in the overall standings.

While Perez’s achievement is no doubt historic – he is the first Mexican F1 driver to finish runner-up – it does beg the question: how much prize money will he actually receive for his efforts?

F1 Prize Structure Favors Teams Over Drivers

The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is very little.

Unlike many other professional sports, F1 distributes the lion’s share of its prize money to the competing teams rather than individual drivers. This means that while Perez has earned great prestige, his bank balance will remain largely untouched by prize winnings.

The exact details of F1’s prize money structure are kept private under the Concorde Agreement between teams and the FIA. However, it is understood that as much as 68% of F1’s revenues are distributed to the teams, with only a fraction reserved for driver prizes.

Sources suggest the Constructors’ Championship winning team receives around $120 million, with other teams receiving smaller amounts depending on their final position. Drivers are awarded trophies for finishing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, but no direct cash prize.

Checo Pérez protagonizó emotivo momento al festejar el subcampeonato con su esposa Carola Martínez (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
Checo Perez had a touching moment celebrating his runner-up finish with his wife Carola Martinez (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

Perez’s Salary and Bonuses Far Outweigh Prize Money

For Perez and other star drivers, prize winnings are dwarfed by their multi-million dollar salaries and performance bonuses.

It is reported the Mexican takes home a base salary of $10 million from Red Bull, with additional bonuses bringing his total earnings to around $15 million per season. This is pocket change compared to teammate Verstappen, who recently signed an extension worth up to $50 million per year.

Winning the Constructors’ Championship also triggers additional bonus payments for drivers under the Concorde Agreement. In Perez’s case, this is likely to be several million dollars extra.

And that’s not counting lucrative personal sponsorship deals – Perez enjoys backing from major brands like Telcel, Claro, Red Cola, and more. Factoring in all revenue streams, his total earnings for 2022 likely exceed $20 million.

What About Future Earnings?

The prestige of finishing runner-up will make Perez hot property when his Red Bull contract expires at the end of 2024. The team will be keen to retain his services, meaning he can likely command a salary uplift to $20 million or more per year.

If he chose to switch teams, Perez would be in prime position to negotiate one of the biggest driver contracts on the grid. His stock has risen dramatically over the past three seasons.

In the same category:

 Sergio ‘Checo’ Pérez logra el subcampeonato de la F1 2023 (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
Sergio ‘Checo’ Pérez wins the F1 2023 runner-up spot (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

Perez’s Legacy Now Secured in History Books

While direct prize money is negligible financially, Perez will still benefit handsomely from his historic season. More importantly, his legacy as Mexico’s greatest-ever F1 driver is now cemented.

At age 33, he still has several years left to add to his tally of wins and perhaps one day challenge for the World Championship. This season saw him come agonizingly close on numerous occasions before being eclipsed by the dominance of Verstappen.

With a top-tier car under him again next year, plus the confidence of being Mexico’s first-ever F1 runner-up, expect Perez to come back even stronger in 2023.

2023 Rule Changes Could Shake Up Grid

Major technical rule changes for 2023 add another variable into the mix. These are expected to reduce the performance gap between teams and introduce closer racing.

Red Bull will start as favorites once again, but Perez will be pushing hard to be in contention from the outset next season.

If he can match Verstappen more frequently with a more unpredictable car, race wins, and perhaps even a title tilt could be on the cards. But he will have his work cut out with a resurgent Mercedes and others breathing down his neck.

Perez is Already Looking to the Next Season

Speaking after securing runner-up in Las Vegas, an emotional yet optimistic Perez said:

“This has been an incredible year for us at Red Bull. We have achieved the maximum as a team, winning both titles, and I’m so proud to have played my part securing the 1-2 finish.”

“There have been ups and downs but I kept my head down and kept pushing, never giving up. Now it’s time to look forward and come back even stronger next season.”

Perez will be hungrier than ever to take the fight to Verstappen in 2023. With a cool $20+ million banked for his efforts this year, he can focus purely on his quest for a first-world title rather than worrying about prize money.

The 2023 F1 season promises to be another thriller, with Perez now firmly established as a top contender.