Posts Tagged ‘Kovalainen’

This is a question I have noticed that lot of my readers have been asking on search engines which have led them here, so I thought I’d do a quick post with the answer.

I had a word with a mate of mine who is an agent representing premiership footballers and I looked through my files on drivers and through the estimated figures in Formula Money, which has some good research into the financial side of the sport.

The answer is that the top drivers earn far more than the top premiership stars, but of course there are far more top footballers than F1 stars.

Top of the F1 tree is Kimi Raikkonen, who is believed to earn around $36 million £24m) per season, with Fernando Alonso on $24 million (£16m) and Lewis Hamilton understood to be on around £12 million. Jenson Button was trousering £12 million from Honda. Heikki Kovalainen gets around $5 million (£3.4m). A front of midfield driver, like Mark Webber, earns $4 million (£2.75m) with drivers like Kazuki Nakajima on around £500,000.

No premiership player is close to Raikkonen; the top earners like John Terry and Frank Lampard are on around £6 million per year, Steven Gerrard gets around £5 million. Christiano Ronaldo earns £4 million. Like F1, the sport rewards its stars disproportionately compared with the average competitor. The average premiership salary is £500,000 per year. All of these figures are for the salary, not including the endorsements that many drivers and players have.

So the bottom line is, the top premiership stars earn roughly the same as the midfield guys in F1.

It’s only a quick look at the picture, but hope that answers your question.

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Being Heikki

One of the enigmas of 2008 was the performance of Heikki Kovalainen. Hired by McLaren as a diplomatic team mate for Lewis Hamilton, he fitted in quickly and struck up an excellent rapport with the team, especially the boss Martin Whitmarsh. His contribution and team ethic surprised many people at McLaren and made them ask for more from Lewis. Heikki thinks of things many other drivers don’t think about, not for selfish reasons, like a Schumacher or a Senna, but trying to be helpful to the team. They love him.

But in being unselfish he didn’t get the balance right in his own performance this season. He’s definitely quick and when you adjust for the fuel loads in qualifying, was often as fast as Lewis, but by carrying a bit more fuel than his team mate, he then found himself behind BMWs and the off Renault on the grid and then couldn’t exploit the pace of the McLaren in the opening stint. So he often fell behind.

However he still have fast enough car to deal with that problem and the fact that more often than not he failed to deal with it, indicates a lack of killer instinct, which ties in with this unselfish team player mentality. Even when running in clear air his race pace could be strangely weak, so that is the key area he will be working on for next season. Renault engineers say he’s definitely got it, but he’s struggled to deliver it consistently.

He did his job this year, he backed up Lewis, didn’t make waves and got himself a win. I expect him to have a much stronger year next year and be consistently on the podium, but that streak of unselfishness is always going to count against him when up against the warriors at the front, like Hamilton, Raikkonen, Alonso and Kubica.

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