Saturday, December 13, 2014

Daniel Ricciardo to earn millions as Red Bull's new lead driver

Fast-rising Australian  formula one star Daniel Ricciardo is set to earn millions of dollars next year as Red Bull Racing's new lead driver.

Ricciardo, 25, will receive a large pay rise after winning three races and outperforming four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in his first season with RBR.

The grinning West Australian will also get a much bigger salary because he is taking over from Vettel, who has switched to Ferrari.
Fast-rising Australian  formula one star Daniel Ricciardo is set to earn millions of dollars next year

Ricciardo, who lives in the tiny tax haven of Monaco, returned to Australia last week and is now with his family in Perth, where he will stay until early in the New Year.

He is likely to have his fee bumped from just over $1 million to more than $2 million next year — plus millions more if he wins the F1 world championship.

Bonuses for more race wins would also add to his earnings, giving him the potential to bank several million.

But Ricciardo, who will only admit to getting "a little bit of a pay rise", will still be one of the lowest-earning drivers on the F1 grid.

His basic pay this year was reportedly $1.1 million, although with bonuses for his victories and five other top-three placings, he is understood to have received another $2 million.

Ranked 15th in earnings among the 22 drivers this season, he is still likely to be outside the top 10 in 2015 with a salary dwarfed by the established superstars.

Former double world champion Fernando Alonso and Vettel reportedly were on $33.2 million each this year, with Mercedes' newly crowned world-title-winner Lewis Hamilton next on $30.1 million.

Vettel is replacing Alonso at Ferrari in a multi-year deal thought to be worth even more annually and Alonso is unlikely to have taken a pay cut in his move to McLaren-Honda for at least two years.

Hamilton will probably get more to defend his F1 crown, which will increase his leverage as he negotiates a renewal with Mercedes for 2016 and beyond.

Asked if he will be paid more next year, Ricciardo said: "Yeah, I should be. I should get a little bit of a pay rise, so we'll see how much that ends up being." Although he is downplaying the pay rise, he admitted that he has a privileged lifestyle.

"On average, most of us (F1 drivers) are earning a pretty good wage but the best thing is if you can make a living out of what you love," he said. "If that's what you love doing and you're getting paid to live your dream or do your dream job, then that's good, and I think that's the most important thing."

Ricciardo also knows that if he leads Red Bull Racing back into world title contention, the mega-millions will follow.

He will be team's senior driver when the 2015 F1 season kicks off with the Australian GP at Albert Park on March 15, joined by Russian young gun Daniil Kvyat, a fellow graduate of RBR's Toro Rosso junior team.

But Ricciardo revealed that he and 20-year-old Kvyat will start the year with equal status.

"All it really means for me is I'm the older guy now but the team have been pretty specific that there's no leader," he said. "I guess whoever's getting the results on track, then that's the way you become a leader.

"But I'm not going to take Daniil lightly. Obviously, he's a fair bit younger and he has, I think, a lot of raw speed. We'll see what he brings to the table."

According to Ricciardo, there is only one way for him to improve next season: "Hold a bigger trophy at the end of it. I feel I did everything I could this year, so if I could repeat 2014, I don't think I could top it.

"But for the future, just try and get that world title. That's what I want."

Ricciardo will stay in Perth for Christmas and New Year before returning early next month to begin preparations for next season. He will start testing a virtual version of the new Red Bull-Renault RB11 racer on the team's simulator in mid-January before the first pre-season track test in early February.