After watching the entire F1 2021 season and all seasons of Drive to Survive, you’ll know how difficult it is to be an F1 team principal. The pressure they go through in and out of the track is incredible! But, what do they really do?
An F1 team principal’s job is to lead the team in every department and shape its public image. Every department’s chief has to inform the team principal about everything going on, and the team principal must provide the public with a good image of the team.
I’d hoped that it’s as simple as it sounds, but it isn’t. So, let’s take a closer look at what an F1 team principal does, as well as how much they earn.
Who Are the F1 Principals?
I’ve included a list of F1’s team principals in 2022 below.
|Toto Wolff||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team|
|Christian Horner||Red Bull Racing|
|Mattia Binotto||Scuderia Ferrari|
|Andreas Seidl||McLaren F1 Team|
|Otmar Szafnauer||Alpine F1 Team|
|Mike Krack||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team|
|Franz Tost||Scuderia AlphaTauri|
|Frederic Vasseur||Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN|
|Jost Capito||Williams Racing|
|Guenther Steiner||Haas F1 Team|
What Do F1 Team Principals Do
An F1 team principal is responsible for coordinating the entire F1 team. This includes managing every department, keeping the drivers happy, negotiating contracts with drivers, attending many PR events, and much more.
Outside the Track
A team principal will act as a jack of all trades, meaning that they’re not experts on anything, but they do everything quite well. That’s why most teams have separate coordinators for every department. For example, Red Bull’s Adrian Newey is the Chief Technical Officer, while Christian Horner is the team principal.
But, a team principal’s job isn’t only about the car’s development. Along with the drivers, they’re the ones to present the team to the public. A charismatic team principal will bring a positive reputation to the team, resulting in more sponsors. And more sponsors means more money to develop the car.
That said, a team principal doesn’t only act outside the track. They’re a vital part of each race, and you’ll usually see them screaming into their microphones.
During a Race
While a team principal won’t provide the best racing strategies, they’ll be the ones who have the last say. Most of the time, team principals check all the performance graphs during a race, while they also communicate with the team at the factory and the race engineers.
On top of this, the team principal can communicate with the drivers directly by giving them team orders or encouraging them to go faster.
Also, until 2021, team principals could communicate with the race director. But, after the fiasco at the end of the 2021 F1 season, the FIA decided to revert this rule and not allow the principals to speak with the race director during a race.
Like any sports manager, F1 team principals have to allocate the team’s earnings accordingly. So, they’ll need some knowledge of economics. And with that, I’m 100% sure that I’d be the worst team principal.
Simply put, a team principal has to manage the entire team inside and outside the track. This means that they’ll need to know everything about the sport and be able to coordinate the chiefs of every department accordingly.
Do F1 Team Principals Own Their Team
One misconception about F1 team principals is that they’re also the owners of the team they’re managing. While there are some exceptions to this, most F1 team principals don’t own their team; they’re simply managing every aspect of it.
But, there are a few prime examples of team owners who were also team principals. The first names that come to my mind are Frank Williams and Alain Prost.
Frank Williams owned Williams Racing, which bore his name. Sir Frank was the team principal for Williams for 43 years (1977-2020), and he’s considered one of the best F1 team managers. He managed to secure nine constructor’s championships during his 43-year stint.
Alain Prost, a 4-time F1 World Champion, also ran as team principal with a team that bore his name from 1997-to 2001. A few notable World Champions who did the same were Jackie Stewart and Jack Brabham, who acted as team principals and owned their teams.
F1 drivers and team principals weren’t earning much back in those times. That’s not the same today.
How Much Do F1 Team Principals Earn
The salaries of F1 team managers are a well-kept secret. But, some team principals are known for having substantial net worths and sizable salaries.
Most estimates suggest that F1 team principals earn between $1-$10 million yearly. The majority of team managers make between $1-$5 million, depending on the team they’re managing.
That said, a few reports have mentioned that the best-paid F1 team principal in the 2022 season is Christian Horner (Red Bull), who earns approximately $10 million. In second place comes Toto Wolff (Mercedes), who makes $8 million. However, you should take these numbers with a pinch of salt since they’re only estimates.
There’s no doubt that Christian Horner and Toto Wolff also have the highest net worth out of all the team principals. Red Bull’s manager has a net worth of $50 million, while Toto Wolff has an estimated net worth of over $500 million and a one-third stake in Mercedes.
F1 team principals work as hard as any other person in an F1 team. While most of them don’t own their teams, there have been instances in F1’s history when a team manager was also the owner. And, they earn a pretty good salary compared to the rest of the team.
Stay tuned for more articles just like this one!
FAQs for F1 Team Principals
Who Is the F1 Boss?
The current F1 boss is Stefano Domenicali, the former Lamborghini CEO. He became the CEO of Formula One Group in 2021.