News of Bottas going to Alfa Romeo have started to crop up from every nook and corner of the internet for the past couple of days. Reports of Mercedes making a deal with Alfa so Bottas does not create ruckus is also being written. A talented driver in the form of Bottas could certainly make the Italian team leapfrog into the midtable. There is however one doubt that I cannot seem to get past. Can Alfa Romeo afford Kimi Raikonnen and Valteri Bottas?
Mathematics of Salaries
Formula 1 is a very costly sport. The latest example of which comes from the British GP. The Verstappen crash is reported to have cost Red Bull $2.4 million. You can buy a Buggati for that price! Only a handful of teams like Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari can comfortably afford crashes like these. For others, it’s always a stretch. Given Alfa Romeo are a lower mid-table team with a limited budget, buying two of the highest-paid drivers certainly seems like a dream too far fetched.
Though there is no clear data of Formula 1 driver’s earnings, Hamilton and Verstappen comfortably sit at the top with $55 million and $25 million salaries. They also get bonuses of $11 million and $22 million respectively to take the tally at $62 million and $42 million. None of the other drivers come close to matching the earning of Hamilton and Verstappen.
Alfa Romeo currently pay Kimi Raikkonen $10 million and Antonio Giovinazzi $1 million. If Bottas goes to Alfa Romeo next year, he would certainly ask them to match his current salary if not increase it. He currently gets paid $10 million. If Alfa Romeo match it, they would have to almost double the salary given to their drivers from $11 million to $20 million. I am not sure if they can afford it!
Contract expiry could pave the way
One way Bottas could switch to Alfa Romeo is if they turn down Kimi’s contract extension. Kimi Raikkonen has a contract of 2 years that he signed in 2018. The contract is ending in December 2021, something that could open a channel for the signing of Bottas. If Alfa let go of Kimi then they could sign Bottas, but certainly not both of them together.
There is still a long way to go before the start of next season. With Russel looming over Mercedes, Bottas’s movement would be monitored by man teams on the grid given he is a talented and experienced driver.