The 2023 F1 season was known for the dominance of Max Verstappen and Red Bull, as the Dutchman clinched a third drivers’ world title after winning a record-breaking 19 of 22 grands prix.
He and Red Bull won both championships with six grands prix to spare, yet the rest of the positions were closely fought as many were still up for grabs in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale. This meant teams had millions of dollars at stake in Abu Dhabi with their finishing position potentially having a big impact for 2024 and beyond.
Mercedes and Ferrari were tight in battle for second, Aston Martin was trying to regain fourth from McLaren, while Williams, AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo and Haas all squabbled over the bottom four positions.
Alpine was the only other constructor to have secured their finishing position in advance of Abu Dhabi, as the sixth-placed team were 153 points behind Aston Martin in fifth but 92 ahead of seventh-placed Williams before the final weekend.
Even though F1’s exact prize money split is secret, it is possible to gain a good estimate of how much each position is worth using information in the public domain. As per the Concorde Agreement, the contract which governs the series, the team prize pot makes up 50% of F1’s commercial rights profit.
But teams do not always get 50% as after a certain point of revenue, it is understood Formula One Management’s percentage share increases. So in 2022, for example, the prize pot was $1.157 billion after F1 generated revenues of $2.57 billion, which equates to roughly 45%.
Those payments are also not shared equally. Ferrari receive an extra payment, believed to be 5% of the prize pot, for its historical significance as the Italian outfit has competed in every F1 season since 1950.
Other teams receive more money for past successes like winning the championship. So, it is estimated that bonus payments account for around 25% leaving the rest for 10 teams to split.
F1’s predicted earnings are expected to rise by up to 10% which means team payments will total around $1.25-1.3 billion, so the following numbers are estimated based on a $1 billion prize pot.
1st place in F1 Constructors’ Championship - $140 million estimate
Red Bull is understood to earn around $140 million - 14% of the pot and just $5 million more than the 2023 cost cap budget - for winning the 2023 constructors’ championship. It was quite clear from the opening race, where Red Bull scored a 1-2, that the team would be winning this year’s title.
But it's the domination that surprised people, as Red Bull won 21 of 22 grands prix which is the highest win percentage of any team in a season. Yet, how much longer this dominance can go on for is up in the air after Red Bull breached the 2021 cost cap rules.
As a result the team was given a 10% reduction on wind tunnel testing for 2023, plus a $7 million fine, the full extent of which Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes is yet to be seen.
2nd place in F1 Constructors’ Championship - $131 million estimate
Mercedes has pocked an estimated $131 million of the prize pot for finishing second in the constructors’ championship. It was a very tight battle with Ferrari as three points separated the two teams, yet it was Mercedes’ greater reliability which proved to be the difference.
Although neither of them want to be fighting over runner-up in the long term, clinching second could prove crucial for Mercedes’ future title-winning ambitions given the money at stake.
3rd place in F1 Constructors’ Championship - $122 million estimate
Ferrari was the only team other than Red Bull to have won a grand prix during the 2023 season - Carlos Sainz took victory in Singapore - yet Mercedes pipped them for second. Poor luck was a problem for the Scuderia as Charles Leclerc could not start the Brazilian GP due to a hydraulics fault, while Sainz was also unable to start the Qatar GP because of a fuel leak.
Had those problems - plus more - not struck, then the championship picture could have looked a lot different and as a result, Ferrari will receive an estimated $122 million in prize money.
4th place in F1 Constructors’ Championship - $113 million estimate
McLaren made a remarkable turnaround in 2023 and will now receive $113 million in prize money because of it. The British outfit finished fourth despite starting 2023 as a backmarker where they scored zero points in the opening two grands prix after being well off the pace.
Mid-season upgrades then drastically changed the course of their campaign as McLaren scored nine podiums, including a sprint race victory for Oscar Piastri in Qatar, after the major updates were introduced in Austria.
5th place in F1 Constructors’ Championship - $104 million estimate
Aston Martin will receive its biggest haul of prize money yet for finishing fifth in the championship. Before this season, Aston Martin failed to finish above seventh in the standings since their rebranding from Racing Point in 2021, which makes 2023 its most successful season to date.
They began the year with six podiums in eight grands prix which had Aston Martin third in the championship. Other teams then caught up after upgrades though and just two podiums in the final 14 grands prix for Aston Martin saw Ferrari and McLaren move above them in the standings.
6th place in F1 Constructors’ Championship - $95 million estimate
Alpine was a strictly middle-of-the-road team in 2023 and they will receive an estimated $95 million for a comfortable sixth-place finish. This is their lowest finishing position since rebranding from Renault for 2021 as they came fifth that year before coming fourth in 2022.
However, this season both drivers have stood on the podium which is something the team failed to do last year so there has still been some positive moments.
7th place in F1 Constructors’ Championship - $87 million estimate
Williams will receive $87 million of the prize pot for finishing seventh in the championship, which marks a stark improvement for the team. The British outfit finished last in four of the five seasons prior to 2023, but a more competitive car saw Williams score its highest points tally (28) in a single campaign since 2017.
And the money they will receive for doing such a thing is perhaps more important to Williams than other constructors. They do not have a big name manufacturer behind its operation, so budgets are more restricted for independent teams like Williams which means finishing seventh should make its finances more secure.
8th place in F1 Constructors’ Championship - $78 million estimate
It was a turbulent year for AlphaTauri with four different drivers competing for them at various points in 2023. A strong second half lifted the team up to eighth in the standings, which means they will receive an estimated $78 million.
There was hope of overtaking Williams in Abu Dhabi for an extra $9 million, but Yuki Tsunoda’s eighth-place finish was not enough to overturn AlphaTauri’s seven-point deficit.
9th place in F1 Constructors’ Championship - $69 million estimate
Alfa Romeo will receive around $69 million in prize money for coming ninth, which is their lowest finishing position since 2021. The money will go towards Sauber-run team, as the squad will return to its old name for 2024 because the Alfa Romeo title sponsorship is coming to an end.
10th place in F1 Constructors’ Championship - $60 million estimate
It was not the season Haas hoped for as the American outfit scored 25 points less than 2022. The team scored points in just four grands prix, plus a sprint race, with Nico Hulkenberg’s seventh in Australia contributing to over half of their tally.
As a result, Haas is in for an estimated $60 million of prize money, which is 6% of the pot. Given how restricted Haas is financially, it is the last thing it needs with the team operating on a much lesser budget than competitors.