And who else whould the Germans start with if not the 7-time world champion. According to the tabloid, it seems that Schumacher's retainer for the 2010 season – not his entire 3-year deal with Mercedes GP – is no less than EUR25 million, not EUR7 million as initially projected.
Nevertheless, it seems that the German's salary is not paid by the Stuttgart-based carmaker, but by his sponsors. In some recent interviews with the German media, Daimler AG's CEO Dieter Zetsche insisted that his company would not pay that kind of money for fielding Schumacher in the series, while Merc's motorsport director Norbert Haug hinted that the sponsors are the ones who pay for Schu's retainer.
Second on this top is Fernando Alonso, the 2-time world champion that was signed by Ferrari prior to the 2010 season. According to the German reporters, the Oviedo-born driver earns as much as EUR18 million per year, followed by 2008 F1 champion Lewis Hamilton (with EUR16 million). Therefore, we can assume the value of the drivers' retainers is based on the number of titles they have secured in the past.
The other world champion present on the 2010 F1 grid, Jenson Button, is reportedly earning EUR12.5 million per season, only half of million more than Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel. That's pretty impressive for the 22 year old driver, considering that he handles his own business in the series (he never had a manager).
Other drivers that made the Top 10 were Mark Webber (EUR7 million/season) and Nico Rosberg (EUR6 million/year). Personal endorsements were included in the figures mentioned above.