You may be shocked and startled to find out that Takuma Sato is among the highest-paid drivers in F1. This despite his dismal driving record, reputation as an irresponsible driver, and inability to hold on to his race seat without protection from his patrons at Honda.
Factoring in his salary from perennial backmarkers Super Aguri, plus his sponsorship contracts – which we'd assume would be substantial given Japan's love of F1 and Sato's standing as Japan's premier racing driver – Takuma pulled in an estimated $7.7 million in 2006. His new team-mate at Super Aguri, meanwhile, will be paid about $250,000 – barely a fraction of Sato's earnings.
That kind of dough puts Takuma in the same earning bracket as world champion Fernando Alonso and ahead of his old team-mate Jenson Button, among many, many other well-reputed drivers.
At this point, Autoblog would like to welcome Super Aguri to hire any member of our writing staff. There are several of us who'd be glad to crash a whole bunch of cars for you for a lot less than $7.7 million!