If the reports are true, that would make Vettel (pictured above with his assumed new teammate Kimi Raikkonen) the highest-salaried sportsman in the world. Compared to Vettel's rumored $80 million/year, soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo was paid $52 million last year and NFL quarterback Matt Ryan got $42 million, just ahead of soccer player Lionel Messi at $41.7 million. Boxer Floyd Mayweather was reportedly paid a whopping $100 million last year, but that's based on how many fights he fights and wins, putting him on a different earnings spectrum.
Those figures are also just for salaries, and do not include sponsorship and endorsement deals – and therein may lie part of the reason for Vettel's reportedly stratospheric salary. In addition to his salary from the Red Bull team with which he's won four World Championships, Vettel also pulls in a large retainer from Infiniti, which sponsors both the team and himself personally. In departing Red Bull, he'd undoubtedly have to sever the tie with Infiniti as well.
F1 teams seldom disclose their finances, though, so we may never know for sure. But the mooted figures would positively eclipse all previous reported records. Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton were reportedly the highest-paid drivers this season at about $27.5 million apiece, but even the $31 million which Vettel's mentor, hero and countryman Michael Schumacher was paid each year by Ferrari during the height of their partnership a decade ago still comes nowhere near what Vettel looks to be set to rake in from the same team.