Red Bull founder and owner Dietrich Mateschitz has died aged 78.
Mateschitz was an influential Austrian businessman who founded the energy drink company and then brought it into Formula 1 with huge success, winning four consecutive double world titles from 2010 to 2013.
His passing, which comes after a battle with a long illness, was confirmed just before qualifying for the United States GP, with a grim Red Bull squad apparently breaking the news together in the paddock.
“It’s very, very sad,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “What a great man.
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner pays tribute to Dietrich Mateschitz.
“We are incredibly grateful to him for everything he has done, everything he has supported us with over the years and so many drivers, so many team members, so many people in this pitlane owe him so much.
“It’s important that we celebrate and recognize the contribution he made. Quite a remarkable man, an inspiration and to whom we owe so much.”
Max Verstappen, after qualifying third, added: “It was bad news, I think, for everyone.
“What he has meant for Red Bull but also for the sport and especially what he has done for me in terms of my career so far and my life in general.”
Mateschitz, after discovering an energy drink on a trip to Thailand, launched the Red Bull brand in 1984 and established it as a global market leader before bringing sports success into the 21st century.
Red Bull entered Formula 1 with Sauber before buying the Jaguar team in 2004 and renaming it Red Bull Racing. He then bought Minardi a year later, which became a Red Bull junior team at Toro Rosso, and is now called AlphaTauri.
Martin Brundle, Simon Lazenby and Danica Patrick pay tribute to Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
Mateschitz has also acquired football clubs in particular, with the Austrian team Red Bull Salzburg, New York Red Bull (USA) and RB Leipzig (Germany) acquired by Red Bull.
Red Bull has enjoyed success in all formats, especially in F1.
Max Verstappen has paid tribute to Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, who died aged 78.
The team took its first victory in 2009 and its first titles a year later, as Sebastian Vettel took the drivers’ crown and Red Bull won the constructors’ title.
Red Bull went on to win the next three championships and have remained one of F1’s top teams ever since. Max Verstappen ended a drivers’ crown drought in 2021 and claimed it again this season, and the team is likely to wrap up the constructors’ title at the United States GP this weekend.
“He’s rare,” added Horner. “What he has achieved and what he has done for so many people, in different sports, is second to none.
“Many of us must be so grateful to him for the opportunities he provided for us, for the vision he had, the strength of character and never being afraid to follow your dreams and pursue your dreams. .
“That’s what he’s done here in Formula 1, proving you can make a difference.”
Tributes pour in for Mateschitz
“It’s really sad news,” said Sky Sports F1 pundit Martin Brundle. “He was a wonderful man for motorsport. He loved motorsport.
“He has been incredibly generous and incredibly good for motorsport and motorsport has also been good for the Red Bull brand.
“He was a very charming man, a very private man too.
“He never wanted to be in the spotlight, he always wanted to be behind the scenes but wow, he’s achieved a lot in his life.”
Formula 1 chief Stefano Domenicali said: “I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of Dietrich Mateschitz, a hugely respected and much loved member of the Formula 1 family.
“He was an incredibly visionary entrepreneur and a man who helped transform our sport and create the world famous Red Bull brand.
“I will miss him dearly, as will the entire Formula 1 community, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and the Red Bull and AlphaTauri teams at this very sad time.”
Explain Mateschitz’s huge impact on the sport
Sky Sports News reporter Craig Slater
“F1 was very close to his heart. He took a narrow and hands-on approach [approach]although you don’t often see him in the Formula 1 paddock.
“There have been rumors of his ill health for several weeks now and it’s sad to have it confirmed now that he’s passed away. Absolutely you find it hard to put in correct terminology the contribution he made in Formula 1 over the last decade and a half.
Craig Slater discusses the contribution and impact of Red Bull Formula 1 co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz, who died aged 78.
“We could talk about his wider sporting contribution, a big impact on European and North American football, New York Red Bull, RB Leipzig, Red Bull Salzburg, ice hockey teams as well. I visited Red Bull Salzburg a few years ago and there was the same attention to detail in terms of recruiting young talent and looking after them properly is very evident in this football team as well as in its F1 operation Incredible academy, he linked up with local schools to ensure that anyone who passed through got a good education as well as an opportunity in sports as well.
“An interesting individual on a personal level, a private man. He had this slightly eccentric, adventurous billionaire feeling about his character. He had a lot of interests.
“He put the Red Bull racing team on a solid footing. They are financially self-sufficient. I think they will carry on and be able to maintain the level of success they have achieved even now that the owner has passed away.
“Sometimes there is anxiety about an individual ‘sporting their toy’. We hear a lot about that. In the case of Dietrich Mateschitz, that couldn’t be further from the truth or of the reality he brought to the sport.
“He has been a benefactor who has thought very carefully about what he does in every project he has started, he has allowed him to have a foundation that will allow him to continue even after the direct financial contributions he has made will not continue.
“A very benign force, I think, in European and global sport. He will be greatly missed at Red Bull.”