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F1 | Dietrich Mateschitz, owner and co-founder of Red Bull, passes away aged 78

Co-founder and owner of the Red Bull brand, Dietrich Mateschitz has passed away on Saturday, October 22nd 2022, at the age of 78. Mateschitz was instrumental in founding the brand of energy drinks Red Bull and getting it incorporated in several sports, including Formula One, and proved very successful and intelligent businessman.

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F1 | Dietrich Mateschitz, owner and co-founder of Red Bull, passes away aged 78
Fuente imagen: Formula1.com

Red Bull announced just before qualifying for this weekend’s United States GP that Dietrich Mateschitz passed away at the age of 78.

Mateschitz was key in the foundation of the Red Bull brand and subsequently its involvement in the sports scene, including Formula One and other forms of motorsports – something which he was the one mainly responsible for.

The Austrian began his career with a marketing degree at the Vienna University of Economics and Business in 1972, before working on industries across Europe. He discovered the drink Krating Daeng whilst travelling for work, and fascinated by the energy drink, he got to work and partnered with its founder Chaleo Yoovidhya, as each held a stake of 49% of the drinks company, which would later become Red Bull.

He first entered Red Bull in F1 through Sauber in the mid-1990s, before purchasing Jaguar Racing at the end of 2004 and turning it into the now famous Red Bull Racing team for the 2005 F1 season. He also bought Minardi a year later in collaboration with Gerhard Berger, turning it into Toro Rosso for the 2006 season.

The two teams would prove very capable and are on the Formula One grid to this day, with Red Bull Racing winning four constructors’ titles (and on the brink of a fifth this weekend) and six drivers’ championships, four with Sebastian Vettel and two with current Red Bull star Max Verstappen. Toro Rosso  was, for many years, the junior team, preparing drivers for the main Red Bull seat, and it became AlphaTauri in 2020. The team scored two victories in its guises, both at Monza, with Sebastian Vettel in 2008 and Pierre Gasly in 2020.

Speaking on the matter after qualifying for the US GP, Verstappen has paid tribute to Mateschitz’s contributions to the sport and to his career:

“It’s been hard news for everyone. I think what he has meant for of course for Red Bull, but also for the sport - and especially also for me, what he has done for me in general in my career so far, and in general in my life.

“[It’s] really tough, it’s a very tough day. We tried to of course give it everything today in qualifying, unfortunately we missed out [on pole position] by a little bit, but there’s still a race ahead of course and we’re gonna try to make him proud tomorrow,” Verstappen concluded.

Christian Horner, Red Bull’s team principal has also paid his tributes to the “remarkable man” that was Mateschitz, praising him as an inspirational figure and his achievements with the Red Bull company, not only on track but as a business in general:

“Desperately sad news that we’ve learned of the passing of Dietrich [Mateschitz],” said Horner. “He’s a remarkable man. What he’s done for so many – not just in Formula One, but also in the Red Bull business, in the Red Bull world, across all the sporting platforms.

“He was a man that inspired so much, and he is the reason that we are here. It was his passion for Formula One and his vision that is the reason that he has two teams in the Formula One pit lane. He was always enthusiastic, encouraging, supportive, in the good days and the bad days. So many owe him so much, and I feel privileged to have known him.

“For the whole team now, despite the shock, we’re gonna do exactly what he would’ve wanted, which is to go out there and with his cars, do the very best that we can to try and close this constructors’ championship down.

“It’s important that we recognize everything that he’s contributed to the sport, and not just to the sport, it goes way, way beyond that.”

Horner said one the biggest memories and how he will remember Dietrich by will be his motivational side and the impact he made on many people’s lives, and said the team will “give it everything” on track this weekend in his honour:

“He’s inspirational. He gave me a chance as a young guy, and he inspires so many others. He gave so many people an opportunity and he encouraged you to [know that] nothing is impossible, that nothing is unsurpassable, and to follow your dreams.

“He was a fan of Formula One and he was hugely proud of everything that we’ve done. The big thing for him now is he’d wanna see us go out there, and give it everything, and we’ll be doing that today for him,” Horner concluded.

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