Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder of Red Bull and owner of the Formula 1 team, has died at the age of 78.
The Austrian businessman had been suffering from a long illness and his passing was confirmed by the Sky F1 presentation team, who were standing outside the Red Bull hospitality unit at the United States Grand Prix.
It was apparent something serious had occurred when Red Bull boss Christian Horner called every member of the team working at the Circuit of The Americas together for a meeting, all of whom were seen with glum faces.
The news was then confirmed in the build-up to the qualifying session for round 19 of the 2022 World Championship.
Towards the end of 2004, Mateschitz bought the Jaguar F1 team, rebranded it as Red Bull and went on to see his drivers win six individual World Championships and four – surely soon to be five – Constructors’ titles.
Williams Racing is very sad to learn of the passing of Dietrich Mateschitz. We are sending our thoughts and condolences to his family and friends and everyone at the Red Bull and Red Bull Racing family at this time. pic.twitter.com/PDuoTzbUIJ
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) October 22, 2022
Paying tribute to Mateschitz, Sky F1’s Martin Brundle said: “It’s really sad news – a wonderful man for motorsport.
“He started really struggling in business, selling toothpaste over in Asia and then found this amazing drink, brought it back to Europe and grew it into the mighty business it is.
“He loved motorsport, went with Gerhard Berger in the beginning, couldn’t afford to pay him any money but there was product around and he wore a red bull on his T-shirt and his race overalls.
“He grew it into the Red Bull Racing team, Toro Rosso as it was, AlphaTauri as it is now, the race track in Austria (Red Bull Ring) and so much more – Red Bull turns up everywhere in the world of motorsport.
“He’s been incredibly generous and incredibly good to motorsport, motorsport’s been good to the Red Bull brand as well.
“He’s been unwell for some time, he was a lovely man as well – a very private man, you’ll find hardly any interviews with him anywhere and certainly not in the world of Formula 1. He never wanted to be in the spotlight at all. He always wanted to be behind the scenes.
“But wow, did he achieve a lot in his life.”
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali issued a statement that read: “I am deeply saddened by the news that Dietrich Mateschitz, a hugely respected and much-loved member of the Formula 1 family, has passed away.
“He was an incredibly visionary entrepreneur and a man who helped to transform our sport and created the Red Bull brand that is known all around the world.
“I will miss him greatly, as will the whole community in Formula 1, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and the Red Bull and AlphaTauri teams at this very sad time.”
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