Red Bull energy drink titan and F1 team owner Dietrich Mateschitz has died at age 78. The Austrian billionaire co-founded the Red Bull energy drink company in the late '80s, which has dominated the market ever since. Mateschitz has also been a massive figure in Formula 1 for almost two decades, after buying the Jaguar F1 team in 2004 and renaming it Red Bull Racing. Since then, the Red Bull F1 team has gone on to earn 89 race wins, six driver's championships, and four constructor championships, making it one of the most successful modern F1 teams.
Mateschitz's death was confirmed by the Red Bull F1 team yesterday, ahead of the Austin grand prix.
"It is very, very sad," Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told Sky Sports. "What a great man."
Red Bull driver, and 2022 F1 world champion, Max Verstappen told the media in Austin that he was happy Mateschitz was alive to see the both he and the team clinch the driver's championship this year. Verstappen recently clinched his second F1 championship during the Suzuka grand prix, joining Sebastian Vettel as yet another Red Bull driver to win multiple F1 titles.
Mateschitz founded Red Bull after a business trip to Thailand, in which he discovered a local Thai energy drink. He offered to partner with the Yoovidhya family, who created the original Thai drink, to develop a modified version for western markets, now known as Red Bull. Mateschitz went on to become the richest person in Austria, attaining a net worth of around $24.65 billion (25 billion euros). But his legacy in F1 is every bit as impressive, considering the impact his two teams have had during in such a short time.
Not only has the Red Bull team achieved an incredible amount of success but Mateschitz also bought the Minardi team back in 2005, renaming it Toro Rosso, which is now called AlphaTauri. That second team has gone on to become a farm team of sorts, to develop young driver talent for the Red Bull team. Since 2005, the Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri team has brought such drivers as Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, and even Max Verstappen up to Red Bull. Other notable drivers, such as Alex Albon and Carlos Sainz Jr., also drove for Toro Rosso and have since gone on to other F1 teams.
Mateschitz may have made his fortune in energy drinks but he left an indelible mark on Formula 1.