RED BULL founder Dietrich Mateschitz died at the age of 78 after a long illness – and plunges the F1 team into mourning.
The Austrian billionaire businessman, who co-founded the energy drink company in 1984, has seen the company build a top-class sports team around the world.
Mateschitz – who is believed to be worth around £24billion – was a salesman for Blendax toothpaste when on his travels he discovered Krating Daeng, the drink that later became Red Bull.
He owned 49 percent of the energy drinks brand and was the driving force behind her entry into the sport.
Red Bull first entered Formula One in 1995 in partnership with the Sauber F1 team.
In November 2004, Mateschitz bought the Jaguar Racing Team from Ford to form Red Bull Racing.
In January of that year, he appointed Christian Horner to lead the team, becoming the youngest team boss at the time.
Horner said: “It’s very, very sad, what a great man. He is unique. What he has achieved and done for so many people around the world is second to none.”
Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali said in a statement: “I am deeply saddened by the news that Dietrich Mateschitz, a most respected and beloved member of the Formula 1 family, has passed away.
“He was an incredibly visionary entrepreneur and a man who helped change the sport and created the Red Bull brand that is known around the world.
“I will miss him greatly, 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.”
Red Bull has won six Drivers’ Championships and can wrap up a fifth Constructors’ Championship this weekend in Austin.
Mateschitz also played a key role in Red Bull’s expansion into football.
He founded RB Leipzig in 2009 and has seen the German team become regulars in the Champions League after rapid promotion.
Austrian team Red Bull Salzburg, New York Red Bulls MLS franchise and Brazilian team Red Bull Bragantino are also part of the company’s portfolio.
Mateschitz also founded the German ice hockey Red Bull Munich.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6505423/dietrich-mateschitz-dead-red-bull-f1/ Dietrich Mateschitz dead at 78: billionaire Red Bull F1 boss and RB Leipzig founder dies after a long illness