On Saturday, October 22, Dietrich Mateschitz died at age 78. As the co-founder of energy drink company Red Bull and the founder/owner of Red Bull Racing’s Formula 1 team, the Austrian billionaire has had a truly incredible impact on the sporting world. Currently, there is no further information on his death, Associated Press reports.
Red Bull was originally launched in 1987. From there, Mateschitz was integral in the unique marketing of the brand, which has established its legacy as a huge influencer in athletics around the world. Available in 172 countries, Red Bull is a sponsor of athletes from various disciplines, though for our purposes here at Jalopnik, we’re primarily concerned with the motorsport side of things.
In 2004, Red Bull purchased the Jaguar Formula 1 team, followed by Minardi the following year. The former became what we know as Red Bull, while the latter became Toro Rosso and subsequently AlphaTauri. He also purchased a track formerly known as the Österreichring in Spielberg, Austria; Red Bull’s financing enabled the historic track to complete necessary upgrades and return to the F1 circuit.
As a team, Red Bull has won four World Constructors’ Championships between 2010 and 2013, and it has helped both Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen score a total of six World Drivers’ Championships throughout the years. When the news of Mateschitz’s death hit the racing world on Saturday, Red Bull Racing was once again on the cusp of clinching a Constructors’ title, which they succeeded at on Sunday.
“It’s been hard news for everyone — what he has meant for Red Bull, and of course the sport, and especially for me,’’ Verstappen said of Mateschitz’s passing. “What he has done for me, my career so far, and in general my life, it’s really tough, it’s a really tough day. There’s still a race ahead, and we’re going to try to make him proud tomorrow.’’
Further, Red Bull has developed a young driver academy that has enabled multiple promising talents to make it into the higher disciplines of racing, be it Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar, or endurance racing. Mateschitz was integral to the growth of all of these programs, and his presence in the paddock will be missed by many.