AUSTIN, Texas –
Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, the co-founder of power drink firm Red Bull and founder and owner of the Red Bull Formula One racing workforce, has died. He was 78.
Officials with the Red Bull racing workforce at the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, introduced Mateschitz’s loss of life Saturday. There was no rapid phrase the place he died, or a reason for loss of life.
Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of motor sports activities governing physique FIA, stated Mateschitz was “a towering determine in motor sport.”
“The ideas of all of the FIA household are together with his family members at this time and he can be enormously missed.”
Mateschitz gained fame as the general public face of Red Bull, an Austrian-Thai conglomerate that claims it bought practically 10 billion cans of its caffeine and taurine-based drink in 172 nations worldwide final 12 months.
Mateschitz not solely helped the power drink turn into common world wide, but additionally constructed up a sports activities, media, actual property and gastronomy empire across the model.
With the rising success of Red Bull, he considerably expanded his investments in sports activities, particularly motorsports and excessive sports activities, and Red Bull now operates soccer golf equipment, ice hockey groups and F1 racing groups. Red Bull additionally has contracts with a whole bunch of athletes in numerous sports activities and a deep driver growth program to get racers to the highest stage.
“It’s been exhausting information for everybody — what he has meant for Red Bull, and naturally the game, and particularly for me,” stated Max Verstappen, who wrapped up his second consecutive F1 title two weeks in the past.
Verstappen on Sunday at Circuit of the Americas will attempt to tie Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel with an F1-record 13 victories in a season, and he’ll additionally try and clinch the constructors championship for Red Bull.
“What he has finished for me, my profession to date, and generally my life, it is actually powerful, it is a actually powerful day,” Verstappen stated. “There’s nonetheless a race forward and we will attempt to make him proud tomorrow.”
Mateschitz and Thai investor Chaleo Yoovidhya based the corporate in 1984 after Mateschitz acknowledged the potential in advertising and marketing Krating Daeng — one other power drink created by Chaleo — for a western viewers. Red Bull says Mateschitz labored on the formulation for 3 years earlier than the modified drink was launched below its new identify in his native Austria in 1987.
Under Mateschitz’ stewardship, Red Bull rapidly elevated its market share, first in Europe, then within the United States, helped by advertising and marketing campaigns selling the drink’s claimed stimulating properties and in depth sponsorship agreements in motorsports, soccer, excessive sports activities and the music business.
The Red Bull Racing workforce has loved success in Formula 1, successful the constructors’ championship in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, whereas German driver Vettel gained 4 drivers’ championships in row whereas signed to the workforce.
Verstappen began in Red Bull’s driver growth program and have become the youngest driver in F1 historical past to begin a grand prix when he began with the junior Toro Rosso workforce at age 17 in 2015. The Dutchman is now essentially the most dominant driver within the sport.
“So many people need to be so grateful to him for the alternatives he is supplied and the imaginative and prescient he had, the energy of character, and by no means being afraid to comply with desires, and chase desires. That’s what he did right here in F1, proving which you could make a distinction,” Red Bull workforce principal Christian Horner advised Sky Sports F1.
“We’re simply extremely grateful for him, all the pieces that he is finished, all the pieces that he is supported us with through the years,” Horner added. “So many drivers, so many workforce members, so many individuals on this pit lane owe him a lot. He was extremely happy with the workforce, extremely happy with all the pieces we have finished and have been reaching, and he is been a passionate supporter and the spine of all the pieces that we do.”
Red Bull operates soccer groups in high divisions throughout Austria, Germany, Brazil and the United States. The firm began by shopping for Austrian membership SV Austria Salzburg in 2005 and rebranding it within the firm colours below the identify Red Bull Salzburg.
It repeated the transfer in Germany, the place it purchased fifth-tier membership SSV Markranst├ñdt in 2009, rebranded it as RasenBallsport Leipzig, and financed its regular progress by way of the league system until it was promoted to the Bundesliga in 2016. German league rules prevented the corporate from naming the workforce Red Bull Leipzig — its identify in German, RasenBallsport, means “grass ball sport Leipzig” however the membership simply refers to itself as RB Leipzig.
Mateschitz additionally made headlines for his populist views. He beforehand criticized German chancellor Angela Merkel for her dealing with of the refugee disaster over 2015-16. The Austrian Servus TV station, owned by Red Bull Media House GmbH, is understood for selling right-wing provocative views.
Mateschitz purchased the Jaguar Racing workforce from earlier owner Ford at the tip of 2004 and rebranded it as Red Bull for the 2005 season. (*78*) that 12 months, he then additionally purchased Minardi and renamed it Toro Rosso, astutely utilizing it as a feeder workforce for Red Bull.
Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer and Associated Press Sports Writer Jerome Pugmire contributed to this report.