Red Bull team principal Christan Horner has paid tribute to Dietrich Mateschitz, the founder of the energy drink business and team owner, following his death today.
His passing is “very, very sad,” said Horner, pictured with Mateschitz in 2015. “I mean, what a great man.
“What he achieved and what he’s done for so many people around the world, across the sport, is second to none,” he told Sky. “So many of us have to be so grateful for the opportunities he provided, the vision that he had, the strength of character and never being afraid to follow your dreams and chase your dreams. That’s what he did here in Formula 1, proving that you can make a difference.
“We’re just incredibly grateful for him, everything that he’s done, everything that he’s supported us with over the years. So many drivers, so many team members, so many people in this pit lane owe him so much.”
The news of Mateschitz’s death was announced shortly before qualifying for the United States Grand Prix began at the Circuit of the Americas.
“As he would have wanted, we now head into this qualifying exactly how he would have wanted it to be,” Horner added. “He was passionate about Formula 1, passionate about the team, and our determination is to go and do our best for him today and obviously in the race tomorrow.”
Last year Max Verstappen became their first driver since 2013 to win the world championship, a feat he repeated two weeks ago. “Thankfully he got to see that,” Horner acknowledged.
Red Bull is poised to end its nine-year wait for a constructors’ title this weekend. “He was incredibly proud of the team,” Horner continued, “incredibly proud of everything that we’ve done and have been achieving and he’s been a passionate supporter and the backbone of everything that we do.
“So it’s important that we celebrate and recognise the contribution he has made. Quite a remarkable man, an inspirational individual and one that we owe a huge amount to.”
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali paid his respects to the late Red Bull founder. “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 said.
“He was an incredible, 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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