Verstappen: Qualifying result doesn’t matter after news of Mateschitz’s death

2022 United States Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen qualified second for the United States Grand Prix but said the result is of secondary importance following the death of his Red Bull team’s founder.

Dietrich Mateschitz passed away earlier today at the age of 78 his team confirmed. The news was announced less than an hour before qualifying began at the Circuit of the Americas.

“For us it was a tough entry to qualifying,” Verstappen admitted. “And then you don’t really care about the result as well, it doesn’t matter. Because it’s way more about what happened today and also what he has meant to everyone within the team, the whole team what he has built up in Formula 1, the company itself Red Bull, and personally to me.”

Mateschitz took over two teams, Red Bull and AlphaTauri, and their F1 Junior Team began supporting Verstappen in 2014. They brought him into F1 the following year and Verstappen won his first of two championships for them last season.

“Without them, I wouldn’t be sitting here today and I wouldn’t have had the success I’ve had,” said Verstappen. “So it’s incredibly tough for everyone in the team.

“Luckily I got to see him a couple of weeks back so we could spend a little bit of time together. But it’s still a tough day.”

Although Mateschitz only made occasional visits to the paddock to support his team, Verstappen described him as a passionate fan of motor racing.

“For me Dietrich was always super-kind and caring and he didn’t like to be in the foreground,” he said. “He always was there but he didn’t want to be in front of the cameras.

“When you get to know him more personally, he’s super-nice. He was a big race fan, but I think the commitment he has shown to Formula 1 and basically have two Formula 1 teams is incredible.

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“Also the amount of young talent he has supported throughout all these years. Especially from my side, to believe in me from such a young age and also really see that relationship grow, year after year, was very special.

“I will forever remember the final visit I had with him, what we talked about, and just the time we spent during that day for me was at the time already very, very special. But it’s definitely even more special now.”

Carlos Sainz Jnr, who was also supported by Red Bull in his junior career, also praised Mateschitz’s contribution to motor sport.

“I would like to send my condolences to his family and to the whole Red Bull family because I knew Dietrich quite a lot and I’ve been also helped by his support in the past,” he said. “I wouldn’t have reached Formula 1 without him.

“The amount of things that he’s done for motorsport, not only Formula 1 and young drivers, but if you think about how many Red Bull logos are out there in all the categories from Moto GP, to F1, to all the sports that you can think about and how he has supported young talent, how many people have been supported by him and by his vision, by his idea is crazy.

“I think he is a super-important guy, a super nice guy, a guy that I always enjoy being around and from here, I want to send my condolences and rest in peace.”

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2022 United States Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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9 comments on “Verstappen: Qualifying result doesn’t matter after news of Mateschitz’s death”

  1. Now, what happened in Japan starts to make more sense. It wasn’t all about pleasing fom pleasing Honda.

    1. farfetched, to say the least

      1. Far fetched, but I wouldn’t put my hand on fire on either option, I’d give it a 50-50 that they could be doing on purpose to seal the title in time vs it being a coincidence.

    2. @peartree. This kind of comment shows that many have no grasp of what Formula 1 is about. Conspiracy theories are way more popular than fan’s talking about the sport they love so much..

      1. Welcome to the Netflix era

      2. Surely it just shows that the author “has no grasp”

    3. @marcusaurelius @esploratore1
      I don’t get why you are doubtful, it is a much more understandable reason to justify why fom and the fia went out of their way to sow up the inevitable at suzuka.

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