Helmut Marko and Christian Horner mourn the death of Dietrich Mateschitz and take comfort in the fact that he at least witnessed Verstappen’s second World Championship title
The Red Bull team has received the news of Dietrich Mateschitz’s death with great sadness. The founder of the eponymous drinks company and “father” of the Formula One team lost his battle with cancer on Saturday at the age of 78.
“We knew that he was in a very difficult state of health, but nevertheless, now that it has happened, it is unbelievable for all of us that such a great personality has now had to step down so early,” Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko told ‘Sky’.
For team boss Christian Horner, too, it is “very sad news”, as he says. “He was a remarkable man who did a lot for so many, not only in Formula 1 but also in the Red Bull business, in the Red Bull world, on all sports platforms. He was a man who inspired so many. He is the reason we are here. “
Mateschitz had a great passion for sport and created a true empire with his brand, which has also had its own team in Formula 1 since 2005 – and a second since 2006 with Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri).
“His passion for Formula 1 and his vision are the reason why he has two teams in the Formula 1 pit lane. He was always enthusiastic, encouraging and supportive, for better or for worse. So many owe him so much,” Horner continues.
According to Marko, Red Bull’s successes were “all down to him”. “His vision, the trust he put in this team, but also in his other entrepreneurial activities; that reflects a unique personality,” the Austrian pays tribute.
At Red Bull, however, they also know that it would have been in Mateschitz’s interest if they had concentrated on the sporting side of things again. Therefore, they wanted to get back to the essentials before qualifying in Austin.
“I think the whole team will now, despite the shock, do exactly what he would have wanted, which is to do the best they can with their cars and try to win the constructors’ championship,” Horner said. “It’s important that we recognise all that he has contributed to the sport, not just to the sport but far beyond.”
Horner is pleased, however, that Mateschitz was at least able to witness Max Verstappen win his second world championship title a fortnight ago: “He was incredibly proud of the team and everything we achieved. He was a passionate supporter and a backer of everything we do. It’s important that we celebrate and recognise his contribution,” he stresses.
In recent weeks, however, Red Bull has been repeatedly criticised because of the budget limit. But Marko does not believe that the attacks against the team have weighed him down: “They’ve been coming at him constantly throughout his career and he knows how to deal with them,” he waves them off.
Recently, Max Verstappen visited him at Wolfgangsee. “He was really happy about the second world championship title and now we’re going to make sure that we also win the constructors’ title this weekend in his honour.