Dietrich Mateschitz
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Dietrich Mateschitz: Red Bull Co-Owner & Energy Drink Giant Dies Aged 78

Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz, a major global business figure as a result of his energy drinks empire, has died aged 78.

As reported by BBC, Mateschitz was the driving force behind the establishment of what became the global market leader in energy drinks.

He used the fortune created by that to set up a Formula 1 team that has become one of the leading forces in the sport.

“It’s very, very sad, what a great man,” said Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner.

“What he achieved and what he has done for so many people, around the world in different sports, is second to none.”

Speaking to Sky Sports before qualifying at the US Grand Prix on Saturday, moments after Mateschitz’s death was announced, Horner said his team was determined to “do our best for him” in qualifying and in Sunday’s race.

“So many of us have to be so grateful to him for the opportunities he provided and the vision that he had, the strength of character and never being afraid to chase your dreams.

“That’s what he did here in Formula 1, proving that you can make a difference. We’re just incredibly grateful.”

Horner said that “thankfully” Mateschitz got to see Red Bull’s Max Verstappen clinch his second consecutive world title when the Dutch driver won the Japanese Grand Prix two weeks ago.

“He was very proud of the team,” added Horner.

Mateschitz’s death is not thought to threaten the future of Red Bull or its sister team Alpha Tauri.

Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali said he was “deeply saddened” and called Mateschitz “a hugely respected and much-loved member of the Formula 1 family”.

The Italian added: “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.”

From Salesman to Founder of $25bn Drinks Giant

Austrian Mateschitz was a salesman for consumer goods company Procter & Gamble when he discovered Krating Daeng, the drink that would become Red Bull, on his travels in Thailand.

In 1984, he founded Red Bull with the drink’s founder, Thai Chaleo Yoovidhya, and launched the Red Bull brand in 1987, eventually turning it into the world’s biggest energy drink and making himself a fortune estimated at $25bn.

He began to associate the brand with extreme sports such as surfing, cliff diving, winter sports and mountain biking, and Red Bull became involved as a sponsor in many of them.

His involvement in F1 began with the Swiss-based Sauber team, of which Red Bull became a 60% shareholder, before the two parted company following a row over driver choice – Sauber signed the inexperienced Finn Kimi Raikkonen for his debut season in 2001, when Mateschitz wanted him to pick Red Bull protege Enrique Bernoldi.

This article was originally published on BBC.

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