F1 team: Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz dies aged 78

AUSTIN, Texas — Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder of energy drink company Red Bull and founder and owner of Formula One racing team Red Bull, has died at the age of 78.

Officials from the Red Bull racing team at the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, said on Saturday that Mateschitz had died.

There was no immediate information on the place and cause of his death.

International Automobile Federation (FIA) President Mohammed Ben Sulayem said Mateschitz was « a towering figure in motorsport ».

« The thoughts of the entire FIA ​​family are with his loved ones at this time and he will be greatly missed, » he said.

Mateschitz rose to fame as the public face of Red Bull, an Austrian-Thai conglomerate that claims to have sold nearly 10 billion cans of its caffeine and taurine drink in 172 countries last year.

Mateschitz not only helped the energy drink become popular around the world, but he also built a sports, media, real estate and food empire around the brand.

With the growing success of Red Bull, he has greatly expanded his investments in the sport. Red Bull now operates soccer clubs, ice hockey teams and Formula 1 racing teams, and has contracts with hundreds of athletes in various sports.

Mateschitz and Thai investor Chaleo Yoovidhya founded the company in 1984 after Mateschitz recognized the potential of marketing Krating Daeng – another energy drink created by Chaleo – to Western audiences. Red Bull says Mateschitz worked on the product’s formula for three years before the modified drink was launched under its new name in his native Austria in 1987.

Under Mateschitz’s leadership, Red Bull rapidly increased its market share, first in Europe and later in the United States, through marketing campaigns promoting the drink’s stimulating properties and numerous sponsorship deals. in motorsports, soccer, extreme sports and the music industry.

The Red Bull Racing team enjoyed success in Formula 1, winning the Constructors’ Championship in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, while German driver Sebastian Vettel won Drivers’ Championships four times in a row while signing with the ‘crew.

Red Bull also operates soccer teams in top divisions in Austria, Germany, Brazil and the United States. The company started by buying Austrian club SV Austria Salzburg in 2005 and rebranding it in company colors as Red Bull Salzburg.

It did the same again in Germany, where it bought fifth-tier club SSV Markranstädt in 2009, renamed it RasenBallsport Leipzig and funded its steady progression through the league until it was promoted to Bundesliga in 2016. German league regulations prevented the company from naming the team Red Bull Leipzig – its German name, RasenBallsport, means “Leipzig turf ball sport”, but the club simply refers to it – same as RB Leipzig.

Mateschitz also made headlines for his populist views. He has previously criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her handling of the refugee crisis in 2015-2016. Austrian TV channel Servus, owned by Red Bull Media House GmbH, is known for promoting provocative right-wing views.

Mateschitz bought the Jaguar Racing team from former owner Ford in late 2004 and renamed it Red Bull for the 2005 season. Later that year he also bought Minardi and renamed it Toro Rosso , referring to the company logo.

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