Red Bull F1 owner Dietrich Mateschitz dead at 78

The passing of Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz has been confirmed


Motorsport mourns the loss of one of its greatest supporters as Red Bull founder Dietrich “Didi” Mateschitz has lost his battle against a long, serious illness.

Mateschitz succumbed to a serious illness at the age of 78, with reports that Mateschitz was seriously ill circulating in the media at the beginning of October, though nothing was confirmed as the Austrian was a famously private individual. 

But he leaves a legacy of almost 30 years in which the boss of Red Bull supported every conceivable automobile racing series with his beverage company, from Formula 1 to the World Rally Championship, NASCAR and DTM.

It wasn’t just car racing which Red Bull lent their name to MotoGP, the Superbike and Motocross World Championships.

Mateschitz, from Styria, graduated from the University of World Trade in Vienna with a degree in business. He studied for 10 years and in the first two years he focused on shipbuilding, and at the age of 28 he began his marketing career.

Mateschitz earned his living as a marketing manager at Unilever, Jacobs Coffee and at German toothpaste manufacturer Blendax, before he founded Red Bull.

Dietrich Mateschitz presents the Wings for Life number 1 to Daniel Ricciardo during Formula One Winter Testing 2015 | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Founding Red Bull

Mateschitz founded Red Bull in 1987 with Thai businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya after tasting Krating Daeng while working in Thailand as a marketing executive for Blendax.

The group grew from a small business into a global behemoth, with the drink becoming synonymous with hair-raising stunts and daring feats as part of its iconic branding strategy.

The success of Red Bull made Mateschitz one of the wealthiest people on the planet, and Forbes put his net worth at $20.2 billion as of 2022.

The Austrian made his first foray into F1 by sponsoring Sauber, but that relationship ended in 2001 when the team opted to sign Kimi Raikkonen rather than Red Bull driver Enrique Bernolldi.

Following a brief hiatus, Red Bull returned to the sport with the purchase of the former Jaguar team in 2004, and since then the team have won six World Drivers’ Championships with Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen.

The company also has a strong presence in motorsports outside of F1, backing drivers and teams in everything from the World Rally Championship to MotoGP.

Christian Horner tribute to Mateschitz

Upon the news of Mateschitz’s death being made publish, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner offered a few words in tribute to the company founder.

“He’s few of a kind, what he achieved, and what he’s done for so many people around the world across different sports is second to none,” Horner told Sky Sports F1. 

“So many of us have to be so grateful to him for the opportunities that he’s provided. The vision that he had, the strength of character, and never being afraid to follow your dreams and chase your dreams. And 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. He was passionate about Formula 1, passionate about the team.”

John Smith
John Smith
Editor at and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
- Advertisment -


Max Verstappen in the Paddock ahead of the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Betting Odds for Chinese GP 2024

As the Formula 1 circus rolls into Shanghai for the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, betting odds are keenly watched...
Pierre Gasly of Red Bull Racing during practice for 2019 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Chinese GP 2024 Weather: Latest forecast for F1 race in Shanghai

As Formula 1 teams gear up for the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, all eyes are on the ever-changing weather...
Zhou Guanyu displays 2024 Chinese GP helmet

All the new F1 driver helmets for 2024 Chinese Grand Prix

Formula 1 finally returns to Shanghai for the first time since 2019 as the Chinese Grand Prix is back...
Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull leads Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari and the rest of the field at the start of the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Chinese Grand Prix – Past Winners

The Chinese Grand Prix has showcased a series of spectacular races since its first race in 2004 at the...

Where to Watch F1 2024 Chinese GP on TV and Streaming

The 2024 Chinese Grand Prix is gearing up to be an electrifying event in the Formula 1 calendar, as...
The Chinese GP returned to the calendar in 2024 | Dan Istitene / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Unpredictability and unknowns are the Chinese GP buzzwords

The Chinese Grand Prix is back for 2024 after five years away due the Covid-19 pandemic and it almost...
Race winner Max Verstappen, Second placed Sergio Perez and Third placed Carlos Sainz of Ferrari celebrate with Craig Dear, Principal Aerodynamicist at Red Bull Racing on the podium at 2024 Japanese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Carlos Sainz fuels Red Bull talk as Ferrari star reveals ‘best options’

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz has dropped a hint over which Formula 1 team he would like to join for...
The Chinese GP is held in Shanghai. F1/X

F1 stars voice safety fears as Chinese GP organisers face scrutiny over painted track

Organisers for the Formula 1 2024 Chinese Grand Prix are facing questions from F1 teams and drivers over their...
Alexander Albon of Williams during 2023 Canadian Grand Prix | Williams F1 Team

Alex Albon would rather ‘stay at home’ than avoid risks despite Williams chassis fears

The extent of the issues at Williams became apparent when they revealed they do not have the resources to...
Lando Norris navigates The Strip Circuit at the 2023 Las Vegas GP | McLaren F1 Team

Disheartened Lando Norris rules out any chance of an F1 race win soon

After the 2021 Russian Grand Prix, a Formula 1 win for Lando Norris felt like an eventual inevitability, but...
- Advertisment -