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 -


Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Max Verstappen 1 at the 2024 British GP | Mercedes

F1 Driver Ratings — 2024 British GP

Lewis Hamilton finally ended his long wait for a race victory at the Formula 1 2024 British GP as...
George Russell leads the field into Turn 1 at the 2024 British GP | Mercedes

F1 Winners and Losers from the British GP

Lewis Hamilton emerged victorious in one of the most memorable races in recent Formula 1 history, which begs the...
Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the 2024 British GP | Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton masterclass proves he can take fight to Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton basked in the glory of his long-awaited victory at the British Grand Prix, celebrating in front of...
Max Verstappen looks on at the 2024 Austrian GP | Chris Graythen / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen rues ‘poor’ British GP as Red Bull battle rare issue

Max Verstappen conceded it was a "poor afternoon" for Red Bull at the Formula 1 2024 British Grand Prix...
Lando Norris with engineers at 2024 British GP | McLaren F1 Team

Are McLaren becoming ‘new Ferrari’ after another strategy blunder?

Lando Norris' media appearances after the British GP were a genuinely tough watch, with reporters seemingly counselling the 24-year-old...
Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes Max Verstappen on the podium after the 2024 British Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Lewis Hamilton: British GP win more crucial to Mercedes than Russell victory

Lewis Hamilton explained why he felt his victory at the Formula 1 2024 British Grand Prix on Sunday was...
Carlos Sainz at the 2024 Austrian GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

F1 2024 British GP – Fastest Lap

Carlos Sainz snatched the fastest lap at the 2024 British GP at the final opportunity as an all-time classic...
Lando Norris during 2024 British GP | McLaren F1 Team

F1 Standings after 2024 British Grand Prix

An emotional 2024 British Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton take a record-breaking win at Silverstone, outsmarting Lando Norris and...
Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during the 2024 British Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 2024 British GP: Driver of the Day

There is a reason why the British Grand Prix remains the hottest attraction on the Formula 1 calendar and...
Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the 2024 British GP | Mercedes

Hamilton outsmarts Verstappen and Norris to clinch record-breaking British GP win

Lewis Hamilton finally celebrated on the top step of the podium after a dramatic finale to the Formula 1...
- Advertisment -