Austrian billionaire and Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz sadly passed away this weekend, aged 78, after battling a serious illness.
The Formula 1 paddock has paid tribute to Mateschitz, with Red Bull dedicating their win at the Circuit of the Americas to the man that brought them into the sport, when he purchased Jaguar Racing.
Mercedes team boss and fellow Austrian Toto Wolff has spoken on his personal relationship with Mateschitz, and how he holds the man in the highest esteem.
“I think the biggest achievement is the brand,” he said, talking about the late Red Bull owner.
“1990s it appeared so we are talking 32 years and I don’t know how many billions of euros the company makes but creating a new market, inventing a product that only existed in Thailand in a different packaging and making it a global plater is far superior and overshadowing everything that is around sports.”`
Red Bull have a strong influence in sports, not just Formula 1, with Red Bull Leipzig, Salzburg, and New York all being major forces in their domestic football leagues, and ice hockey also feeling the impact of Red Bull sponsored teams.
Wolff recalled Red Bull’s introduction in Austria over 30 years ago, claiming energy drinks were an invention that revolutionised life for so many.
“When they started selling the drink, some of the clubs just turned them down and they asked ‘what are you selling us, an energy drink what is that?’
“Then he told you mix it with vodka and it was suddenly a hit, like a drug, and it was sold under the table.
“Then it got into the good clubs in Munich and the same thing, vodka Red Bull was almost like taking drugs,” he said.
When paying tribute to Mateschitz, Wolff made the point that one of the things that set him apart from the rest, was his love for what he did.
“I remember he once said to me he’d rather do a sports project that loses money as long as he enjoys doing it.
“There are not many entrepreneurs that say that, for the love of the sport,” he stated.
Tributes and anecdotes continue to flood out of the paddock, with Mateschitz having an effect on so many lives, not just those at Red Bull.