Toto Wolff says he was ‘proud’ to be a Red Bull driver

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has spoken of his time affiliated with Red Bull while speaking about the tragic passing of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz.

Toto Wolff and Red Bull are not a pair that you would put together without some degree of friction and resent, however, when delivering a heartfelt tribute to the late Dietrich Mateschitz, the Mercedes team boss revealed this used to be far from the case.

Wolff revealed that he had a strong relationship with Mateschitz away from race weekends, holding him in high esteem as both a human being and a professional.

“I was lucky enough that I was sometimes invited to the famous hangar and it was quite impressive,” said Wolff.

“The man was super-reflective and what started always like a little bit of a Mercedes – Red Bull discussion, it was always the two of us, took hours and then ended up being a very personal discussion around families and I enjoyed that.”

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The tribute from Wolff reinforces how highly though of Mateschitz was within Formula 1, and personal anecdotes such as these make wholesome viewing for mourning motorsport fans, who recognise how influential the Austrian has been for the sport.

“What he has done in Austria for football, ice-hockey, Leipzig, the racing programme – it’s incredible.

“It’s probably the biggest contribution in Formula 1 of any single individual,” argued Wolff.

The Mercedes team boss has also revealed that as a young racer he felt an immense amount of pride being able to represent Mateschitz’s Red Bull, regardless of his current ties to Mercedes.

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“I was in a car that was sponsored by Red Bull but I was proud to wear those colours as a junior driver or a GT driver back in the day,

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“Being a Red Bull driver was something prestigious and I was proud wearing the overalls and the team kit,” he explained, talking about his racing career.

These quotes really demonstrate the impact that Mateschitz has had on Formula 1, with young drivers clearly aspiring to be affiliated with his team, and even his biggest of current rivals speaking of him as one of a kind, both as a man and as a businessman.

Tributes continue to flood out of the paddock, with the sporting world coming together to pay its respects to someone that we can all be thankful for.