News broke during the U.S. Grand Prix weekend that Red Bull co-founder and owner Dietrich Mateschitz died at 78 years old.
As Formula One prepares for the Mexico City Grand Prix Sunday, one driver is using his helmet as a way to pay tribute to a pioneer in the sport.
Last Saturday, before the U.S. Grand Prix qualifying session, news spread throughout the paddock that Red Bull co-founder and owner Dietrich Mateschitz died at 78 years old. While building the energy drink empire, the Austrian was behind the push to enter the company into F1, buying not just one but two teams—Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri.
He played a role in many lives, particularly the young drivers who competed for the teams or rose through the junior program. One of those is four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who won all of his titles with Red Bull Racing. He now competes for Aston Martin, but the German will still pay his respects to Mateschitz this weekend as he returns his original and iconic Red Bull helmet design at the Mexico City Grand Prix.
“I think it was six of us on Sunday on the grid who shared obviously a story with Red Bull or are still sharing a story with Red Bull, as a brand, as a team, with the Junior Team and there’s probably more Formula One drivers, thinking of others as well. I think the impact that Red Bull had on the grid in the last 15 years has been outstanding and probably unprecedented.,” Vettel said during Thursday’s press conference in Mexico. “I think Dietrich, to me, we had a very good relationship and what I really appreciate today is that it was always eye level, even though he was far more experienced and knowledgeable than I was, especially early on.”
The impact Mateschitz had is extensive—six constructors’ titles (one won in Austin last weekend) and six drivers’ titles since 2010. But Mateschitz and Red Bull’s reach extended beyond Formula One. The company also owns soccer teams Red Bull Salzburg, New York Red Bulls, RB Leipzig and Red Bull Brasil; hockey teams EHC Munchen and EC Red Bull Salzburg; and esports team Red Bull OG.
Vettel added Mateschitz “helped kids, girls, boys, men, women along the way and helped them to chase their dreams. It’s all down to Dietrich and the idea that he had in his head, what he wanted to do with this brand and that’s what he created.”
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