- Red Bull cofounder Dietrich Mateschitz has died aged 78, the company said.
- The Austrian billionaire saw the potential in a Thai energy drink before investing in Red Bull.
- The success of the drink allowed him to invest in sports such as Formula 1.
The cofounder of Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz, has died at the age of 78 after a long illness, officials from the Red Bull Formula 1 team said on Saturday.
The Austrian co-founded the energy drink in 1984 after seeing the potential in another energy drink created by Thai investor Chaleo Yoovidhya, who became his cofounder.
After working for three years on the formula aimed at western consumers, Red Bull was launched in Austria in 1987.
It went on to become the world’s best-selling energy drink and helped Mateschitz amass a fortune estimated to be worth $25 billion, according to BBC News.
Just over 9.8 billion cans of Red Bull were sold last year, 24% more than in 2020, with revenue jumping by almost a quarter to 7.8 billion euros.
Mateschitz used his wealth to create a Formula 1 team that has become one of the most successful in the sport. The company entered F1 with Sauber in 2001 before he bought the Jaguar team three years later and renamed it Red Bull Racing.
It won both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles in 2010 and did so for another three consecutive years. Red Bull has notched up 79 pole positions, 89 race wins and six drivers’ titles.
Team principal Christian Horner told Sky Sports at the US Grand Prix: “So many of us have to be so grateful to him for the opportunities he provided and the vision that he had, the strength of character and never being afraid to chase your dreams.”
“That’s what he did here in Formula One, proving that you can make a difference. We’re just incredibly grateful.”
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said he was “deeply saddened” by Mateschitz’s death and called him “a hugely respected and much-loved member of the Formula 1 family.”
“He was an incredible visionary entrepreneur and a man who helped to transform our sport and created the Red Bull brand that is known all around the world,” Domenicali added.
Through Red Bull, Mateschitz also owned football clubs including Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg, New York Red Bull, and RasenBallsport Leipzig.
Red Bull also sponsors sports such as surfing, cliff diving, winter sports, and mountain biking and hundreds of competitors display its branding.