Christian Horner: Dietrich Mateschitz made sure Red Bull’s future is set

Thomas Maher
Red Bull crew pause for moment's reflection in memory of Dietrich Mateschitz at the United States Grand Prix. Austin, October 2022.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner believes the impact of Dietrich Mateschitz’s death on his team should be minimal, due to the foundations put in place.

Mateschitz, the private and enigmatic owner of the Red Bull company as well as the F1 team, passed away last weekend at the age of 78. The Austrian took a hands-off approach to his ownership of the team, an unchanged attitude since entering the sport in 2005, allowing team boss Christian Horner to flourish in his role as team boss.

Horner, who is still the youngest team boss in F1, was given the nod by Mateschitz to lead his F1 operation when Red Bull entered the sport 18 years ago, having been unproven at the top level of motorsport. Horner has since gone on to become one of the most successful team principals in the history of the sport, while Red Bull themselves have entered the record books.

Understandably, Horner was visibly upset following the news of Mateschitz’s passing on qualifying day at the United States Grand Prix and paid plenty of tributes to the man who took a chance on him almost two decades ago.

Mateschitz was unfortunately not able to see Red Bull claim the Constructors’ Championship that they wrapped up last Sunday, returning the team to the top of F1 for the first time since 2013.

What will happen to Red Bull’s ownership structure?

Looking to the future, there are now question marks over the impact of Mateschitz’s death on the F1 team – given the stability Red Bull have boasted in terms of structure ever since entering the sport.

Mateschitz’s 49% share in Red Bull, the minority shareholder, is likely to pass to his son, Mark Mateschitz, while the majority shareholder is 72-year-old Chalerm Yoovidhya and his family. Holding 51%, he is the son of Red Bull’s original co-founder Chaleo Yoovidhya with whom Mateschitz went into business during the mid-1980s as the pair embarked on a marketing push to develop Red Bull from the original Krating Daeng drink devised by Yoovidhya.

Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz pictured at the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix. Imola, May 2005.

For now, the exact nature of the ownership of Red Bull following Mateschitz’s death is unclear – potentially an area of concern for the F1 team if there is a change of ethos.

However, Horner has expressed no concerns as he revealed Mateschitz had put plans in place for after his own time in charge came to an end.

“No, the future is set,” Horner told Motorsport when asked about any potential changes.

“He’s put in place a very strong foundation for the future. And, in 2026, Red Bull become a power unit manufacturer – that was the missing piece of our jigsaw, and he had the vision to enable that to happen.

“And just as we’ve done with the chassis, we will take that same spirit, his spirit into the future engine company.”

Christian Horner: Dietrich Mateschitz set up the team for the long term future

Horner revealed that Mateschitz had been involved in the F1 team’s decision-making process right up until his final days, and had stood behind the plans that have been put in place by Red Bull Racing’s management team.

“He set that vision, and he was involved right up until last week,” he explained.

“He had the vision for, and endorsed the plan for Red Bull Powertrains, to set the team up for the future, for the long term.

“And the commitment that he’s shown to that, and what he’s enabled us to create in Milton Keynes puts Red Bull Racing in a very strong position for many, many years to come.”

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