Daniel Ricciardo has heaped praise on Dietrich Mateschitz for helping him get into F1 after the Red Bull co-founder passed away recently.
The 78-year-old died on Saturday shortly before qualifying of the American Grand Prix and there are few who have had such an impact on the sport with such a small public presence.
Six drivers currently on the grid drove for either Red Bull or AlphaTauri at some point during their career and as Formula 1 continues onto Mexico, some of them have been looking back at Mateschitz’s legacy.
Ricciardo, who was involved with Red Bull for seven years, is one of them and said that Mateschitz was just as impactful as his parents at getting him where he is.
“I think there was so much about Dietrich, in terms of the way he carried himself,” he said during the press conference ahead of Mexico. “He was always happy to be out of out of the limelight.
“What he did for so many Red Bull athletes was phenomenal but he never really looked for too much praise. [He] gave so many of us an opportunity to really achieve our dreams.
“Honestly there’s two groups of people in my life that put me in this position, it’s my parents and it’s Dietrich and Red Bull.
“They provided this opportunity for me to really chase this career, chase this dream so for that [I am] forever grateful.”
Another former Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel was sat alongside Ricciardo during the press conference and echoed the Australian’s thoughts.
“I think the impact that Red Bull has had on the grid in the last 15 years has been outstanding and probably unprecedented,” the four-time World Champion said.
“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.
“So it’s been a real shock last week to hear the news and a massive, massive loss.
“It will be a huge loss for the Red Bull family. Not just for us racing in Formula 1 but I think speaking for so many other sports where the brand Red Bull had such a huge impact.
“[He] helped kids, girls, boys, men, women along the way and helped them to chase their dream. It’s all down to Dietrich and the idea he had in his head, what he wanted to do with this brand and that’s what he created.”