Inside Red Bull: Christian Horner and the other major players in Red Bull’s hierarchy

Thomas Maher
Christian Horner, Max Verstappen, Oliver Mintzlaff, Mark Mateschitz.

Who are Red Bull's key players? Christian Horner, Max Verstappen, and Helmut Marko are amongst the names you need to know...

The hierarchy of Red Bull’s F1 team and company has never been more in the spotlight than the last few weeks, but who is who, and who reports to whom?

Red Bull Racing is the Formula 1 team based in Milton Keynes in the UK, with Red Bull GmbH the parent company that owns it. Based out of Salzburg, GmbH’s shareholders and senior personnel have been in the headlines almost as often as the racing team in recent weeks…

Red Bull hierarchy: The big names revealed

Dietrich Mateschitz

Dietrich Mateschitz was the Austrian businessman who was the very public face of the Red Bull brand, founding Red Bull GmbH in 1984 in partnership with Thai businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya.

Mateschitz had discovered that Yoovidhya’s Krating Daeng drink had helped perk him up after a long flight to Thailand, and set about partnering with Yoovidhya to expand the drink’s marketability around the world.

The two partners each took 49 percent ownership of Red Bull GmbH, with the remaining two percent being given to Yoovidhya’s son Chalerm, with Mateschitz assuming reponsibility for the running of the company – something which Mateschitz thrived at, expanding the company from an initial $1 million total investment into a company boasting revenues of $10.5 billion in 2023.

Mateschitz died in October 2022, aged 78, with his 49 percent share passing to his son Mark Mateschitz.

Chalerm Yoovidhya

73-year-old Chalerm Yoovidhya is the eldest son of Chaleo, the man with whom Mateschitz went into business with in marketing Krating Daeng.

Having been given two percent of the company when Red Bull GmbH was first created by his father and Mateschitz, Chalerm represents his family’s inherited 49 percent when Chaleo died at the age of 88 in 2012.

This means that the Yoovidhya family, unified under Chalerm, holds 51 percent of the ownership of Red Bull GmbH, with the Thai side thus controlling the majority shareholding in the company.

Mark Mateschitz

An only son of Dietrich, Mark Mateschitz was just 30 years old when his father passed away.

Having studied business administration in Salzburg, he launched his own drinks company – named Thalheimer Heilwasser GmbH – in 2018.

Inheriting his father’s 49 percent stake in Red Bull GmbH, Mateschitz represents the top rung of the Austrian shareholding in the company.

Oliver Mintzlaff

German businessman Oliver Mintzlaff was appointed as CEO of Corporate Projects and New Investments of Red Bull GmbH in the immediate aftermath of Dietrich Mateschitz’s death.

He is the former CEO of Red Bull-owned RB Leipzig, and was appointed to his current role as the company reeled from the death of Mateschitz.

Mintzlaff is one of a trio of chief executives in charge at Red Bull GmbH, together with Franz Watzlawick (CEO of Red Bull’s beverage business), and chief financial officer Alexander Kirchmayr.

The German represents the interests of Mateschitz’s shareholding in his capacity overseeing the investments of the company in projects such as the F1 team.

Helmut Marko

80-year-old Austrian racing driver Helmut Marko was a close friend of Dietrich Mateschitz and served as the link between GmbH and the racing team.

It’s important to note that Marko, as a consultant and advisor to Red Bull Racing, is an employee of Red Bull GmbH and continues to represent the interests of the Mateschitz shareholding – his boss is Oliver Mintzlaff, not Christian Horner.

To that end, Marko is also one of two directors of Red Bull Racing – Horner and himself occupying those two positions.

A very successful racing driver in his own right, Marko was one of the winning drivers at the 1971 Le Mans 24 Hours, but his career was cut short by a stone that pierced his helmet while racing in 1972 – resulting in him needing a glass eye.

Turning to motorsport management, he oversaw the careers of Gerhard Berger and Karl Wendlinger as well as setting up the junior formula team RSM Marko – the team that would evolve into the Red Bull Junior Team in 1999.

From that same year, Marko has also led Red Bull’s driver development programme on behalf of Mateschitz, uncovering drivers like Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen during their formative years in motorsport.

Following Mateschitz’s death in 2022, Marko has spoken about how the changing face of the business run for so long by his close friend has evolved, and that he has had to weigh up whether or not to continue working with the F1 projects. He recently put pen to paper on a new three-year deal with Red Bull GmbH.

Adrian Newey

One of, if not the most important person, when it comes to Red Bull’s current on-track success, Newey’s track record of overseeing winning car designs speaks for itself.

As the most successful F1 car designer ever, Newey has been involved with Red Bull since 2007 and now operates as the chief technical officer for Red Bull Racing – as well as overseeing extracurricular projects like RBR’s RB17 hypercar, developed by the team’s technological branch Red Bull Technologies.

Newey signed a new contract to remain with Red Bull Racing in May 2023, meaning he’ll be staying at Milton Keynes for the immediate future. He reports to team boss Christian Horner.

Christian Horner

Having realised he wouldn’t make it as an elite racing driver in the late 1990s, Horner moved into team management by setting up his own Arden racing team in 1997.

Racing in Formula 3000, one of Horner’s first deals was buying a trailer from Helmut Marko – then a rival of Horner as a team manager.

Horner built Arden up to become title winners in 2002, before dominating the 2003 and ’04 championships, with the final season in ’04 seeing Horner run Red Bull-backed driver Vitantonio Liuzzi, managed by Marko.

Horner was eager to bring Arden into F1 and he initially tried to buy the Jordan Grand Prix team from Eddie Jordan. But, with Red Bull purchasing the former Jaguar team, Marko convinced Dietrich Mateschitz to take a closer look at the young and hungry Horner.

In January 2005, just before the team first raced in F1, Mateschitz appointed Horner to look after his Red Bull Racing F1 team.

Within two seasons, Horner, together with driver David Coulthard, had convinced Adrian Newey to jump ship from McLaren to join Red Bull and, two years later, the team took their first Grand Prix win and challenged for the title – claiming their first championship with Vettel in 2010.

Horner reports to Red Bull GmbH’s shareholders, to Oliver Mintzlaff on the Austrian side, and Chalerm Yoovidhya on the Thai side.

Max Verstappen

The Dutch driver has been part of Red Bull for 10 years, having been invited to join the Red Bull junior programme in mid-2014.

Having dominated the karting championships he entered as a teenager, Verstappen proved precocious when he stepped into a single-seater for the first time.

Testing for several Formula Renault teams, Verstappen was quickly lapping faster than series regulars, and he made his single-seater racing debut in the non-championship Florida Winter Series.

He won his first race at the second round at Palm Beach, and dovetailed his racing in the Formula 3 championship for Van Amersfoort.

He finished third, but his driving had caught the attention of Marko – the Austrian signing Verstappen up to Red Bull and convincing Horner and Mateschitz to place the Dutch driver in a full-time racing seat at Toro Rosso in 2015.

The rest is history…

Jos Verstappen

Father of Max, the Dutch driver was a Formula 1 driver in the 1990s and early 2000s. Scoring two podiums during a career in which he raced for seven different teams in eight years, Verstappen also won the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours in the LMP2 class.

With son Max being born in 1997, Jos set about mentoring him at karting level, encouraging and training the young Max to become the prodigious talent he has honed over the years.

With Verstappen junior making it into F1 and succeeding as a now-triple World Champion, his dad is content to take a watching brief and allow manager Raymond Vermeulen to oversee his son’s career.

Having resumed his own motorsport career as a rally driver, Jos now attends Grands Prix as a guest of Red Bull to watch his son’s racing.

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