Philip Duncan, PA F1 Correspondent, Austin
Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz has died at the age of 78.
The Austrian billionaire, integral in Red Bull’s involvement in Formula One, had been battling a long-term illness.
His death was announced to Red Bull staff ahead of qualifying for Sunday’s United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of Americas in Austin.
Mateschitz founded the energy drinks company in 1984. He bought the Jaguar F1 team 20 years later and renamed it Red Bull Racing the following season.
In 2010, Sebastian Vettel landed Red Bull’s first F1 title before winning four in succession.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen secured his second championship in a row at the Japanese Grand Prix earlier this month and the team is set to wrap up this season’s constructors’ championship this weekend.
“It is with great sadness that we learned of Dietrich’s death,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
“He was an incredible man and he loved Formula One.
“We owe him a great deal as a team, and what he would want more than anything is to see his two cars go out in qualifying today. My thoughts are with his family.”
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Formula One boss Stefano Domenicali said: “I am deeply saddened by the news that Dietrich Mateschitz, a hugely respected and much-loved member of the Formula One family has passed away.
“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.
“I will miss him greatly, as will the whole community in Formula 1, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and the Red Bull and AlphaTauri teams at this very sad time.”