“Sebastian has matured with us over ten years to [become] an outstanding leader, and if you saw how he thanked his mechanics and engineers on his knees in Abu Dhabi, you can understand what kind of responsibility he has and how he wants to return their faith. Not every driver can lead a team, and for a world championship to come together you need to possess many qualities. Sebastian is in many areas a bit better – he can motivate people to a cause.”
The man who concedes that he has something of 'an aversion to interviews' with the media went on to opine that 'the times in which you earned money in F1 and could afford yachts and aircraft are long gone', adding that Red Bull's commitment to the sport 'is part of our overall marketing mix', but no more than that and confirming that the team's success over the last two years has been good for brand image and impact, even if, understandably, 'the relationship between the brand value of a car manufacturer and F1 is larger'.
Explaining that in an age of financial austerity, Red Bull Racing's budget is 'roughly in the lower-mid range', Mateschitz mused, finally, that as a privately-run operation at the highest level, it has given him immense pleasure to see Red Bull take on and overcome the sport's grandees such as Ferrari and McLaren – and sought to stress that the words 'fun' and 'F1' need not be mutually exclusive from one another.
“In sport in general, the stronger the enemies are, the more one looks forward to a victory over them,” argued the man who similarly owns football clubs in New York, Salzburg and Leipzig as well as an ice-hockey team. “[Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President] Norbert Haug and [Ferrari President] Luca di Montezemolo were amongst the first to congratulate us, as we would have done vice-versa.
“[Fun and success in F1] is not an either/or, but a both/and. Our objective was to focus on sport and entertainment. This is now supported not only by us but by everyone in F1, both from other teams and the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone.”