FIA President Jean Todt has revealed that he holds Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz in 'great admiration' for the manner in which the Austrian billionaire has defied his critics to make a resounding success of his F1 project with Red Bull Racing.
Red Bull took over the struggling Jaguar Racing outfit in late 2004, and just six years later, Sebastian Vettel swept to drivers' title glory with the Milton Keynes-based squad, with team-mate Mark Webber helping the young German to similarly secure the constructors' world championship trophy for the team.
In a sport that has been dominated by big-spending manufacturers for well over a decade, the achievement of independently-run RBR has been quite remarkable, as Mateschitz's men took on the big boys at the very pinnacle of international motor racing and beat them. Despite the 66-year-old retaining a low-key presence at grands prix, Todt reckons his contribution should not be underplayed.
“I have great admiration for him,” the Frenchman told the Salzburger Nachrichten
newspaper. “He is a sport fanatic, especially motorsport. When he started [in F1], many didn't think he could be so successful, but he has shown what can be done with enthusiasm, energy and dedication.”