Verstappen pays tribute to Mateschitz: “Without him I wouldn’t be here today”

Max Verstappen has paid tribute to Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz for the role he played in his F1 career.
Verstappen pays tribute to Mateschitz: “Without him I wouldn’t be here today”

Ahead of qualifying for the F1 United States Grand Prix, Mateschitz’s death - aged 78 - was announced.

Red Bull could clinch their fifth constructors’ championship this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas, with the energy drinks brand enjoying great success in F1 over the past decade.

Verstappen pays tribute to Mateschitz: “Without him I wouldn’t be here today”

Verstappen joined the Red Bull family in 2014, before making his F1 debut with Toro Rosso a year later.

The Dutchman was promoted to Red Bull in 2016, taking his first grand prix victory on his debut for the senior team.

He ultimately ended Red Bull’s title drought, defeating Lewis Hamilton in a dramatic finale in Abu Dhabi 2021.

Speaking after qualifying third in Austin, Verstappen thanked Mateschitz and reflected on his experiences with the Red Bull founder.

“I think he had a massive contribution to motorsport and F1, having two teams here,'' he said. “I find it really incredible what he has done. To be such a big race fan and wanting your brand to succeed, and what they’ve done in the past and what we are doing now, and just seeing how much he was enjoying it as well, it was really incredible. 

“Luckily, also, I got to spend some time with him a few weeks back which now of course is even more special. It was a great day, I really enjoyed it. Flying over to Austria and just being close, talking about whatever, not even necessarily only F1. 

“He was super sweet and super caring, it’s a big loss for all of us and also for me personally, like without him I wouldn’t be here today. What he has done for me in Formula 1 but also for my whole life, the future ahead is massive so I can’t thank him enough and that’s why it’s a very difficult day for us.”

Like Verstappen, Carlos Sainz made his F1 debut thanks to Red Bull in 2015 with Toro Rosso.

He added: “I would like to send my condolences to his family and to the whole Red Bull family because I knew Dietrich quite a lot and I’ve been also helped by his support in the past. I wouldn’t have reached Formula 1 without him.

“The amount of things that he’s done for motorsport, not only Formula 1 and young drivers, but if you think about how many Red Bull logos are out there in all the categories from MotoGP, to F1, to all the sports that you can think about and how he has supported young talent, how many people have been supported by him and by his vision, by his idea is crazy.

“I think he is a super-important guy, a super nice guy, a guy that I always enjoy being around and from here, I want to send my condolences and rest in peace.”

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