3. Dietrich Mateschitz

Age 77
Net worth $27,9bn
Source of wealth Red Bull
Nationality Austrian
F1 involvement Circuit owner, Team shareholder

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Dietrich Mateschitz is the co-founder of the Red Bull energy drinks empire. He famously started the company after watching rickshaw riders in Thailand drinking a syrup-based drink to maintain their energy levels.

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Mateschitz, a marketing man, launched the drink in 250ml slim cans at a price five times that of Coca-Cola.

Fast forward to today, and Red Bull is a global brand with impressive turnover and profitability – 7.5 billion cans sold in 2019, almost one for each person on the planet.

The drink generates $6bn in revenue – a third of which is reinvested into marketing, including F1.

Mateschitz is a recluse who rarely attends race weekends and simply does not do interviews.

In true bond villain style, he owns a private island in the Laucala island resort in Fiji.

He spends a great deal of his time and money these days buying and restoring iconic historic properties in the Austrian Alps.

He has his own charitable foundation, Wings for Life which funds spinal cord research, and it is run by a former partner Anita Gerhardter with whom he has a son.

He has been in a long-term relationship with Marion Feichtner.

A keen pilot, he built an aircraft hangar next to Salzburg airport to house his collection of vintage planes, which includes a DC-6B that once belonged to Yugoslav Communist leader Marshal Tito.

Mateschitz has built up an extensive portfolio of Red Bull sports teams which include MotoGP teams Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, Red Bull KTM Tech 3, Skoda Motorsport rally team, football clubs RB Leipzig, FC Red Bull Salzburg, FC Liefering, Red Bull Brasil, Red Bull Bragantio, New York Red Bull’s, the Red Bull sailing team, hockey teams EC Red Bull Salzburg, and EHC Red Bull Munchen; you get the picture.

Red Bull also has an extensive network of athletes which they financially support, including ski jumpers, snowboarders, skiers, golfers, squash players, tennis players, and professional chess player Hikaru Nakamura!

The Red Bull chequebook comes out to host a myriad of events, from cliff diving to the soapbox races, so Red Bull is not short of opportunities to spend the marketing dollars on.

Mateschitz’s involvement in F1 started with Red Bull’s sponsorship of the Sauber F1 Team, which led to his purchase in 2004 of the Jaguar F1 team, which in 2005 was renamed Red Bull Racing.

Success followed with four successive Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship titles from 2010 to 2013, the team becoming the first Austrian team to win the title.

His second F1 team Scuderia AlphaTauri was originally the Minardi team which he purchased in 2005 with his close friend and former Formula One driver, Gerhard Berger.

The team was renamed Scuderia Toro Rosso, Toro Rosso meaning Red Bull in Italian, and was known as Red Bull’s junior team.

Berger sold his stake in 2008.

Mateschitz formed the AlphaTauri fashion brand in 2016, with some commenters speculating it was an attempt to shake off the ‘one-trick pony’ moniker.

In 2020 the Scuderia Toro Rosso team was renamed Scuderia AlphaTauri, and from now on, in a bold statement, it was to be known as Red Bull’s sister team.

In 2004, he bought the A1-Ring racing circuit in Austria, renaming it the Red Bull Ring, with F1 returning to the circuit in 2014.

In a further commitment to F1, Mateschitz has given the green light for the creation of the Red Bull powertrains business to start building their own engines after the announcement of Honda’s withdrawal from F1.

An initial cheque for $200m has been written.

What influence does Dietrich Mateschitz have in F1?

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The short answer is bucket loads.

As the owner of two teams, Red Bull makes up 20% of the grid, and Mateschitz does not shy away from threatening to leave Formula 1 if he is not happy with the way the sport is run, warning, “You can’t force someone to stay.”

The recent agreement for an engine freeze which paved the way for Red Bull to manufacture its own engines is a good example.

Max Verstappen’s manager Raymond Vermeulen probably best summed it up when he said, “There is only one man who decides – Dietrich Mateschitz.”

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