Christian Horner on Red Bull's success and hints at next step
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Red Bull will no longer have a single CEO after the death of Dietrich Mateschitz with Alexander Kirchmayr and Oliver Mintzlaff taking responsibility for the Formula One team. The energy drink giant’s co-founder passed away last month after a long battle with illness and had been an integral part of Red Bull’s success in motorsport.
Mateschitz was the driving force behind the decision to enter a team into Formula One, acquiring Jaguar in 2004 and turning it into Red Bull the following year with Christian Horner serving as team principal for the entire period. In 2006 he bought a second team, now known as AlphaTauri and also helped bring the Austrian Grand Prix back to the calendar in 2014.
Red Bull have enjoyed huge success within their time in Formula One winning the Constructors Championship five times and claiming six driver’s title shared between Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel.
The 78-year-old served as Red Bull’s CEO until he passed away and the company have now confirmed plans for his succession in a letter written by his son, Mark. A board of directors, consisting of Franz Watzlawick (CEO Beverage Business), Kirchmayr (CFO) and Oliver Mintzlaff (CEO Corporate Projects and Investments) will take all major decisions in his stead, with the latter two responsible for the F1 side. The plan was approved by Mateschitz before his death.
Mintzlaff in particular has a strong sporting background, with his previous role as chairman of RB Leipzig. Before that, he controlled all of Red Bull’s global football commitments and previously had a career as a long-distance runner.
It is not thought Red Bull’s F1 operations will change too much as a result of the new personnel. Horner confirmed as much when asked about the team’s future plans as he lead tribute to the Austrian following his death.
“The future is set,” he said. “He’s put in place a very strong foundation for the future. And with, in 2026, Red Bull becoming a power unit manufacturer, that was the missing piece of our jigsaw, and he had the vision to enable that to happen.
“And just as we’ve done with the chassis, we will take that same spirit, his spirit, into the future engine company.
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“He gave me a chance as a young guy, he backed me, and he inspired so many others,” Horner said.“He gave so many people an opportunity. He encouraged you that nothing is impossible, that nothing is unsurpassable, and to follow your dreams. He was a fan of Formula 1.
“He was hugely proud of everything that we’ve done. The big thing now is that he’d want to see us go out there and give it everything.”
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