Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says it was fitting for the constructors’ championship to be won with Max Verstappen overtaking Lewis Hamilton to win the United States Grand Prix, one day after Dietrich Mateschitz’s death.
Mateschitz passed away at the age of 78 on Saturday, and the team he owned went on to secure its first constructors’ championship since 2013 at Circuit of The Americas. Sporting his shirt tucked into a pair of jeans in tribute to the Red Bull co-founder, Horner said the manner of the victory was particularly poignant, as Verstappen celebrated on the podium with Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko (pictured above).
“It’s a massive weekend to do it here in the U.S. and the fashion that we did it in,” Horner told RACER. “We had a difficult pit stop but Max just fought back and I think it just embodied everything that we’ve done this year. He kept his head, he made the passes when he needed to and he got the job done.
“And Checo (Perez) with a damaged car made tremendous progress as well, so the collective result to achieve that constructors’ championship after eight tough years — we’ve had to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down so many times but we’ve done it. Finally to be picking up that constructors’ championship trophy again will have even more value to us.
“We’ll celebrate in the way that he would have wanted. Red Bull is synonymous with having a party — that’s part of our vibe and we will party hard tonight. There will be plenty of product drunk tonight, and even more in the morning.”
Horner believes Mateschitz can be listed as one of the most influential people in F1’s history, having been joined at the front of the grid pre-race by the drivers of the two Red Bull-owned teams — and all of those who have raced for them in the past — for a tribute to the Austrian.
“It was a big moment. I think it just demonstrates how many people he’s affected and supported in Formula 1. He’s always given youth a chance. He gave me a chance as a 31-year-old team principal; he’s given all these young drivers a chance; he’s given engineers a chance all up and down the pit lane. So many owe him so much.
“(The legacy) is enormous. I don’t think there’s anyone other than probably Enzo Ferrari that has done so much for Formula 1. Two grand prix teams, a grand prix circuit, all the young drivers, the thousands of people he has given employment to and opportunity to. He was a fan, he was passionate about the sport and he had an ambition.
“He followed his dreams and he encouraged us to do the same. He was there on the tough days as well as the good days, and it’s so fitting to use this constructors’ championship this weekend. Hopefully he enjoyed that race from above, looking down. But his legacy will continue. His spirit is embodied throughout the team and that will continue to shine brightly.”