'We'll celebrate in his honour' – Horner says Red Bull team title would have thrilled Mateschitz

By Sports Desk October 23, 2022

Christian Horner hailed Red Bull's first Formula One constructors' title since 2013 as a fitting tribute to Dietrich Mateschitz, saying the late team owner "would have been very proud".

Team principal Horner saw Max Verstappen land a record-equalling 13th win of the season at the United States Grand Prix, and that meant Red Bull's team success for 2022 was assured.

Verstappen, already crowned drivers' champion, shook off the frustration of an extended pit stop with 20 laps remaining by delivering a terrific performance to pip Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes, led by Hamilton's excellence, reeled off eight consecutive constructors' championships from 2014 to 2021, but now Red Bull are back on top, having previously strung together four titles from 2010 to 2013, in the Sebastian Vettel era.

The death of Mateschitz at the age of 78 was announced on Saturday.

Horner said: "It's been a hugely emotional weekend and that was the best possible way we could have won that race. Dietrich would have been very proud of that.

"To win the constructors' championship after eight years [without it] is incredible."

Commending Verstappen after the 25-year-old joined Michael Schumacher and Vettel as the only drivers to win 13 races in an F1 season, Horner told Sky Sports: "He just got his head down, and I thought there was only going to be one outcome of that race.

"There's a hunger within him that I've never seen in another driver. As he's growing and maturing, he's reading races incredibly well.

"He was obviously pretty upset after the pit stop but very quickly got his emotions in check, got his head down and paced himself so he didn't burn his tyres up, and was then able to get the passes done."

Mateschitz also owned the AlphaTauri team – previously Toro Rosso – and his death comes with Red Bull back where he wanted them, at the very summit of Formula One.

"I think this means everything to us," Horner said. "Dietrich was a very private man, but he was passionate about life and passionate about sport, and he had a dream which was to have a Formula One team and in the end he had two.

"He gave us all an opportunity, he believed in us, he backed us. This is for him, we're tremendously grateful for everything that he's done, for us as individuals, as a team, and we're going to celebrate in his honour tonight.

"He was a reclusive guy but when he turned up he'd be straight in the garage, there were no airs and graces to him, he was just one of the guys.

"I'm so happy he got to see Max retain the drivers' [title] in Japan, and the constructors', that's been a big one as well. We've never lost hope or never stopped fighting or believing in ourselves, so to be able to come back and do this is testament to every man and woman in the team, in the company.

"His legacy lives on, he empowered us to go and make an engine for the future. He was looking into the future and whilst he's not here in person, he's here in spirit and his spirit and the Red Bull spirit will live on."

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