Sebastian Vettel has emotionally paid tribute to Dietrich Mateschitz following the recent passing of the Red Bull founder. It was announced ahead of qualifying at the United States Grand Prix that Mateschitz had passed away at the age of 78. Many in the F1 paddock have since shared their memories of the Austrian businessman, with Vettel amongst those to speak fondly of Mateschitz. Vettel experienced his greatest success in Formula 1 with the Red Bull stable. The German gave the then-called Toro Rosso team their first victory at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix, before going on to win four consecutive World Championships with the main Red Bull team between 2010 and 2013.
Vettel shares memories of Mateschitz
Ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix, Vettel shared his memories of Mateschitz and spoke of the "great loss" of his passing. "We had a very good relationship, and what I really appreciate today is that it was always eye level, even though he was far more experienced and knowledgeable than I was, especially early on," Vettel told media, including RacingNews365.com . "It’s been a real shock, last week, to hear the news and a massive, massive loss. To me he's been a great inspiration because he's always been himself. "So many things happened and evolved in his life and got so big around him, but it is really his creative mind probably shaped that path and shaped that path until the very end, so it will be a huge loss for the Red Bull family, not just for racing, all of us in Formula 1, with the impact of two teams on the grid and the drivers. "But I think, speaking for so many other sports where the brand, Red Bull, had such a huge impact and helped kids, girls, boys, men, women along the way and helped them to chase their dreams. "It's all down to Dietrich and the idea that he had in his head, what he wanted to do with this brand and that's what he created. "It is a very, very big loss and [for] everybody who had the privilege to get to know him and be with him. [He was] extremely humble, kind and just [had] a good and big heart."
Vettel reveals special Red Bull helmet
Vettel will also pay tribute to Mateschitz over the Mexican Grand Prix weekend by wearing a special Red Bull helmet for the event. While the four-time World Champion is now an Aston Martin driver, the design harks back to his days with the Milton Keynes-based squad by featuring their colour scheme as well as the Red Bull logo. Also on the helmet is a message reading 'Danke Didi', a reference to Mateschitz's nickname. Check out pictures of Vettel's special helmet design below.