Haas Rich Energy sponsorship deal ends immediatelyby Jake Williams-Smith on 9th September 2019
Rich Energy had been the title sponsor of Haas F1 for the 2019 Formula 1 season, but the relationship has now ended
Rich Energy will no longer be title sponsor of Haas after the termination of the deal Photo: Motorsport Images
Haas F1 and Rich Energy have ended their title sponsorship agreement with immediate effect.
The energy drinks company has courted controversy since becoming the title sponsor of Haas, and recent legal battles led to speculation that the partnership would come to a premature end.
It leaves Haas without a title sponsor for the remaining seven races of the year, pending any further announcements.
Rich Energy was announced as a Haas sponsor last autumn, days after William Storey, the CEO, had been seen with Claire Williams at the US Grand Prix, where the pair were said to be on the cusp of agreeing to a sponsor deal.
Storey was at the Royal Automobile Club in February this year, when the Haas livery was unveiled, answering questions alongside Guenther Steiner, the team principal, as well as drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
He was also at pre-season testing in Barcelona, at the opening race in Australia and at Monaco, but appearances dwindled as the season went on.
A series of bizarre Twitter messages from the Rich Energy account around the time of the British Grand Prix, which included announcing the end of the sponsorship deal (quickly denied by Haas) and comparing the Haas cars to milkfloats, made it clear that all was not well behind the scenes at the business.
Haas cited the drinks company’s turbulent situation as the cause for the termination. In a brief statement, it said that Rich Energy would be going through a corporate restructuring process and would require a new strategy.
“Haas F1 Team and Rich Energy have amicably agreed to end their partnership together in the FIA Formula One World Championship with immediate effect," the statement read.
“While enjoying substantial brand recognition and significant exposure through its title partnership of Haas F1 Team in 2019, a corporate restructuring process at Rich Energy will see the need for a revised global strategy.
William Storey has been a controversial figure throughout the partnership Photo: Motorsport Images
"Subsequently, Haas F1 Team and Rich Energy concluded a termination of the existing partnership was the best way forward for both parties."
Earlier this year, Rich Energy was taken to court by Whyte Bikes over copyright claims relating to its logo.
The case was ruled in favour of Whyte and Rich Energy was forced to change its logo ahead of the French Grand Prix.
A very public battle over ownership of the company ensued in the aftermath, with Storey stating on social media he retained complete control despite internal documents appearing to indicate otherwise.
Ahead of the British Grand Prix, the Rich Energy Twitter account appeared to announce the termination of the title sponsorship deal, in a post that cited "poor performance" by Haas and a politically correct attitude in F1 that was "inhibiting our business".
At the time, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner refused to comment on the ongoing affairs of his team's title sponsor, saying "I cannot comment further on the contractual relationship between our two parties due to commercial confidentiality.”
The latest sponsorship termination appears considerably more conclusive than the last. Despite the turbulent months as partners, Haas' latest statement wished the best for Rich Energy and its stakeholders.
"Haas F1 Team would like to express its thanks and best wishes to the stakeholders at Rich Energy.”