On Wednesday, energy drink company Rich Energy announced that it was separating from the Haas Formula 1 team
On Wednesday, energy drink company Rich Energy announced that it was separating from the Haas Formula 1 team … after six months of collaboration. An announcement made just before Silverstone, which seems to have surprised the Haas team itself. Especially since the brand of drink has been the subject of a lot of ink, for a year, in Formula 1.
The 2019 season had so far been spared in business. Admittedly, Williams’ financial and sports difficulties are well known, especially with the dismissal of his former technical director and shareholder, Paddy Lowe, but the damage has long been known in the British team. In the case of Haas, before the Grand Prix of Great Britain, it is a case of another kind that is emerging: the defection of a sponsor, during the season. And not just any sponsor for the American team that runs Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, its title sponsor Rich Energy.
Today @rich_energy terminated our contract with @HaasF1Team for poor performance. We aim to beat @redbullracing & being behind @WilliamsRacing in Austria is unacceptable. The politics and PC attitude in @F1 is also inhibiting our business. We wish the team well #F1 #richenergy pic.twitter.com/9mAt2dOnYu
— Rich Energy (@rich_energy) 10 July 2019
The British energy drink brand has split a short statement on its Twitter: “Wednesday, Rich Energy has ended its sponsorship deal with Haas F1 for lack of performance. We were targeting Red Bull Racing, and we are behind Williams in Austria, which is unacceptable. The politics and the political correctness which reigns in F1 are also a brake to put forward our business. We hope the best for the team. ” Funny way to communicate, for a company that, despite everything, remains rather obscure.
It is true, however, that Haas, despite a fairly close partnership with Ferrari, is struggling to get his car running this season. The American team is in 9th place overall, but not without inconstant performances. The fault of tires that the team struggles to operate. From there to breaking a sponsorship contract after six months … there is only one step that Energy Rich seems to cross.
The company, represented by its CEO William Storey, an amazing-looking malabar, was founded in 2015. They have teamed up with several sports personalities, including Alex Thomson and sponsored the West Ham United Women’s Football Team. In October 2018, Rich Energy signed a title sponsor contract with the Haas team, which has been present in F1 since 2016.
Previously, the company was in contact with Williams, then had positioned itself in the purchase of Force India, in great financial difficulty last year. It was at this moment that the first controversies around the brand appeared, calling into question the legitimacy of its production. “It’s like saying that man has never walked on the moon, or that Elvis is still alive,” Williams Storey had reacted.
Still, the 100 million cans sold since the creation of the company are particularly discreet. Especially since according to Forbes, Red Bull sells 6.3 billion a year, cans. Jalopnik was also interested in the Rich Energy business , and had run into the darkness around the British brand, between entities in England, Croatia and Austria.
In addition to these financial unknowns, Rich Energy was also embarked on a plagiarism case of the bike brand Whyte Bykes logo. The stylized deer head of the drink brand “which must make forget the wings [of Red Bull] and give horns to drink (sic)” has disappeared from the pontoons of the American F1, and cans of the mark … if they exist! The court decision fell a few weeks ago. Should we see a link with Wednesday’s announcement?
“Rich Energy is currently the title partner of Haas F1 Team. I cannot comment further on the contractual relationship between our two parties due to commercial confidentiality.” – Guenther Steiner, Team Principal pic.twitter.com/egSltgGnAO
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) 11 July 2019
On Haas’ side, we’re still a bit surprised. On Thursday, the US team responded by stating, via Guenther Steiner, that “Rich Energy is currently the title sponsor of Haas F1 Team. I can not speak more about our contractual relationship because of commercial confidentiality. “ The rest of the weekend could be high in rebounds around the Haas team. Not necessarily the right atmosphere to start a weekend, however, for the Grosjean and Magnussen team.
This is not the first time that obscure financiers have appeared in F1. In the past, we saw the Russian team Midland (2006), Moneytron and Jean-Pierre Van Rossem in the early 1990s or the Japanese consortium Leyton House (late 1980s).