On Thursday before the Silverstone GP, the confusing situation at Haas sponsor Rich Energy was the dominant topic in the paddock. Now the situation is getting even crazier.
Two days ago, TJ13 surmised that the tweet that started it all off could well have been an account hacked or a bizarre PR stunt ahead of the British GP, the home race of sorts of Rich Energy. Yesterday, it came to light that actually a very real split of senior partners of the fledgling energy drinks company has appeared, with one party claiming that a “rogue” employee had declared the termination of sponsorship with the Haas F1 team, and that the decision was not valid or true.
TJ13 has decided to summerise below the events thus far in chronological order to provide our readers with the full story as we know it. Credit to Reddit user u/MattTheMilkaCow for his efforts here.
A summary of events related to Rich Energy since Wednesday 10th July
10 Jul 2019 Rich Energy Twitter announces the termination of sponsorship with Haas:
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) July 10, 2019
‘Rich Energy failed to meet payment obligations’
The Dutch news outlet rtlnieuws.nl claimed that they believed the most likely reason for the split was that Rich Energy had defaulted on payments for their sponsorship deal with the F1 team:
“Sources to RTL GP confirm that the partnership between Haas and Rich Energy has almost certainly ended. However, the fact that the British group would not be able to meet the payment obligations would be the real reason behind the end of the cooperation.”
Gunther Steiner (Haas F1 Team) responds to Rich Energy departure news
Team boss Gunther Steiner releases a statement via the Haas F1 team’s twitter account claiming that the team is currently still sponsored by Rich Energy.
“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) July 11, 2019
Rich Energy investors trying to save Haas F1 deal
Rich Energy states that it is trying to save their sponsorship deal with Haas, noting that William Storey, their founder and (former?) CEO, wrote or authorised the tweet following a “difference of opinion” with other investors, and that he has no authority to terminate the sponsorship deal.
“The deal is not terminated and William has no authority to do so. The investors are trying to clear up the PR mess, but it’s business as usual.” claim Rich Energy investors.
Rich Energy drink chief labels F1 team Haas ‘milk float at back of grid’ after pulling plug on sponsorship
The British tabloid The Sun spoke to William Storey, who said that Haas were “a milk float on the back of the grid”. Danish media reports that William Storey had been fired from Rich Energy by investors, hijacking their Twitter account and posting the rogue tweet afterward.
“Haas [are] nice people but the car is going backwards.
“We are a superior product to Red Bull.
“A milkfloat at back of grid a disaster for us. End of.” said Storey to the Sun.
Whyte Bikes have not been paid the £35k by Rich Energy ordered by the courts
Reports surface that Whyte Bikes have apparently not yet received the £35k owed to them by Rich Energy, as ordered by court, and that they are looking to begin the process of winding up the Rich Energy company if the payment is not recieved by the end of today.
Whyte Bikes have not been paid the 35k by Rich Energy ordered by the courts. If payment is not received by close of business today, Whyte Bikes will file a petition to have Rich Energy wound up. #F1 #BritishGP
— Thomas Maher (@thomasmaheronf1) July 11, 2019
Rich Energy confirms commitment to Haas and condemns “rogue actions of one individual”
According to Racefans.net – Rich Energy confirm their belief in the Haas F1 Team and that they are in the process of legally removing the individual concerned (presumably William Storey) from all executive responsibilities, adding that “They may speak for themselves but their views are not those of the company”.
Rich Energy files trademark for new logo
It transpires that Rich Energy filed a trademark for a new logo on July 2nd. The new design still has gold, angular antlers.
The company filed for the name “Rich Energy”, and its new logotype, which still feature some horns, and still look convincingly plagiarised…
Rich Energy CEO (William Storey) accuses shareholders of mounting “coup”
William Storey uses the Rich Energy Twitter account to claim that “the attempted palace coup by minority stakeholders” has failed and that he has control all of the assets of Rich Energy and the support of “all key stakeholders”.
@rich_energy CEO @_williamstorey has commented "The ludicrous statement by minority shareholders cosy with @redbull & @WhyteBikes is risible. Their attempted palace coup has failed. I control all of the assets of @rich_energy & have support of all key stakeholders" #RichEnergy pic.twitter.com/1d32m1AELG
— Rich Energy (@rich_energy) July 11, 2019
The new Rich Energy CEO will be at Silverstone
Word in the paddock is that the new Rich Energy CEO is to be present at Silverstone this weekend and to be formally announced “soon”.
I’ve been told that the new Rich Energy CEO will be at Silverstone this weekend with formal announcement of his appointment soon. However, no official comment from Rich Energy when I asked. #F1 #BritishGP
— Thomas Maher (@thomasmaheronf1) July 11, 2019