The story that keeps giving, that appeared to have given up, might well be back in the F1 related headlines once again – it does appear that the brands’ founder and former CEO William Storey is back with the company.
The company that alleges to sell energy drink, although one tends to find it’s nearly impossible to actually buy any, and a self-confessed competitor of Red Bull has been at the centre of the most bizarre team sponsorship debacle in many years. The Haas F1 team’s principle sponsor for 2019 onward publically imploded this summer at the start of the British Grand Prix weekend. For the full story, read the timeline at the bottom of the page.
Yesterday, according to Jalopnik website, the teams’ founder and former boss William Storey appears to have returned to the company as a director having previously been removed (or left voluntarily, depending on who you listen to).
Motorsport.com published quotes from Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner yesterday, who said Rich Energy will make a decision on whether it will continue its Haas F1 with the team boss claiming it’s nothing to do with Haas, but everything to do with Rich Energy.
“It [the situation] has calmed down and now we see where we go from here,” said Steiner,
“First we need to be calm and make a rational decision, and then it will be decided. At the moment they [the logos] are on here, as you can see, so they need to decide where they want to go not us.
“It is their decision, and then our one will follow. That should happen in the next week or so, and this time it will happen properly.”
Yesterday, documents filed with UK Government Companies House, showed former Rich Energy CEO William Storey back as a director. A truly staggering turn of events when you read the full timeline below.
There may be more interesting and bizarre dealings to come yet.
Rich Energy Haas crisis: Complete story (updated)
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.
Some time 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. Yet 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
Rich Energy, Haas, and “the real situation”
Rich Energy Twitter account posts a letter, which had been sent on behalf of Haas to the shareholders who claim to have control of Rich Energy. The letter states that Haas are happy to keep talking to Rich provided that sufficient evidence is provided that Storey has been completely removed from his position and validly replaced, and that outstanding damages are paid. The writers of the letter are presently at a loss as to how the shareholders took control of the company away from Storey.
— Rich Energy (@rich_energy) July 12, 2019
Whyte Bikes has not been paid the money owed to them by Rich Energy
It is reported that Rich Energy have not paid Whyte Bikes the aforementioned £35k and Whyte Bikes have indicated that they will take “appropriate action”.
Whyte Bikes have not been paid the £35,416 due to them from Rich Energy, William Storey & Staxoweb. They have indicated they are now going to take appropriate action, including court applications to wind up RE, Staxoweb and petition for the bankruptcy of Storey. #F1 #BritishGP
— Thomas Maher (@thomasmaheronf1) July 12, 2019
Rich Energy distribution rights have been transferred to another company
William Storey uses the Rich Energy Twitter account to claim that he is still CEO of Rich Energy, that the exclusive rights to distribute Rich Energy have been transferred to another company and that he retains full ownership. It could be speculated that Storey has done this in an attempt to be able to continue distributing Rich Energy after Whyte Bikes’ lawyers wind up the original company.
Following a board meeting of Rich Energy Ltd chaired by CEO William Storey and in light of the treacherous conduct of minority stakeholders the exclusive rights to distribute @rich_energy have been transferred to another company. Mr Storey retains complete ownership #RichEnergy pic.twitter.com/TXC8v8zM0v
— Rich Energy (@rich_energy) July 13, 2019
Storey continues to stir shit
William Storey continues to stir shit using the Rich Energy Twitter account, largely mocking Haas and promoting the Rich Energy brand (with the illegal logo) and not contributing any new knowledge, until this… in which he implicates himself with attempting unlawful termination of the sponsorship contract (which would result in Storey having to pay £35 million in damages if the minority shareholders have been unable to oust Storey) and wrongfully accusing Haas of wrongly removing the stag element of the Rich Energy logo.
Just to disavow people of lies from @HaasF1Team please see below. @rich_energy terminated the agreement as we said. The team have accepted contrary to their public denial.They were complicit in trying to oust CEO William Storey who even gave them a £35m personal guarantee #truth pic.twitter.com/RZodxJd4js
— Rich Energy (@rich_energy) July 14, 2019
William Storey facing court again
Rich Energy’s lawyers indicate that they no longer wish to represent William Storey, as reports surface that Storey is set for another visit to court – this time because Vin-X, a wine investment company, claims that Storey offered them 20% of Rich Energy’s shares in return for advice and expertise within the drinks industry and that Storey has failed to give them not only the shares but also repayment of a £20k loan.
Rich Energy Limited has been renamed to Lightning Volt Limited
Companies House reveals that Rich Energy Ltd no longer employs Mr Storey, and that it has been renamed to Lightning Volt Ltd. William Storey responds by stating that he has sold the majority shares of the company and claims that he “will be back”.
William Storey founder of @rich_energy has sold his majority stake in the legal entity of Rich Energy Ltd to a third party. This was in disgust at conduct of duplicitous minority stakeholders. In the words of @Schwarzenegger he'll be back!#richenergy #F1 #nobull #williamstorey pic.twitter.com/wvjRBAIqx9
— Rich Energy (@rich_energy) July 16, 2019
Minority shareholders are not the new owners of the company
Turns out that the minority shareholders are not the new owners of the company, but instead it seems that Storey sold out to the BDG Group; unlicensed insolvency practitioners who are specialists in avoiding insolvency proceedings, claims or prosecution for insolvency offences.
More court involvement
Vin-X will seek a court order to have William Storey reveal the financial details of his sale of Rich Energy to the BDG Group and will also be petitioning for Storey’s bankruptcy.
Tomorrow, Vin-X will seek a court order to have William Storey reveal financial details of his sale of Rich Energy to the BDG Group. Also seeking 20% of the company shares and will be petitioning for the bankruptcy of Storey, joining Whyte Bikes in doing so. #RichEnergy
— Thomas Maher (@thomasmaheronf1) July 17, 2019
Stag logo designer petitioned to be wound up
A petition to have Staxoweb (the designer of the original Rich Energy logo) wound up will be heard in London at 10:30am on the 24th.
A petition to have Staxoweb (the designer of the Rich Energy logo that kicked off most of the current debacle) wound up will be heard in London at 10:30am on the 24th. #RichEnergy
— Thomas Maher (@thomasmaheronf1) July 17, 2019
Red Bull takes Storey to court?
And now Red Bull GMBH is, according to William Storey, taking Storey and Lightning Volt Ltd to court over alleged trade mark infringements in Rich Energy’s advertising.
Rich Energy’s stag logo becomes illegal from 4pm Today (18th July).
— Thomas Maher (@thomasmaheronf1) July 18, 2019