Haas Rich Energy logo, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019

Haas title sponsor Rich Energy says it has “terminated our contract”

2019 British Grand Prix

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Haas title sponsor Rich Energy says it has terminated its sponsorship of the Formula 1 team after just nine races.

The energy drink brand, which was recently ordered to reveal details of its contract with the team after losing a court case of copyright infringement, accused the team of under-performing.

“Today Rich Energy terminated our contract with Haas F1 Team for poor performance,” it announced on social media on Wednesday. “We aim to beat Red Bull Racing and being behind Williams Racing in Austria is unacceptable.”

The highest-placed Haas driver in the Austrian Grand Prix was Romain Grosjean, who finished 16th, two places ahead of the leading Williams of George Russell in 18th. Grosjean’s team mate Kevin Magnussen came 19th ahead of Robert Kubica in the other Williams.

“The politics and PC [politically correct] attitude in F1 is also inhibiting our business,” Rich Energy added. “We wish the team well.”

Neither the sponsor nor the team has released any further information.

Since becoming Haas’s title sponsor Rich Energy has attracted attention with a series of provocative social media posts, many of them targeted at rival energy drinks brand Red Bull.

However in May Rich Energy lost a court case brought by ATB Sales, owners of the Whyte Bike brand. ATB successfully argued Rich Energy’s logo infringed their copyright, following which the stag design at the centre of the dispute was removed from all Haas branding.

Rich Energy were subsequently refused permission to appeal the decision and were ordered to remove all the infringing copyrighted marks and pay damages to ATB. The company was also ordered to reveal details about its business including its sponsorship arrangement with Haas.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 61 comments on “Haas title sponsor Rich Energy says it has “terminated our contract””

    1. I bet Haas was the one who hurriedly ended the partnership. The Whyte Bikes case has thrown a lot of bad light on them and the whole commercial model of Rich energy was just downright vulgar and deceptive. I doubt Gene Haas could even get some money out of them since we won’t probably hear of this company ever again, maybe only in the court reports.

      1. Sven the oracle
        10th July 2019, 23:09

        The bad light existed way before the logo case. There ability to provide funding was questionable from the start. The whole thing stunk like week old fish in the summer sun.

    2. Well this is going to make season 2 of drive to survive somewhat spicy! Looking forward to hearing Haas’s side on this as it doesn’t sound like an amicable parting of ways.

      Already looking forward to the return of the old Haas livery. Always found the use of black and gold a tad sacrilegious when it’s not on a lotus!

    3. Neil (@neilosjames)
      10th July 2019, 23:12

      I can only assume an invoice arrived for an installment and Storey was shocked to discover it had to be paid with real money, made from selling real energy drinks…

      1. Real money, as opposed to asset-laundering money?

      2. Someone said that all the money for the season had to be paid upfront…I hope for Haas’ sake that was true.

    4. Well, not a big surprise. It was a very strange sponsor right from the beginning.
      A company so small and unknown and the no 1 sponsor of a F1 team? And then they want to compare themselves with Redbull and Redbull Racing right from the start of the season? That makes sense.

      And just asking: did Haas get paid any money from them?

    5. Maybe Haas’ performance is suffering because the title sponsor hasn’t paid what’s it’s supposed to and is now trying to get out of paying anything at all?

      1. @mtlracer

        Someone mentioned in an earlier article -the one about the court ruling against Rich I think- that the sponsorship money was via a secured bank loan to Haas, so that the team got their sponsorship money regardless.

        Who is liable for the loan if thats true? Could Storey be ablout to run away from a debt.

        Ah! That explains the beard, he’ll shave it off an voila! He’ll look completely different (Obviously, it wouldn’t really work, but it would fit in with everything else he’s done in this whole saga)

        1. The bank is – and then the bank has to get their money from Storey (or the company itself).

      2. “We aim to beat Red Bull Racing and being behind Williams Racing in Austria is unacceptable.”

        You’re kidding right?

    6. Thank goodness these cretins didn’t get their claws into WilliamsF1.
      Will we see a return to the cement & red of HAAS then?
      I hope this beared brat gets what’s coming. I can’t imagine Gene Haas takes being slighted well.

      1. Regarding the livery, it would be nice if they’d finally turn up with something…not boring. While I liked their old clour scheme, I found the whole execution very conservative and uninspiring.

        1. Agreed, there’s scope in the colours for a brilliant design. It just needs to be a bit left field, the problem being Haas has never really presented themselves as anything but orthodox when it comes to marketing & branding…

      2. Their old race suits were stylish – black, with flashes of red and white. If they can take inspiration from that in doing up their car, I’d be happy. And I’d be happy to see the end of that dreary battleship gray they were so fond of.

    7. Who has seen a rich energy drink in real life?

      1. I’ve seen a picture in one big Online Store, does it count?)

      2. That’s the question that never goes away, at least until someone does actually spot one

      3. I found one can in a casino. But that was all the waitress could find. Tasted exactly like RedBull. Wouldn’t surprise me at this rate if they did just buy RedBull and re-can it!

      4. I bought 3 cans on Amazon for £5 – just to try it. I have to say it is marginally less offensive than its Red Bull competitor. I still have 2 cans unopened I guess is all you need to know about the taste.

        1. @ahxshades Hold on to them – they one day are going to be worth a lot of money!

    8. I’m appalled.
      I’ll make a point of not buying a can of that energy drink if I ever come across one.

      1. @coldfly: But wouldn’t you want to open it? Just to confirm it was only filled with plagiarized marketing slogans.

    9. Bruno Verrari
      11th July 2019, 0:18

      Rich was talking title sponsorship with Williams previously, so it’s hard to accept that performance-related comment of theirs with regard to getting brhibd the Will…

      1. More like Williams missed an opportunity to blame them for this years poor performance.

    10. And we wish this company well in selling unbranded cans of sugary water in unknown clubs across some poorly known country… North Korea for instance.

      I will be blunt, but we won’t miss you!

    11. I really hope Haas doesn’t go down the tubes with Rich. The whole thing has been super shady from the get-go, and I’m afraid what’s below the surface might create fallout when it comes out just how shady. Haas can’t afford to divert their energies (and cash) to fighting a lengthy legal battle.

    12. “I’m breaking up with you!”

      Probably shouted after being served with papers seeking payments.

    13. Not surprising given the court case.

      I liked Haas’ livery. I wonder if Haas will return to their previous livery or redesign?

    14. I totally dumped her, dude. Seriously. She was cramping my style.”

    15. So Rich Energy exits F1 the way they entered – with bluster and lies.

      1. @phylyp: Fizzy symmetry.

        1. @jimmi-cynic – Symmetry? Yes. Fizzy? Eh, I’m not sure.

          1. @phylyp: Fizzled-out Symmetry? But not according to Haas, the can-tract is still full.

            1. @jimmi-cynic – ha ha, yeah, just saw that latest article :)

    16. Well, i’ll miss that livery, because it’s beautiful indeed.

      Guess its time to go back to grey and red i suppose?

    17. I hope Gene got paid in advance.

    18. We’ve been making jokes about it from day one, it’s been comedic gold.
      Can’t believe Gene would get conned by that joker. :)

      1. Maybe he wasn’t? Apart from Clare Williams who was given a team by daddy, can you think of anyone remotely involved in this saga; and I include us fans, who fell for this? There is nothing about the man or business that was remotely believable.
        I’m looking for Peter Windsor to resurface and see what he has to say on the matter. I could never work out if he was being conned, took a fistful of money up front, or was uniquely placing himself in a position where he could write the definitive book on this matter.

      2. They already got their money so no bigger for them.

    19. Rich Energy sound like the kids who take the ball and go home when things aren’t going their way.

      Glad they’re gone though.. they seem like a shady company. Besides plagiarism of identity, I haven’t seen or heard of any of their products. Their CEO looks like a cliche hipster wannabe entrepreneur clown who would go down for pulling a scam with investor money. I honestly don’t see why they even considered F1, if being politically correct was so against their Brand ethos.

    20. If we take them at their word (why not, we could all do with a laugh). KMag’s very unremarkable 19th in one race lost his team its title sponsor, in fact George Russell’s 18th was so good it cost a rival team its title sponsor. I guess Formula One really is about the finer details.

      In the meantime I suspect there’s a very lonely invoice somewhere in a darkened room, probably next to the only Rich Energy can known to exist and I doubt either will be getting much attention anytime soon.

      As for livery, I concur, it’s be nice to see something different, not so much the Honda Earth cars which I found a bit pious, but a change for one race would be nice.

      Or they could just race with Whyte Bikes and keep it the same.

      1. George Russell’s 18th was so good it cost a rival team its title sponsor

        @bernasaurus – brilliant, thanks for the laugh :)

    21. I can see why politeness & civility (the PC they object to, I presume) are an issue for Rich Energy when they put out tweets like this: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D8tkYkUX4AEZ9Ua?format=jpg&name=large

      1. Wow, that’s a heck of a tweet @phylyp

        1. @bernasaurus It’s so nuts that I started doubting it was Photoshopped or something, and spent the last few minutes hunting it down: https://twitter.com/rich_energy/status/1138109173722484736

          1. why is it not in all Caps?
            it Feels like it should be…

          2. Love the Gunter Steiner memes

      2. @phylyp

        What a great find. They have a certain Trump-ish vibe to their tweets to be honest.

    22. I suspect the entire “cunning plan” was to finish ahead of Red Bull once or twice so they could run some kind of advertising campaign about being a better energy drink than them.

      As a few here have already said, both the company and it’s product seem a bit shady and I had never heard of them before the sponsorship deal. I have still never seen a single can of the stuff and I am pretty sure that I never will. Nor indeed do I ever expect to hear of the company again except for a few mentions on this site etc.

      What a great loss :(

      1. Leaving before the half point of the season ? That’s rich !

    23. Wow, how vindicated I feel.
      When they announced it, a few of us were laughing out loud. And we were proven right. What utter chancers, what an embarrassment to the sport – and Haas, you fools.
      Seriously, look at that press release. It’s the most absurd, mendacious, ridiculous thing. F1 ‘too PC’. Haas not performing. Really? That’s what you’re going with? You’ve managed to steal your fifteen minutes of free fame, now do please leave. I hope Haas has some better lawyers than whoever did their terrible due diligence on this deal.

      Good riddance to bad rubbish.

      1. Ahhh the story gets better. Apparently Haas ended the deal, not Rich (makes sense), because Rich weren’t paying. Rich are claiming their account was hacked, and they didn’t send the tweet.
        I love this. I can taste it.

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          11th July 2019, 8:18

          As if their account was hacked lol. This is the kind of petulant nonsense we have come to expect from this toxic charlatan. As you say good riddance. Unlike the fictional drink it was only a matter of time until this farcical deal got canned. My championship predictions may have been wildly off the mark but at least I called this one right:
          https://www.racefans.net/2019/02/07/haas-reveals-new-livery-2019-f1-season-london/#comment-4018222

        2. Source? That’s amazing.

    24. Well, :D Not sure who promised RICH Energy that Haas will be in front of RedBull. That might be a bit of over-promising and under-delivering.

    25. Remember Rich Energy have to turn over their details of the Haas sponsorship by the end of the month as per court order.

      This is a blatant attempt to avoid court scrutiny and it will not work.

      I can only imagine how Haas are feeling right now. Taken for a ride by a blatant con artist.

    26. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Rich Energy can take pride of place on the pile of failed crooks and scoundrels who tried to make a buck out of F1 and failed.

    27. Stephen Higgins
      11th July 2019, 9:35

      Haas are better off without them.

      They’ll be OK.

    28. “We aim to beat Red Bull Racing and being behind Williams Racing in Austria is unacceptable.”
      “The politics and PC [politically correct] attitude in F1 is also inhibiting our business,” Rich Energy added. “We wish the team well.”
      Translation:
      “My legal fees are crippling me and I can’t afford to sponsor an F1 Team, so I will now try to weasel out of my contract!”

      1. Update:
        One source told Motorsport.com: “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.”

        HEH!

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