Haas, Monaco, 2019

Haas sponsor Rich Energy rebrands as Lightning Volt as CEO quits

2019 F1 season

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Haas’s controversial title sponsor Rich Energy is undergoing a change of name following CEO William Storey’s departure from the company.

Storey’s departure was announced in a social media post stating he “has sold his majority stake in the legal entity of Rich Energy limited.”

“This decision was reluctantly reached due to the duplicitous conduct of minority stakeholders,” it added.

Companies House records indicate a new name was registered today for the company previously known as Rich Energy Limited. It will now trade under the name Lightning Volt Limited.

Storey’s exit comes six days after he announced on social media Rich Energy was ending its sponsorship of Haas due to “poor performance”. Rich Energy became the team’s title sponsor at the beginning of the season, and team principal Guenther Steiner said the announcement came as a surprise to him.

Less than 24 hours later a group of the company’s shareholders blamed the statement on “the rogue actions of one individual” and stressed its commitment to the team.

In May Rich Energy lost a court case over its stag logo, which was ruled to have infringed the trademark of cycle manufacturer Whyte Bikes, and ordered to cease using the design. Its subsequent application to appeal was rejected two weeks ago.

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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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  • 60 comments on “Haas sponsor Rich Energy rebrands as Lightning Volt as CEO quits”

    1. They should have renamed their brand to “Jack”. Because I really would love the name “Jack Haas”. It would quite fittingly be a tribute to William Storey.

      1. That would also have been funny given their other sponsor Jack & Jones

      2. @mashiat

        And the logo could have been a silhouette of his barded head.

        On a serious note, glad to see this whole sorry saga has turned a corner. Though, does sound like Storey still has control of the Twitter account, so I expect we’ll hear more about how he’s the victim in this and everyone -Whyte Bikes, the courts, Haas and the shareholders are all stabbing him in the back etc.

        I imagine he’s standing there in a toga shouting, ‘Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it In For Me!

        1. F1 always needs these clowns.

    2. I find it a bit interesting that, in the UK at least, no news source outside of F1 media have commented on it (I didn’t hear anything on Sky or C4 during their coverage? I didn’t see anything in Times or Guardian). I was suspicious with all the Trumpist tweets it might be a very brazen marketing ploy, if it was, then it never really fanned out. And if it wasn’t, then those that are left after the after Storey has gone are probably quite grateful.

      1. If sponsors are causing problems I think FOM tell the broadcasters not to mention the brands and they will minimise their TV time (Magnussen and Grosjean made that easy though). Plus the lawyers will look at it and say its not worth touching with lawsuits and accusations are flying around in case anyone says anything that can get them sued.

      2. Comment of the Season right there LOL

      3. It was mentioned multiple times by Sky over the weekend beginning with the live F1 show on I think it was Thursday when the ‘poor performance’ tweet dropped, Ted was on it there and then.

        Not surprised C4 didn’t mention it the poor sods barely have enough screentime to cover the actual racing.

      4. Go and have look in http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk
        You will see that Rich Energy Racing Limited still exists but all the others have been wound up.
        There does not seem to be any money. Though there are rumoured to be 10s of thousands of unfilled drinks cans. Even at the start if you checked you could see that Rich Energy Limited had got total accounts filing exemption under small companies rules, these limit exemption to companies with turnover of less than £10M. So how does that stack against the amounts promised to Hass for sponsorship. I am surprised that Hass fell for it, but as someone commented the other day it has a touch of Bahar about it.

    3. So … who’s going to sue them next? Usain Bolt, Virgin Media, Disney’s Cars, God? Even in clearing things up, this saga still sounds like it might have legs.

        1. @falken – I don’t… I can’t even… I give up. If this were fiction, I’d ask for a more believable plot.

        2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          17th July 2019, 11:46

          Haha brilliant @falken

      1. @kartguy07, it turns out that there is a South African company that produces an energy drink called Volt – so, in trying to avoid one potential infringement, they may now be coming rather close to a second case of trademark infringement. http://www.voltenergydrink.com/

        1. This is getting ridiculous, do they not have access to google? To get both another energy company and bike company, it would be easier to come up with something that had neither surely?

          1. I would ask who’s running this company? But I guess there’s a queue for that

      2. Electrical contractors http://www.lightningvolts.com of Austin, Texas could have an interesting interpretation when the F1 circus turns up at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas

    4. This storey (hehe) is long from over.

      If you look at the new owner it’s a company that specialises in winding up failing businesses, freeing existing directors from any ongoing concerns….

      So has Storey done a runner and hoodwinked his original investors? He was a named defendent in the Whyte case, so still has that to solve… and he’s late paying up…

      1. Whoa, that’s interesting information! Not surprising, though.

    5. Oh no, now they’ll probably be sued by Steven Seagal…

    6. georgeboole (@)
      16th July 2019, 22:19

      I just hope their logo isn’t Zeus drinking from a can

      1. I, on the other hand, hope it is!

    7. RocketTankski
      16th July 2019, 22:43

      They should call it Red Rooster ‘cos the whole sorry tale is a cock n bull story. Haas did say they’d done their due diligence?

      1. afaik there is already a brand of energy drinks called RedRooster. I’m pretty sure I have even drank it.

        1. @njoydesign

          You are precisiely correct, there is indeed a brand of energy drink called Red Rooster. It’s not as widespread as Red Bull, but unlike Rich Energy, you can actually find it. When I worked in a pub, it was our ‘cheaper alternative’ to Red bull.

    8. Don’t tell me!
      We now (will) have Lightning Volt Haas F1 Team!

      LOL
      I knew Americans are crazy on names and nicknames, especially teens, but this is just too much!

      P.S. I really hope they (both Haas and this sponsor entity) reconsider and come up with something more… business-suitable.

      1. Like a sort of hidden Tabacco sponsor?

        1. Disney sponsor more likely!

    9. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      17th July 2019, 0:00

      and the carnage continues….

      Next up:
      Storey is still in the company
      oh wait, he’s not, according to shareholders
      confusing tweet #1020024
      They’re still called Rich
      Except they’re not
      confusing tweet #90340004
      contradictory tweet
      Lightning is renamed Whyte energy
      Storey is revealed to actually be Helmut Marko with a silly wig
      Haas decides to withdraw sponsorship from Rich/lightning/whatever energy due to poor performance; rogue individual blamed

      1. “whyte energy”? How very appropriate in these increasingly nationalistic times…

    10. Lightning Volt? They should have gone with Thunder Muscle :D

      1. I am so happy that someone finally picked up on the amazing Todd Margaret parallels at play here.

        1. @spencer – I’d never heard of that show before. Now, after reading it up on IMDb, I am staggered at how real life has imitated art (well, let’s hope it doesn’t come to the season 2 finale, but there’s another prolific Twitter user who just might get us there).

        2. I’m glad someone got the reference.

      2. LOL, they could promote it in Health Club Cafes… :)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfPReIAKxeQ

        1. Keith, apologies maybe you could delete that link? ^^
          I’d forgotten how ‘spicey’ the language is toward the end.

    11. You can’t dream this stuff up! Its pure class

    12. Well, I can’t believe people complain that Formula 1 isn’t entertaining anymore, cause this stuff is legendary. :D

      On a more serious note, I wonder if Haas could have told Storey that they will actually be ahead of Redbull and that it could be a great thing for his business? I mean, Redbull were going for Honda engines and Haas were gonna run Ferrari engines. I think everyone did expect Honda engines to be rubbish! Is that why Storey seems to complain about Haas’ performance, and not being ahead of Redbull? Storey does seem like a guy who would believe that!

    13. F1 is getting stupider and stupider, it is controlled by capitalistic greed, with the dodgy investors and big car manufacturers controlling the show its a disgrace. Sometimes it only resembles a sport when we luck in and have by fluke 2 cars running on track together at the same pace. Money and prestige keeps at as the ‘pinnacle’ of motorsport, for now… As it certainly isn’t the pinnacle for racing or sport. I didn’t watch the race, but I watched the highlights and saw verstappen driving off track to retake a position he lost fairly, and wasn’t penalised… The penalty system needs a complete overhaul too, because certain drivers keep getting off with light or no penalties, while others (usually lower down the grid) get ridiculously harsh penalties.

      1. Well you didn’t watch the race, so…

      2. I’ve asked it before WHY ARE YOU HERE.

        Move on with your life.

        1. Well, there does seem to be a certain type of fan who seems to be particularly keen to advertise how they pour scorn onto the sport and make a fashion of wanting to say “I didn’t watch the race, but here is why I am going to criticise everything anyway”.

      3. kpcart, by historical standards, Rich Energy is fairly tame compared to some of the sponsors that have come and gone during the history of the sport – there have been far dodgier sponsors and characters around F1 in earlier years, and Gene Haas isn’t exactly the cleanest figure either.

        Motorsport Magazine has listed just a few of them recently, including van Rossem and his “Moneytron” company, which was a massive Ponzi scheme, Andrea Moda, which was owned by an individual (Andrea Sassetti) alleged to have links with the Mafia and shut down after an attempted drive by shooting of Sassetti, or David Thieme and the slightly mysterious Essex Overseas Petroleum Corporation, which eventually closed down after Credit Suisse sued them for fraud.

        Asides from those, you could list Sulaiman Al-Kehaimi – who pretended to be a Saudi prince and nearly bought a controlling stake in Tyrrell in 1996, only to be unmasked just before the deal went through – or Akira Akagi and Leyton House, which ended up being caught out by the collapse in the Japanese real estate market in the early 1990s and was embroiled in allegations of fraud around Fuji Bank.

        You could also list the infamous Prince Malik Ado Ibrahim and his supposed T-Minus telecommunications business, which he claimed would pump $125 million into Arrows in return for 25% of the team, but turned out to be a phantom that ruined Arrows and Tom Walkinshaw. Equally, what about Qadbak and their attempts to buy the former BMW-Sauber team, with BMW nearly falling for their tricks?

        Perhaps the most shady would be Ricardo Londoño and his attempts to buy his way into a seat into Formula 1 – he drove in the practise session of the 1981 Brazilian Grand Prix, but was eventually denied a superlicence and not allowed to race.

        Officially, the reason given was because he collided with Keke Rosberg during the practise sessions, although Keke was rumoured to have deliberately caused the crash by braking unexpectedly in front of Ricardo as he didn’t want him to race. The rumour, though, was that Bernie Ecclestone had lobbied the FIA not to give him a superlicence after discovering where Ricardo Londoño was really getting his money from – from the Medellín Cartel and Pablo Escobar, for him Ricardo was working as a drug trafficker.

        As a slightly grim aside, Ricardo Londoño ended up with most of his assets being seized by the Colombian government in 2000 after being caught with 1.2 tonnes of cocaine, and he himself was eventually murdered by the rival Los Urabeños criminal syndicate.

        Rich Energy and William Storey has been something of a farce, but compared to widespread financial fraud or organised criminal syndicates, Storey and his blustering on Twitter looks rather small scale by comparison.

        1. This is one of those delightfully informed posts that should be comment of the day every day, yet all I can think is:
          Bernie Ecclestone bullied a driver out of the sport for being a money-laundering criminal? …
          Did early 80s Bernie really have some kind of rudimentary moral compass?
          21st century Bernie would’ve either demanded his share or used his henchmen to stage an ‘unfortunate accident’ somewhere off-track. Oh, how people change …

        2. Awesome history lesson – thanks!

          1. Yeah, thanks for that comment, I was aware of most of them, but it helps put into context this…… whatever this Rich Energy thing is.

    14. Nice of the sponsors to keep us all entertained between races like this.

      What would be great is when the Haas cars have the new logos then they suddenly start performing really well.
      That would add a spooky, “Twilight Zone” type element to the entire show :O

      1. Yes!
        Everyone knows stripes make any car faster!
        Now we can finally have the proof!

        1. Williams took off the Martini stripes and look where that got them. I rest my case.

          1. @phylyp: Finishing ahead of a Ferrari is what I saw. Russel beats Vettel at home! It’s headline news!

        2. georgeboole (@)
          17th July 2019, 10:48

          The more stripes the better the speed. Go Haas

            1. Sorry. No message intended!

    15. What about the six million empty cans, presumably printed Rich Energy? Or is it eight million? Can the company survive the loss?

    16. HAH! It’s all baloney!

    17. ‘Lightning Volt’ is just a ‘shell name’ used to wind up Rich Energy (new owners are insolvency lawyers).
      There will never be a single can of ‘lightning Volt’ produced (not even empty ones).

      I just hope that Haas has received their first 6mth instalment (which it seemed from their lawyer’s letter), and don’t spend too much on chasing the $35m contractual guarantee; it will never be paid.

      The good news is that the overall livery of the Haas looks pretty good. They only have to replace the gold RE name with the red Haas name and off to Germany.

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